The Green Bay Packers will host the Philadelphia Eagles this Sunday without their star quarterback Aaron Rodgers under center. The Eagles provide their fair of challenges, specifically on the offensive side of the ball. Rookie head coach Chip Kelly has brought to Philly the fast-paced, no-huddle offense that made him a household name at Oregon.
The Eagles are coming off an impressive 49-20 win over the Oakland Raiders, where they tallied 542 yards of offense. The Eagles have weapons, and now it appears they have the quarterback in Nick Foles to man Kelly’s innovative scheme.
Initially, things look a bit grim for Green Bay heading into this matchup. The Packers just lost their MVP quarterback. Their defense is coming off possibly their worst performance of the season. And the Packers still don’t know who will line up on offensive line with T.J. Lang listed as a game-time decision after suffering a concussion Monday night.
Do the Packers have a chance?
To get a better understanding of this week’s Packers matchup and get some insight from the other side, we contacted the staff over at Eagles Fansided site, Inside the Iggles. Contributing writer, Todd Duvall, was courteous enough to take the time and answer our questions.
Enjoy his insight.
Packers vs. Eagles Q&A with Todd Duvall
1) The Eagles quarterback situation has been anything but settled this season. Give us your thoughts on both Michael Vick and Nick Foles and tell us who you’d start on Sunday if both were healthy.
TD: Vick’s completion ratio has decreased from 62.6% in 2010 to 54.6% so far this year. In 2011, that number was 59.8%. And in 2012, it was 58.1%. Granted, that is better than most years in his career. But the trend is moving in the wrong direction. Plus, he is 33 years old. Which isn’t too old in quarterback years but in Vick years he is probably more like 37 or 38. He takes a lot of hits on that smallish frame of his. It isn’t a secret he has only started all games in a season one time in his career. Those hits add up.
Foles’ stats on the other hand are moving in the positive direction. Granted there are only seven games last year to look at and six so far this year. His QBR has moved up almost 30 points and his passer rating has increased by nearly 50 points from last year. His completion ratio is 62% this season. He had that one off game in Dallas. That was never explained to my satisfaction but let’s hope that was an aberration. He has yet to throw an interception this year in 13 touchdowns. Last Sunday’s seven touchdowns was probably lightening in a bottle but he looks to be improving with each game. I would start Nick Foles, no question.
2) The Eagles are currently 4-5 and sit second place in the NFC East behind the Dallas Cowboys. What do you expect from them in the second half of the season? In your opinion, what are their chances they’ll beat out the Cowboys for the division title?
TD: With a stable quarterback (Foles) leading the charge I think the Eagles will continue to improve their game this season. With the exception of the Dallas game Foles seems to have Chip Kelly’s offense dialed in. If Kelly sticks with Foles and he keeps improving, I look to see the Eagles give the Cowboys a challenge for first place in the division. That said, Dallas would need to pretty much implode and only win 4 of their last 7 games. Their history has proven this is a possibility. Philadelphia on the other hand would need to win 6 f their last 7. That isn’t impossible, but it is an unlikely scenario for the Eagles. Unless Dallas completely implodes, I see them winning the NFC East this season.
3) What are your thoughts on Chip Kelly’s offense so far this season? Do you like what he’s brought to the Eagles?
TD: Personally, I like it. It makes for great entertainment. The first half of their first game against the Redskins had me sitting on the edge of my seat from the first snap. They are ranked second in total yards this season. And they are second in total rushing yards. I think Kelly’s offense is still a work in progress with some inconsistent play from game to game. However, I think by the end of the season they will be a consistent force to deal with.
4) Both LeSean McCoy and DeSean Jackson are having big seasons this year. The Eagles also have offensive weapons in Jason Avant, Brent Celek, and Riley Cooper. If you’re Green Bay’s defense how would you gameplan against this potent Philadelphia offense?
TD: Disrupt the receivers at the line of scrimmage and put pressure on the quarterback. You have to make Foles uncomfortable to keep those receivers out of the game. He isn’t very mobile so the more pressure the better. Foles has too many weapons to choose from and it will be easier to get after Foles than try to cover three wideouts and Celek. Put a body on LeSean McCoy. The Packers will have a tough time stopping him, but putting someone accountable for him on each play will help.
5) In your opinion, where do you see the Eagles most favorable matchup against the Packers? Where do you see the least favorable matchup?
TD: I think the most favorable matchup is the Eagles’ passing game against the Packers’ pass defense. The Packers’ allow an average of 251 passing yards per game. They haven’t had to face the combination of Foles, Jackson, Cooper, Avant and Celek this year, so I expect that to be their weak spot. I hesitantly say the rushing game is the least favorable matchup based solely the Packers’ defense is ranked 5th in opponent yards rushing allowed. I am hesitant because they have not faced a LeSean McCoy this season. Not sure if Clay Matthews will be much of his normal dominant self on his first game back. Not sure how well he can tackle with his hand still in a cast and probably still a little sensitive from the surgery.
6) Give us your game prediction, including final score, explanation, and any other final thoughts you’d like to leave with us.
TD: I think the Eagles get a win. I predict 34 to 24. Seneca Wallace will be a little rusty since he hasn’t played this year except for the short time last week against the Bears. One week is a short time to learn the routes and get a feel for his receivers and tight ends. I think the Eagles’ defense will have a little confidence coming into this game and will keep constant pressure on Wallace. I think it will be competitive game. The Eagles’ defense is still a work in progress.
The Packers will probably rely more on the running game because I don’t think Wallace will be ready for the big plays. The Eagles will be looking for this and will be ready to stop any big running plays. For Wallace I believe there will be some missed routes, over and under thrown passes. I would not be surprised if Wallace doesn’t throw a couple of picks. I think Foles is playing at a high level right now. I think he will be ready to show his coaches that he is the right man for the starting QB job. He laid a big egg against Dallas and he knows this will be his last chance to shine. I think he will have at least 3 TD’s Sunday.
I would like to thank Todd from Inside the Iggles for taking the time this week to answer our questions. Check back here at Lombardi Ave for our live chat during the Packers’ week ten matchup against the Philadelphia Eagles.