After a thanksgiving schedule that has increased the Eagles chances of mounting a playoff charge, the birds host Green Bay on Monday night in a bid to cement one. Home field advantage has been crucial to the success of the Eagles this season, but there’s one more important factor that could well tilt the scales on Monday.
Through thick and thin, wins and losses, the Eagles have remained a cohesive unit..and against a Packers team that desperately needs a win, that one aspect could make all the difference. It hasn’t been easy..in fact, it’s been anything but. Doug Pederson has had more than his fair share of controversies to deal with since taking over from Chip Kelly.
Problems started with the quarterback controversy and began to spiral into a whirlwind of problems. Arrests, suspensions and a lack of production in certain areas have looked to thwart the Eagles efforts to establish themselves under Doug Pederson..but so far, all have failed.
Despite an impressive unbeaten record at home, it hasn’t been easy for the Eagles. Out of the ten games the team have played so far, seven have been against teams with winning records. With a rookie quarterback at the helm, playing behind an offensive line that has undergone plenty of changes..it’s no surprise that things haven’t all gone swimmingly.
But through every controversy, every win and every loss, Doug Pederson has been able to keep his team united, all with the same vision and mentality in mind. Each game has remained competitive and each week has seen an improvement in at least one area of the team. Be it Offensively, Defensively or even coaching, it’s been a season of unified growth.
But over the last few weeks, things have really began to heat up for the Eagles. Although they were simply outplayed by the Seattle Seahawks, Carson Wentz finally ignited his chemistry with tight end Zach Ertz. Over the last three weeks, the franchise TE has received for 187 yards on just 20 receptions. He also recorded his first touchdown of the season against the Seahawks.
We’ve seen seventh round pick Jalen Mills establish himself as a leader of the secondary, Carson Wentz put the Offense on his shoulders and some recent special teams contract extensions stabilize the unit. But all of this added up brings a startling contrast to the situation in Green Bay.
It’s been a tumultuous season for the Packers, who have succumbed to a 4-6 record, losing four consecutive games. While the Eagles have largely been able to overcome adversity, the Packers have fallen victim to it.
Aaron Rodgers may be putting up impressive numbers this season, but his leadership, character, consistency and attitude have all been called into question numerous times. From calling out Mike Florio to then criticizing his team’s “lack of energy”, Rodgers hasn’t exactly helped try to bandage the ever expanding wounds on the Packers roster.
Injuries have impacted the Packers just as they have every team in the NFL..and the Eagles have been no exception. Halapoulivaati Vaitai is listed as week-to-week, while the Eagles O-Line has seen a “plug-n-play” level of depth this season. A weakness at first glance that has now been turned into a strength, the depth that the Eagles have added to their roster has ensured that injuries have had a minimal effect on the season, despite the prestige of the player sidelined.
However a Defense that looked primed to support the Packers Offense early on has allowed over 30 points in each of Green Bay’s last four games. With no sign of things changing any time soon, the team appears to slowly be falling apart..with the leaders unable to unify a roster in need of direction.
For the first time in what seems like forever, Mike McCarthy’s future is less than secure. Pressure continues to mount and with an inability to “win the press conference” or at least show a belief in his team, morale is certainly at a previously unseen low..something that McCarthy hasn’t yet had to deal with.
Doug Pederson has helped turn the Linc into a fortress this season, with the Eagles having a “one game at a time” mentality and fully believing in their coach and their quarterback. It’s a stark contrast to the Packers who are coming into the matchup with their backs against the wall and all eyes on the performance of Aaron Rodgers.
With the Philly faithful promising to provide more than a level of intimidation for the Packers and a wounded Offensive line coming up against one of the most ruthless pass-rushes in the league, it’s the unified belief and motivation possessed by Pederson’s Eagles that could lift them over a desperate and dismantling Green Bay Packers.
Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports