Philadelphia Eagles vs. Green Bay Packers Semi-Coherent Preview

Nov 20, 2016; Landover, MD, USA; Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) throws the ball against the Washington Redskins in the third quarter at FedEx Field. The Redskins won 42-24. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 20, 2016; Landover, MD, USA; Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) throws the ball against the Washington Redskins in the third quarter at FedEx Field. The Redskins won 42-24. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports /

A preview of the matchup between the Philadelphia Eagles and Green Bay Packers.

After another disappointing road loss, the Philadelphia Eagles will return home to face the Green Bay Packers on Monday night.

Green Bay Packers

Record: 4-6 (Third place in NFC North)

Last week: Lost to Washington Redskins 42-24

Head coach: Mike McCarthy

The last time they met

In week 11 of the 2014 season, the Philadelphia Eagles were feeling pretty good about their defense. They had won two straight games and were coming off a domination of the Carolina Panthers. It didn’t take long for those good feelings to go away.

Aaron Rodgers had his way with the Eagles’ defense. He threw for 367 yards and three touchdowns as the Packers opened up a 24 point lead at halftime. Cornerback Bradley Fletcher spent most of this game feebly chasing after the Packers’ receivers as they caught one long pass after another.

What’s the deal with the Packers?

More from Philadelphia Eagles

Thanks to the presence of Aaron Rodgers, most people considered the Packers to be contenders. However, it seems that this is a very flawed team. Head coach Mike McCarthy has had a lot of success in the NFL, yet there’s a strong sense that he’s not actually a very good coach.

He’s been blessed with having Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers as his quarterbacks, and despite some very good teams, the Packers have had a few disappointing aborted playoff runs. This season, the playoffs look like a longshot, as they’ve lost four in a row.

On offense, the Packers are above average, but most of their offense comes via the pass. Since Eddie Lacy (get better soon, grandpa!) was injured, the Packers don’t even really attempt to run the ball. They had 16 (non-quarterback) rushes in their last game, and ten in the game before that.

On defense, Clay Matthews and Julius Peppers were once feared pass rushers, but they are clearly past their primes. As a result, the Packers have been vulnerable to the pass, and rank 28th in passing touchdowns allowed.

Featured Packers player: Aaron Rodgers

A couple of seasons ago, when discussing the best quarterbacks in the NFL, Aaron Rodgers was typically one of the first names mentioned. While he certainly hasn’t played poorly this year, it’s also clear that simply putting Rodgers on a bad team doesn’t make them a contender.

Philadelphia Eagles
Jan 31, 2015; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers and girlfriend actress Olivia Munn on the red carpet prior to the NFL Honors award ceremony at Symphony Hall. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

Naturally, many fans have blamed Rodgers’ struggles on his celebrity girlfriend Olivia Munn. (Keep in mind, “struggles” is relative. If Carson Wentz ever has a season like Rodgers is having and people think he’s struggling, we should feel very fortunate.) Now that he’s got a famous girlfriend, is the fire gone? Or perhaps she’s caused a rift with his family, and that’s proven too distracting. Or maybe he was just upset because the character of Psylocke was not used especially well in X-Men: Apocalypse. (Seriously, did she do anything besides chop that car in half?)

It’s much more likely that Rodgers simply can’t carry a sub par team by himself. His offensive line doesn’t do a great job of protecting him, the Packers don’t run the ball well, and the defense isn’t very strong. If Rodgers doesn’t have a big game, the Packers probably lose, and that’s a lot of pressure to place on a quarterback.

Reason to hate the Packers

I once went to Milwaukee and I expected it to be cold and see nothing but fat guys in Brett Favre jerseys. To my surprise, it was extremely hot (temperatures in the high 90s) and I didn’t spot one Favre jersey. This isn’t really a reason to hate the Packers; I just like telling random stories.

Super important Eagles storyline: Can Wendell Smallwood carry the load?

The Eagles suffered a few key injuries last week. The two top running backs on the depth chart – Ryan Mathews and Darren Sproles – are both uncertain for Monday night. Mathews will likely miss this game, and although Sproles is expected to play, he may be limited. That means, the burden of the Eagles’ running game will largely fall upon rookie Wendell Smallwood.

The fifth round draft pick has looked good running the ball in limited action this season. On more than one occasion, I’ve called for him to receive more touches, and it looks like my wish may be coming true. Will he excel in a larger role? Or will he wilt under the additional pressure? Or will Doug Pederson decide that with a banged-up backfield, and an opponent who isn’t great at defending the pass, that his best option is to call 50 passing plays?

Tweets of unimportance

This is true; they might win. But they also might not.

Holy crap! Dom Capers is still coaching? How? Why???

Seems like a few Packers fans are eager for the team to find a new coach.

South Park character who somehow relates to this week’s game

Heidi Turner

Over the show’s 20 year run, we’ve come to expect hilariously sociopathic behavior from Eric Cartman. It’s a large part of the show’s appeal. But in the most recent season, Cartman began dating Heidi Turner, and all of a sudden, things changed. Cartman was no longer scheming to get his way or ruin the lives of his classmates. He seemed to be genuinely improving as a human being.

Most people believe that this current change of heart is simply a sham and that by season’s end, Cartman will revert to his usual, horrible persona. But based on the way the show has gone in recent years, it’s possible that this is a permanent change. Is it possible that the love of a woman was enough to ruin an all-time great character?

Elsewhere in the NFL

Most Eagles fans were in favor of trading Sam Bradford to the Vikings for a first and fourth round pick, although a few questioned the move. After Bradford had a poor game against the Lions on Thursday, I figure the approval rating for that trade is at 100%. Is there a single Eagles fan out there who would undo that trade?

The Wentz watch

Carson Wentz struggled against the Seahawks last week, but that isn’t a surprise. Most quarterbacks have bad games against Seattle’s defense. He was also (once again) let down by his receivers, most notably when a pre-snap penalty on Nelson Agholor negated a long touchdown pass.

The good news is that the Packers’ secondary is not as well-regarded as the Seahawks. He should have some opportunities to make plays down the field, assuming his receivers can actually get open and not drop the ball when he throws it to them.

Next: Eagles Need More Offense


The Packers are desperate for a win, so they’ll likely play hard. But playing hard only gets you so far if you aren’t a good team, and the Packers haven’t looked like a good team. The Packers can only seem to win if Rodgers has a huge game, but unfortunately for him, the Philadelphia Eagles’ defense has played exceptionally well at home against some very good quarterbacks.

Eagles 27 – Packers 21