Know your Eagles enemy: The Green Bay Packers

Yuck. That’s all I’ll say about the Lions game. Time to focus on the Packers.

This Thursday will be Eagles’ opportunity to put all questions about the motivation and desire of the team to bed. They face one of the most elite quarterbacks in the league in Aaron Rodgers and a MUCH improved defense.  Let’s take a look at what they’ve done in the off-season:

Key additions:

Head coach Matt LaFleur, linebacker Za’Darius Smith (free agency – Ravens), linebacker Preston Smith (free agency – Redskins), safety Adrian Amos (free agency – Bears), guard Billy Turner (free agency – Broncos), defensive tackle Rashan Gary (first round draft pick), safety Darnell Savage (first round draft pick), center/guard Elgton Jenkins (second round draft pick)

Key departures: 

Linebacker Clay Matthews (free agency – Rams), wide receiver Randall Cobb (free agency – Cowboys), linebacker Jake Ryan (free agency – Jaguars), defensive tackle Muhammad Wilkerson (free agency), Kentrell Brice (free agency – Buccaneers), head coach Mike McCarthy (fired because he is bad)

As you can see, the Packers have had one hell of an off-season. The additions on defense have turned them from ranked 22nd in the league in total points allowed to being ranked third after three games.

The new defense has allowed only 35 points through three games, an average of 11.7 points per game. They are seventh in the league in passing yards allowed, but 26th in the league in rushing defense. They are allowing ball carriers to average 4.9 yards per carry. This needs to be a game dominated by Jordan Howard and Miles Sanders.

But even if the Eagles can take advantage of a porous run defense, they still have to deal with a:

Image result for stephen a smith aaron rodgers

A-A-RON

As long as Aaron Rodgers is under center for the Packers, they will continue to be a Super Bowl contender.

Rodgers is currently 16th all-time in passing yards and tied for ninth in passing touchdowns (safe to say he’ll move to eighth on Thursday).

Rodgers has faced the Eagles five times in his career. Ok, well it’s really four times. The first time he faced the Eagles was when he came in the fourth quarter of the 2006 game in which the Eagles won 31-9. In that game, he went 2/3 with 14 yards passing.  SCRUB.

Ok, now the next four games. He finally started against the Eagles in 2010, winning 27-10. Then he eliminated the Eagles in the playoffs in 2011. 2013 was a 53-20 drubbing by Rodgers. 2016 was yet another win for the State Farm rep.

The Eagles have never beaten Aaron Rodgers since he became the starter for the Packers. He has seven touchdowns and two interceptions in those three regular season starts, averaging 280.1 yards passing and 2.3 touchdowns. He has thrown two interceptions against them, both of which coming in the 2010 game.

The last time Aaron Rodgers threw an interception to the Eagles? Katy Perry’s Teenage Dream was the number one song. Resident Evil: Afterlife was the number one movie.

I know it seems like I’m making this game seem impossible to win. It honestly almost feels that way. The Eagles are hurting bad in the secondary, not generating a pass rush, and still have Jim Schwartz calling sticks defense. This is not a recipe for a win.

The good news is that Rodgers has not looked like the Rodgers of old.  Rodgers is currently 23rd in the league in passing yards (25th in passing yards per game – 215.7). But we all know he can flip the switch at any given point, and the Eagles secondary might be the group to allow that to happen. 

AA meeting

Wentz will be attending an AA meeting int his game. No, not Alcoholics Anonymous. No, not American Airlines. He will be meeting with Amos and Alexander: defensive backs extraordinaire

Adrian Amos came into the 2019 season as one of the new guys in the Packers’ defense. He spent the first four years of his career with the Chicago Bears and was stellar. According to ProFootballFocus, his grade of 90.6 over the last three years puts him third among all safeties with over 1,000 snaps.  Also, coming into this season, he’s been beaten for a completion over 40 yards just once in his entire career. That’s a span of over 2,315 snaps in coverage. Yeeeahh…not much success for quarterbacks throwing his way.

Speaking of quarterbacks not having success throwing to a certain defender, Jaire Alexander was thrown at five times last week. The result?  Three receptions for 20 yards, while he broke up the other two passes. 

Alexander had a very productive rookie season in 2018. He played in 13 games, starting 11, had one interception and 66 tackles. He was targeted 91 times and only allowed 59 completions. So far this season, Alexander has been targeted 21 times and has only allowed nine completions. 

The gameplan will need to be a ground game extravaganza if the Eagles will want a chance to give the Packers their first loss of the season. 

Do I think it will happen? Check that out and some history notes on the next page!

Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

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