In Week 12, the Green Bay Packers hosted rival Chicago Bears and did not disappoint. The Packers dominated their foe and separated in the NFC North standings. During Week 13, the Packers will welcome the Philadelphia Eagles to Lambeau Field. Philly is coming in with a disappointing 3-7-1 on the season. On Monday night, the Eagles came up short against the Seahawks 23-17. Still, with a weak NFC East, Philadelphia is fighting for the division and a playoff spot. Let’s check out the Packers’ next foe with this Eagles Week 13 matchup.
Entering the 2020 season the Eagles had an impressive and imposing offensive line. The only real question was letting 17-year veteran Jason Peters go and giving the reins of left tackle to second-year Andre Dillard. Then All-Pro guard Brandon Brooks went down and Peters was brought back. Dillard then was hurt, again before the season even began. Flash forward, and now right tackle Lane Johnson is out as well. Truly the offensive line is a mess. Peters is back at left tackle but at 38 is on the backside of a great career. Philadelphia still has top center Jason Kelce but the rest of the lineup is barely holding on.
Quarterback Carson Wentz has managed to stay healthy this year but he has struggled. Wentz has 2,500 passing yards with 16 touchdowns but a staggering 15 interceptions. The arm talent is there from the former All-Pro but he needs to limit the mistakes. When’s is not getting much help from his underwhelming pass catchers. Well-traveled Travis Fulgham found a home in Philly and busted on the scene hot. He has 467 yards with four touchdowns so far. He has really cooled off the last 3 weeks with only four grabs for a mere 32 yards. Alshon Jeffery hasn’t played much this season and caught his first two passes just last week. Jeffrey is not a home run threat and tries to win with his size. Rookie first-round pick Jalen Reagor has the tools to be the impact player but it hasn’t translated just yet.
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The Eagles do like to get their tight ends involved in the passing game. When longtime star Zach Ertz went down, it opened the door for promising Dallas Goedert. Goedert flourished in 2019 in 2 tight end sets. This season’s numbers are down with three end zone trips and 338 yards. Regardless of the lack of production, Green Bay still needs to account for this mismatch. Former Packer Richard Rodgers has also contributed with two touchdowns and 345 yards.
The biggest offensive threat has to be running back Miles Sanders. He had a great rookie campaign in 2019 and was used both in the ground and passing attack. Sanders showed off his big-play ability with 13 plays of 20 yards or more. This season, Sanders has 600 yards rushing at 5.6 per carry. Surprisingly, the Eagles have not gotten him involved in the passing game which really has limited this offense
For as bad as the Eagles year has gone don’t sleep on this defense. While they have struggled more against the run, they’re top 10 against the pass both in scoring and yardage. That all starts upfront with this even front that is deep, strong, and can provide pressure. The Eagles go seven guys deep in the trenches and don’t miss a beat keeping players fresh. Of course, Fletcher Cox and Brandon Graham are the longtime mainstays. While they might not get the national attention, they both can hang with most of the elites. Cox has been as good as any interior lineman not named Aaron Donald over the last decade. He currently is 7th all-time in sacks by an interior defensive player.
Next to Cox inside is a combo of the highly-touted free agent signing Javon Hargrave and still solid Malik Jackson. Hargrave has underperformed after a career year with Pittsburgh in 2019 but has been better of late. Fourth-year player Derek Barnett starts at the end and sits at 5.5 sacks on the season (1 away from his career-best). Josh Sweat will relieve him on occasion and has 4 QB takedowns also. I really feel this is the best front we will see all year.
…Different Story Behind
After that solid deep front, the drop-off is harsh. Former Badger TJ Edwards leads an underwhelming linebacker group. While Edwards has great instincts and is a sure tackler, he is a two-down throwback that doesn’t possess lateral speed. Next to him is slasher Duke Riley and second-year undrafted player Alex Singleton. Getting running backs to the second level is a mismatch against this group.
The secondary hasn’t fared much better. Big Play Darius Slay was a big addition. The former All-Pro has all the tools to be a true number one cornerback but is coming off a game that he was abused by DK Metcalf. Avonte Maddox is on the other side but really is better suited in the slot. The fast but smaller Maddox has been picked on at times by opponents. At safety is steady vet Rodney McLeod and versatile Jalen Mills. McLeod is a longtime hard-hitting safety and Mills has been tasked all over the defense in his career. While both are solid and Slay can match up, the group will have problems if the defensive line doesn’t get to Aaron Rodgers.
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