WHY THE PACKERS WILL COVER
Jason B. Hirschhorn is an award-winning journalist and Pro Football Writers of America member. He covers the NFL for Sports on Earth and SB Nation. He also serves as the senior writer and editor for Acme Packing Company, a Green Bay Packers blog. Follow him on Twitter @by_JBH.
Aaron Rodgers back on track
Aaron Rodgers’ early struggles dominated the national narrative for much of the season. However, over the last five weeks, the Packers franchise quarterback has completed 64.2 percent of his passes, averaged 7.3 yards-per-attempt, and posted an impressive 4:1 touchdown-to-interception ratio. For certain, Rodgers still hasn’t quite recaptured his MVP form, but he has inched closer to that level each week.
Defense getting healthier
Green Bay’s defense imploded during their four-game skid, with the unit yielding an average of just over 38 points and allowing no fewer than 31 in any tilts during that stretch. However, the defense played largely without the services of All-Pro pass rusher rusher Clay Matthews, inside linebacker Jake Ryan, and cornerback Damarious Randall, all starters. All three appear on track to suit up this Monday, which could help reverse the Packers’ downward defensive trend.
Primetime pressure for Philly
With the Cowboys and Giants pulling away in the division, the Eagles find themselves under far more pressure than the Packers, who entered the week just two games back of the NFC North leader. With a rookie quarterback and a first-time head coach guiding Philly, the potential for things to go off the rails in a primetime game look staggeringly high.
WHY THE EAGLES WILL COVER
Rob Hansen is a Covers writer and a former blogger for ProSportsDaily.com’s PSD Redzone blog. Although he is not an Eagles fan, he is certainly not a fan of the Green Bay Packers (Bears fan). You can follow PSD RedZone on Facebook and Twitter (@PSDRedZone) and Covers on Twitter (@covers).
Defense, defense, defense.
Despite the team’s recent struggles, they still own one of the league’s top defensive units. The Philadelphia Eagles rank seventh in the NFL in yards allowed per game (334.6) and fifth in points allowed per game (18.6). The one weak spot on the defensive side of the ball for the Eagles is stopping the run and nothing that the Packers have done in 2016 tells me they will be able to expose that weakness. The Packers’ offensive line is a banged up mess and Philly’s pass rushers are going to get to Aaron Rodgers and they will not be able to open holes to the running game.
Tight ends should be open (hehehe)
Green Bay’s defense has been awful during their current four-game losing skid. They may be getting healthier but that doesn’t change the fact that they are unable to effectively cover opposing tight ends. Facing the Packers should be the magic elixir that the Eagles have been looking for in order to get Carson Wentz’ season turned around. The Packers have allowed 265.6 yards passing to opposing quarterbacks this season (bottom third of the league) and they are one of only four teams that have allowed 700+ yards receiving to opposing tight ends. The combination of Zach Ertz, Brent Celek and Trey Burton will be great safety options for Wentz tonight.
The Eagles’ special teams has been terrific in 2016, especially their kick returns. They are averaging a league-high 33.7 yards per kickoff return and the Packers’ coverage team is allowing a league-low 30.5 yards per kickoff return. Setting up a short field for Wentz will be a key element in allowing Philly to not only win Monday’s game, but cover the -4 in the process.
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