It’s a whole new ball game for the Green Bay Packers (5-3) as they play host to the Philadelphia Eagles (4-5) today at Lambeau Field starting at noon CST.
With Aaron Rodgers most likely donning the headset and clipboard today, we get the opportunity to see what type of plan Head Coach Mike McCarthy has come up with for his backup QB Seneca Wallace.
With a scaled-back offense that will most likely rely on the run and the short passing game, it will be interesting to see if the Packers can outsmart the Eagles defense with the plan.
No doubt the Eagles are going to fill the box and challenge the Packers to throw the ball. Does Wallace have the arm and patience that Rodgers has shown in the past to make those types of throws?
Does McCarthy even put Wallace in a position to have to make those types of throws. One would think that at some point today, those opportunities will present …
So, the bottom line here is that this is a very difficult game to predict. With Rodgers, it’s a no-brainer. Without Rodgers, we encounter an entirely different scenario.
To that end, below you will find what the guys at lombardiave think about today’s game.
Tell us what you think. We would love to get your predictions. Leave a comment below, check us out and Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
Tommy Marquardt: This is only week 1 of 3 or more weeks without the best player in football, so no one knows how the rest of the team will respond. We got some positive news with Clay Matthews probable to return on Sunday and T.J. Lang cleared from concussion protocol and questionable to play, both of which would be a big boost.
On Offense it will obviously be a heavy dose of Eddie Lacy and some James Starks. On defense I hope to see tons of looks and lots of quick pressure on Nick Foles. If the Packers are successful in those aspects, which I believe they can be, they’ll squeak out a crucial victory!
Packers 20 Eagles 13
Tom Mrozla: Just when we thought it couldn’t get any worse … it did.This is one game where it truly could go either way and I’m honestly left scratching my head. Nick Foles just threw seven touchdowns and Aaron Rodgers is out. The Packers run game and defense is going to have to carry the load this Sunday.
I’m thinking Seneca Wallace will be more comfortable and confident but don’t expect to be blown away.Wallace will be just comfortable enough to complete enough passes to create scoring chances for the offense. This looks to be a battle, but I say the run game and defense comes through. Field goals will be the difference. Hoping for an off day from the Philly offense.
Packers 20 Eagles 17
Darryl Krejci: Plain and simple, unless the Packers’ defense steps up and plays at a consistent level and the offense is at least salvageable with Seneca Wallace at the helm, I don’t feel too good about our chances.
Eddie Lacy will have a big day in the trenches but it will not be enough. I see the Packers falling to the Eagles. I hope I am wrong but I don’t think there is much of a chance if we can’t cover, tackle or throw the ball.
Eagles 34 Packers 17
Kevin Gibson: Well, it’s a whole new game now, isn’t it? Predictions don’t come easy when you’ve swapped out a potential future Hall-of-Famer for a journeyman backup at a team’s most important position.
Here’s what I see: I think the Packers come out throwing – slants, bubble screens, outs – to keep the Eagles off-balance. And they use that to establish the running game in hopes of getting a lead and dominating time of possession against the face-paced Eagles offense.
Packers 19 Eagles 16
Eric Balkman: For years, many fans, pundits and analysts have praised Ted Thompson‘s ability as a general manager to acquire the right pieces for a championship contender. Well, we are about to see how good those pieces are when Green Bay takes the field without their MVP quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
Seneca Wallace is worse than below average. I don’t buy Mike McCarthy’s assertion that Wallace will suddenly become adequate after a week of practice. No one else wanted this guy, and we saw why Monday night. That said, the offensive line is still blowing open holes for Eddie Lacy and James Starks. For once, it’s the Pack’s run game that will get them the (nail-biting) win.
Packers 24, Eagles 23
David Burdette: The Packers face a long road. This road starts with an interesting matchup versus the Philadelphia Eagles.
Nick Foles had a spectacular week last week, but he has yet to show he can play consistently, and last time he faced this team he was sacked three times. The immediate danger is LeSean McCoy, who could do some real damage.
To win, the Packers have to control the line on both sides of the ball. Run with confidence with Eddie Lacy and James Starks, and play the short passing game with Seneca Wallace. On the other side, get in Foles’ face and stop McCoy.
Packers can win, but this won’t be easy.
Packers 20 Eagles 17
Patrick Hughes: This is a tough one call. In some ways this game is a bit of an un-scouted look at the Green Bay Packers. We all saw Seneca Wallace look unspectacular against the Chicago Bears on Monday night. The thing for me is I am confident that Wallace will look better against the Eagles than he did against the Bears. But will the improved play be enough to get the Pack over the hump?
On paper the Eagles and the Packers compare fairly even when considering offense and defense points scored and allowed. The defensive play of the Packers will determine if Green Bay comes out victorious. Lesean McCoy is having an incredible season and DeSean Jackson is dangerous at the receiver position. Jackson has already amassed 823 yards receiving and 6 touchdowns.
