Week 13 Preview: Eagles v. Packers
The disappointing Eagles season continues as Philadelphia travels to Green Bay to take on the highest-scoring offense in the league. The Eagles are currently sitting at 3-7-1, good enough for 3rd in the depressing NFC East. A postseason appearance has become more of a pipedream with each passing week and a lot of the fanbase has already embraced #MockDraftSZN.
As December begins, a look at the current 2021 NFL Draft order:— Field Yates (@FieldYates) December 1, 2020
1. Jets: 0-11
2. Jaguars: 1-10
3. Bengals: 2-8-1
4. Cowboys: 3-8
5. Chargers: 3-8
6. Eagles: 3-7-1
7. Panthers: 4-8
8. Washington: 4-7
9. Lions: 4-7
10. Falcons: 4-7
Here are the key matchups to watch for this Sunday if the Eagles hope to pull off the upset:
Darius Slay v. Davante Adams
Slay had a rough go of it last Monday Night against DK Metcalf, allowing him to catch 12 passes for 179 yards. The top CB for the Eagles played well enough in coverage, Slay was just overmatched in size and strength (as every other CB is when covering Metcalf).
The Davante Adams v. Darius Slay matchup is a well documented one, dating back to their time as division rivals. Adams is on pace to catch the most TD passes of his career this season and is averaging over 100 yards per game. Even after getting beat up by Metcalf last week, Slay is still only allowing 57 receiving yards per game. He’ll have to contain Adams if the Eagles hope to hang around on Sunday.
Zach Ertz & Dallas Goedert v. Packers Linebackers
The Eagles’ two top tight ends will be on the field together for the first time since Week 3 with Ertz returning from his ankle injury. Richard Rodgers has played well in Ertz’s absence so it’ll be intriguing to see how quickly they integrate Ertz back into the offense. Rodgers is averaging 14.4 yards per catch this season and currently has the second-highest receiving total of his career at 345 receiving yards.
Goedert has been taking advantage of being the #1 guy on a lackluster Eagles offense, catching 12 passes for 152 yards and 2 TDs over the last two games. Wentz has always trusted his tight ends, and against a Green Bay defense that could be missing Za’Darius Smith, I’d expect them to be targeted quite a bit on Sunday.
Eagles Defensive Line v. Packers Offensive Line
Green Bay has one of the top offensive lines in the league in both pass-blocking and run-blocking. Aaron Rodgers has only been sacked 11 times this season (4 of them against Tampa Bay) and has had a clean pocket on 77.8% of his dropbacks, per PFF. The Packers will be missing their stud center Corey Linsley due to a knee injury.
Philadelphia’s DL has been one of the few brought spots this season. The Eagles have 7 different defensive linemen with at least 10 pressures on the year, Brandon Graham leading the way with 42. The Eagles have 36 sacks and 83 QB hits through 11 games, ranking second and third in the NFL respectively. It’ll be up to Jim Schwartz to utilize that deep defensive line to disrupt Rodgers and make him uncomfortable.
Sack leaders this season:— Victor Williams (@ThePhillyPod) December 4, 2020
• Steelers: 41
• Eagles: 36
• Washington: 36
• Rams: 34
• Buccaneers: 34 pic.twitter.com/4DwyqBzXI3
Eagles Rushing Attack (or lack thereof) v. Packers Defense
I know it’s redundant to preach this every week but the Eagles need to RUN THE FOOTBALL. The team plays their best when they’re running the ball effectively and Doug Pederson simply refuses to commit to the ground game. He has the players to take the pressure off of his struggling QB, they need to be utilized sooner rather than later. Green Bay is allowing 114 rushing yards per game this season.
It seems as though Jordan Howard will have some type of role in this game. How the head coach plans to divide up the SIX carries he gave Miles Sanders last week will be interesting to see. Sanders and Howard combined for 26 carries and 187 total yards in the win against Green Bay last season. I’d prefer Doug to just feed his bell-cow back that’s 2nd in the NFL in yards per rush, but apparently that’s equivalent to asking for world peace these days.
Aaron Rodgers has been playing MVP-caliber football this season and the Eagles will have to be mistake-free on both sides to stand a chance. If Carson Wentz can take care of the football and the defense can limit the Rodgers-Adams connection, anything is possible. We’ll see if there’s any difference in gameplan with Doug Pederson reportedly relinquishing some of the playcalling. Unfortunately, I don’t think the offense is consistent enough to keep up with Green Bay, no matter who’s calling the plays.
Prediction: Packers 30, Eagles 17
Mandatory Credit: USA Today Sports