Packers' next opponent: Reeling, injured Eagles head to Lambeau Field
The Green Bay Packers host the reeling Philadelphia Eagles, who are banged up and losers of two straight. The Packers are 3-0 and look to maintain their lead atop the NFC North.
Basics on the Eagles
The Eagles dropped their second straight heartbreaker, losing 27-24 to the Detroit Lions at home after J.J. Arcega-Whiteside dropped a potential game-winning touchdown pass on fourth down with 49 seconds left. Carson Wentz was sacked three times and went 19-for-36 passing in the loss while the Eagles' defense held the Lions to 287 yards of total offense.
Eagles head coach Doug Pederson, a former backup quarterback in Green Bay from 1996-98 and 2001-04, has his roots in the West Coast offense. But he came up in coaching under Andy Reid and the Kansas City version of that system has pushed the envelope and is more multiple and dynamic with motions, different personnel groupings and the occasional “specialty” play.
Defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz is very familiar with Aaron Rodgers, having game-planned against him when Schwartz was the head coach of the Lions from 2009-13. Schwartz runs a base 4-3 and likes to bring pressure from different areas.
League rank of the Eagles' rush defense. Also the number of sacks the Eagles have on the year.
Dropped passes by the Eagles against Detroit.
League rank of the Eagles' pass defense.
55.7% and 76.5
Completion percentage and quarterback rating for Wentz the last two weeks.
Players to watch
Nelson Agholor and J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, WR
The Eagles wide receivers took a beating after the loss to Detroit, with Arcega-Whiteside dropping a game-winning touchdown and self-flagellating postgame and Agholor being mockingly name-checked by a Philadelphia citizen who was saving children from a fire. Agholor was a first-round pick, Arcega-Whiteside a second-rounder — they have talent and might be a bit motivated to show out.
Jason Peters, LT
Peters, 37, is one of the league’s best left tackles and future Hall of Famer in his 16th season. He is one of the few players who can single block the entire game and at 6 feet, 4 inches and 328 pounds is a mountain to try and get around.
Sidney Jones, CB
The second-round pick out of Washington in 2017 was moved into a prominent coverage role on the outside last week when starter Ronald Darby injured a hamstring. Darby had been struggling and the 6-foot, 180-pound Jones was given a chance to play more. Darby will be out Thursday, giving Jones a real shot to see what he can do.
Reasons to worry
The Eagles came into 2019 as one of the NFC favorites to reach the Super Bowl, and while they are 1-2, they’ve lost the last two games by a total of seven points. Pederson is one of the best in football, not only in calling a game offensively but in getting his team ready to play in any scenario.
Wentz and this offense have turned it over five times the last two weeks and they’re a middle-of-the-pack group at No. 13 overall — but they’ve still scored 76 points. They will provide the best test to date of the Packers’ second-ranked scoring unit.
Reasons to relax
It’s a Thursday night home game for the Packers and the Eagles are hitting the road after not only a tough loss at home to Detroit but severely depleted. They will be without key starters in wide receiver DeSean Jackson, defensive lineman Tim Jernigan and cornerback Darby. Pederson is hopeful wide receiver Alshon Jeffery can play, but he — along with offensive tackle Andre Dillard (knee) — have injuries that could prevent them from suiting up on a short week.
After looking good against Washington in Week 1 (and let’s face it, Mitch Trubisky looked good against Washington), Wentz has struggled. Part of it is his top two receivers in Jackson and Jeffery are banged up. Part of it has been the six times he’s been sacked in two weeks. Part of it is a middling run game. But it all adds up to some fits and spurts for a quarterback who has yet to regain the consistent, MVP-like form he showed in 2017.
Contact Jim Owczarski at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat at @JimOwczarski or Facebook at facebook.com/JOwczarski.