With some luck last week’s poor performance lit a fire under the Packers’ defense. I am going to roll the dice and say it did. Wallace is serviceable and Eddie Lacy and James Starks continue to grind out yards on the ground. I think we are going to see a short passing game, the ever popular dink and dunk.
Packers 24 Eagles 17
Dan Dahlke: Just about every week I feel confident in the Packers chances to win because they have No. 12 under center. It’s a bit strange to try and muster a prediction when the Packers will be without some of their key players. Having said that, I think the Eagles will come to Lambeau and win this one. The Packers just lack the firepower on offense without Rodgers to keep up with the Eagles. The Packers defense has also given us plenty of reasons as of late to doubt they can completely shutdown high-powered passing attacks, like Philadelphia’s.
Green Bay may have a chance if they can get pressure, force some turnovers, and move the chains on offense. This seems like a tall order though, especially coming off a short week and trying to prepare for an uncommon opponent. Even if the Packers lose, I’ll feel encouraged if they keep it competitive and Wallace shows he can run the offense effectively. This week, I’m more looking for positive things the Packers can build off of moving forward without Rodgers. Maybe they’ll show us enough to feel good about their chances against the Giants and Vikings the following weeks.
Eagles 34 Packers 24
Kevin Dickens: It’s time to get over the fact that Green Bay will be without Aaron Rodgers for whatever allotment of time deemed necessary for him to heal his fractured collarbone. It is time, however, for everyone to realize their importance to this team. With the 2011 NFL MVP sidelined, every Packer will need to step up their play. That starts this week against the Eagles.
The key to this game will be none other than Seneca Wallace. I have faith in his ability to maintain and get the job done. His previous record of 6-15 as a starter does not reflect his ability. He did not have the talent around him to succeed at Cleveland and other places. The Packers DO have that talent. Expect Mike McCarthy to have lost sleep this week to make sure Seneca is comfortable with the game plan. I would expect to see Eddie Lacy carry the rock at least 25 times and James Starks to give him a breather carrying it another 15 times. Run. RUN. RUN! And don’t stop until your opponent is seeing stars should be the Packers mantra this week especially due to the fact that the Eagles rank 21st against the run giving up more than 111 yards per game. This will also help to exploit an Eagles’ defense ranked last in the league against the pass, allowing a healthy 308 yards per game.
The defense MUST PLAY BETTER. And they will. Clay Matthews’ return will be big for the Packers. Club on the hand or not, just his presence is needed to bring the morale of the defense back to a high level. This defense had been winning games for the Packers to start the year. They will have to continue if they want to make a postseason appearance.
Maybe my prediction is jaded being a Packers’ fan, but there will be a sense of urgency from every Packers player on the field.
Packers 24 Eagles 17
Luke Hanish: To truly figure out just what exactly Chip Kelly has put on the field so far has been somewhat challenging. Week one the entire league and media alike were buzzing about his fast-paced offense, yet at times it has looked to have been figured out.
I would like to think our defense is at least good enough to prevent Nick Foles from throwing anywhere near 7 touchdown passes this week. The returns of Clay Matthews and Nick Perry will certainly help the pass rush.
As the defense proved last week, without takeaways, it’s very average, at best. Offensively all we can do as the fan base is hope Seneca Wallace has had enough reps in practice this week to look even SLIGHTLY more comfortable than he did Monday. As I wrote earlier this week, until Rodgers returns, the running game and defense will dictate the outcome of the next few games.
I look for a bounce-back from the defense with the offense yet again not quite yet firing on all cylinders.
Eagles in a CLOSE upset. And for the record I really hate picking against our boys. PROVE ME WRONG PACK!
Eagles 28 Packers 26
Ray Rivard: I just can’t see this as being a high scoring game. I feel the Packers defense will come out and play like we’ve seen them play the bulk of the first half of the season.
If the defense doesn’t rise to the occasion, the Packers may be done … and not just Sunday, but for the rest of the season. It’s the defense that is going to have to carry this team through this four- or five-game stretch without Rodgers and it all starts against the Eagles. The defensive line needs to regain that mean streak, that nastiness that helped them control the line of scrimmage for 60 minutes. That will be the difference over the next few weeks.
I wrote at the beginning of the season that the NFC North and the NFC title would be won in the trenches. Yes, it’s a cliche, but one that is true year-in, year-out. These next few games may be Dom Capers’ legacy here in Green Bay. If the Packers fold, he will be looking for a job come January. If the defense comes through, they may be playing in January.
As for Sunday, I’m confident. I think the Packers win a low-scoring affair with just enough from Seneca Wallace and a whole lotta Eddie Lacy.
Packers 20 Eagles 16
Davey Miller: Packers win with defense, stopping the run, and with offense, running the ball with a few Seneca Wallace rollouts.