FOR the Eagles this is one of those ‘bad news/good news/great news’ things. The bad news is, this game will be the Packers third in a row at home, so they won’t have any travel fatigue. The good news is, the Packers also had a Sunday game, so they’ll also be coming off of a short week. (Sauce for the goose.) The great news is, rushing yardage, passing yardage, total yardage, or points per game, the Packers offensively rank no higher than 24th in any of those categories.
For the Packers the bad news is, unlike the first three weeks, they have to play against QB Carson Wentz, not a Draft bust, or an overpaid hack, or a has-been who’s winding his career down. The good news is, that they get to play at home again. The great news is, they seem to have found a defense. (Unless of course, their defense is just the result of playing poor offenses…)
Dear Eagles Faithful: A record of 1 – 2 can still become a record of 14 – 2. That’s not to say that the Eagles actually have 14 – 2 potential, but it is me saying, “Relax” (right Aaron?)
We just came off of a couple close losses where injuries were a massive factor. We get a little healthier here, with TE Dallas Goedert being full go, and WR Alshon Jeffery not a 100%, but probably able to give us something.
So this season is far too young for panic. We’d need seven more losses to just to finish sub .500 and we’re clearly better than 7 more losses.
So let’s talk about the Four Things we need to focus on this week versus the Packers:
1) Work the body to bring down the head: Run the ball downhill, early. The Packers NT Kenny Clark is an active NT. His game is not one of anchoring, then eating space and absorbing blocks. That means we can get our G’s up to the second level on those 230 pound LB’s, gash out some big ol’ runs, and pull their SS into the box. Later in the game when their front seven is tired, Carson would be able to get plenty of time in the pocket to go deep off of play-action.
2) Don’t let Rodgers relax: He’s a pretty good and fairly aggressive scrambler, so when I suggest getting him to run, it’s well considered. Bringing heat from his right, will force him to his left. He can make those throws, but they are among his least sharp passes. Also he tends to hold the ball longer in those instances, which gives us more time to lay tooth-rattling hits on him. (I said this same thing in 2016. In fact, I copy and pasted (then italicized) this from that edition. We didn’t do it in 2016, en route to a 13 – 27 loss. Let’s see if our HC has learned from that.)
3) Generate two turnovers: The Packers offense is sputtering and is hardly the model of efficiency. Now is the time to be opportunistic, and force errors on a team that is already uncomfortable with it’s performance so far. Besides, we can’t keep coughing up 26.0 per game and expect to win. Two or more turnovers should be enough to put down a team with a sputtering offense.
4) Lots of play-action on 2nd down: Let’s keep the pocket clean, keep Carson’s jersey clean, and buy an extra step for receivers to uncover early. Throw in a pump fake here and there, and deep shots will be there for the taking. (Just make sure we catch them.)
If we do all these things, we’re just about guaranteed to win. Now that we’ve covered what should happen, let’s get into what likely will happen:
DC Jim Schwartz will keep calling blitzes, instead of allowing our CB’s to play some man-press. HC Doug Pederson will keep running the ball with RB Wayne Gallman, instead of RB Jordan Howard. (FYI: Gallman is the back-up to RB Saquon Barkley. See what I did there? ) When these things happen I will finally become a version of Michael Douglas in ‘Falling Down’.
Regardless, I think this is a game that the Eagles coaching staff doesn’t lose. In fact, unfortunately I think they win this one their way, almost in spite of all common wisdom. After we win, the coaching staff will think they’re right about ignoring what they keep hearing from us fans. And the media. And former players. And fortune cookies. Whatever. Just get us the “W”. We can resume the argument when we’re 2 – 2.
PREDICTION: EAGLES 27 – Packers 20