Originally posted on The Sports Bank  |  Last updated 11/8/13
The time has come for everyone to see how good the Green Bay Packers really are when they take on the Philadelphia Eagles without their superstar quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers broke his collarbone in a loss to the Chicago Bears while the Eagles are fresh off a performance where their quarterback, Nick Foles, threw seven touchdowns in just three quarters of play. Both the Packers and Eagles are in the thick of very competitive divisional races, so there’s no reason to think this game doesn’t matter for either side. Philadelphia Eagles (4-5) Analysis: Oddly enough the Eagles have a sparkling 4-1 record on the road and a dreadful 0-4 record at home (the city of brotherly love hasn’t been so friendly after all). With that in mind, the Eagles have been hot on the road with three straight wins away from home. After scoring only 10 total points in home losses to Dallas and New York, Philadelphia exploded for 49 at Oakland last week. Foles tied the NFL record for touchdowns in a game with seven and quite frankly could have blew the record out of the water if they would have decided to keep the aerial assault on. To think that Foles and the passing game leads this team would be painting the wrong picture though as LeSean McCoy and the Eagles rank third in the league with 147.9 yards per game. The brunt of the Eagles’ problems in 2013 lies with their defense, particularly the pass defense that ranks dead last in the NFL while giving up 307.6 yards per game to opposing quarterbacks. Call it luck or maybe even fate that Philadelphia gets to dodge the Packers’ elite signal-caller. The Eagles rush defense hasn’t been horrible (111.8 rushing yards per game for 15th in the league), but teams have primarily attacked the Eagles through the air and understandably so. Green Bay Packers (5-3) Analysis: Green Bay had its four game winning streak snapped in a rare 27-20 loss to the Bears at home which put them in a three-way tie with the Bears and Detroit Lions for first place in the NFC North. No timetable for Rodgers’ return has been announced, meaning that every Packers win or loss ultimately puts the season in balance. No Rodgers means that the Packers will send out longtime back-up Seneca Wallace to start this Sunday. Wallace becomes only the fourth quarterback to start for the Packers in the past twenty years which is astonishing if you look at other teams across the league. If Mike McCarthy’s play-calling against the Bears revealed anything, the Packers will lean heavily on Eddie Lacy and the running game which surprisingly ranks second in the league at 148.6 yards per game. Defensively, Green Bay needs to be better in the secondary. The Bears’ big physical receivers punked this unit last week and actually made Josh McCown look like a starting quarterback in the NFL. Another reason McCown looked so good last week is because the Packers pass-rush has pretty much evaporated without linebacker Clay Matthews in the line-up. If Green Bay wants to beat the Eagles, they will need pressure on the Eagles’ Foles as he is a rhythm kind of player. Brutally Honest Prediction: Packers 27 Eagles 24 Without Rodgers, the Eagles and Packers match up fairly well with one another as they share common strengths and weaknesses. For that reason, I expect this to be a close game with Mason Crosby making a big field goal at some point in the second half to help the Packers salvage at least one game without Rodgers. Whether the win will be enough to lift Green Bay fans out of panic-mode will be interesting to see. TV Coverage: 12:00 PM CT FOX; Joe Buck (play-by-play), Troy Aikman (analyst) and Pam Oliver (sidelines) Betting Lines: Green Bay favored by 1 point and over/under at 47 points 2013 Record straight up: 6-2 2013 Record against the spread: 5-3 2013 Record in over/under: 5-3 Week 9 Pick Redux: Predicted GB 30 CHI 17 (actually CHI 27 GB 20); Missed straight up and the spread (-10.5), but not over/under (49.5). Who could have predicted Aaron Rodgers being knocked out of the game? Do you think the Packers can win their first game without Aaron Rodgers or will the Eagles pull the minor upset on the road? Let me know by commenting below. Nick Grays is a senior writer at the Sports Bank where he covers the Wisconsin Badgers and Green Bay Packers. He also enjoys sharing Fantasy Advice and pretends to be a Golf expert from time-to-time. Follow him on Twitter by clicking here or visit his blog Nick Knows Best. If social media is not your thing, shoot him an email at grays@uwalumni.com. *Pictures obtained from sbnation.com and chicagotribune.com The post Green Bay Packers vs. Philadelphia Eagles: brutally honest preview appeared first on The Sports Bank.Net.
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