Philadelphia Eagles: What to Watch For Against Struggling Packers

Nov 20, 2016; Landover, MD, USA; Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) rolls out against the Washington Redskins during the first half at FedEx Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 20, 2016; Landover, MD, USA; Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) rolls out against the Washington Redskins during the first half at FedEx Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports /

After a tough road defeat in Seattle last Sunday, the Philadelphia Eagles now look for a win on Monday Night Football against the struggling Green Bay Packers

Doug Pederson‘s Philadelphia Eagles were outplayed in Seattle last Sunday and look to end Week 12 in winning fashion against Mike McCarthy’s Packers.

The Eagles (5-5) would like a win at Lincoln Financial Field to keep their hopes of a playoff spot alive. Green Bay (4-6) has struggled this season, especially defensively ranking 27th in points allowed (27.6).

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Green Bay has relied a lot more on quarterback Aaron Rodgers this season than in years past. The gun-slinging QB has totaled 2,761 yards and 25 T.D.’s so far. The return of Jordy Nelson has helped significantly with the wide-out leading the team in receptions (53), yards (663), and T.D.’s (9). With the poor play and injuries affecting Eddie Lacy, Green Bay will rely on James Starks and recently signed Christine Michael in the backfield.

Rushing defense has been a strength for Green Bay ranking sixth in the N.F.L. in yards allowed per game (91.1). Nick Perry is a sack-threat leading the team with seven, while Ha Ha Clinton-Dix leads the secondary with two interceptions.

The Eagles will be without the services of tackle Halapoulivaati Vaitai and tailback Ryan Mathews due to injuries on Monday evening. With Vaitai missing, the offensive line will see some re-shuffling while Darren Sproles, Wendell Smallwood, and Kenjon Barner will lead the rushing attack.

With a huge Monday Night showdown quickly approaching, let’s take a look at my three things to watch.

1.) The play of the Eagles D-Line will help decide outcome.
It might sound a little cliche but if the Eagles defensive front can pressure Aaron Rodgers then the Eagles have a good chance of winning. With a sub-par rushing game, the Packers rely on Rodgers to make plays with his arm and even with his legs. Players like Fletcher Cox, Connor Barwin, and Brandon Graham need to get in Rodgers face to help the secondary. With a banged-up secondary, the Eagles need to make plays defensively and keep Aaron Rodgers on the ground to win Monday night.

2.) Carson Wentz needs to take care of football.
Earlier in the season, we were doubting Doug Pederson’s play-calling with Wentz saying he needed to take more chances downfield. After two needless interceptions against a strong Seattle secondary, Wentz needs to go back to smart decisions for the Eagles to win on Monday night. Zach Ertz needs to be used more, while the wide-outs need to make catches and help their rookie quarterback out. Everybody including Wentz needs to do their part for the Eagles to keep their season alive and the quarterback needs to be a leader like he was during the 3-0 start earlier this season.

3.) Running game needs to show up against tough defense.
With Ryan Mathews aggressiveness out for Monday, the other running backs need to step-up. The versatility and speed of Sproles, Smallwood, and Barner will be used in a variety of ways against an average Green Bay defense. Positive yards are a must while picking up blitzes and catching the ball also is necessary to help the team win. If Wentz has to throw the ball 35-40 times on Monday then that shows the running game is not doing its job and the Eagles may be playing from behind. If the running game gets going, then Carson Wentz will be a more-relieved quarterback under center.

Next: Philadelphia Eagles vs. Green Bay Packers Semi-Coherent Preview

The winning has to happen on Monday for the Eagles to have a chance at a Wild-Card spot. If they fail to shutdown Aaron Rodgers and the Packers wide-receivers then it could be a long night at the Linc.