If the Green Bay Packers are going to run the table as they did in 2016, they must start that run in similar fashion to six years ago.
That season, Green Bay’s magical run to the playoffs began with a road win over the Philadelphia Eagles in primetime. This team needs a repeat on Sunday night.
Looking ahead to this week’s showdown, what are three key matchups?
Jaire Alexander vs. A.J. Brown
A.J. Brown is off to a great start with his new team and is on track for career-best numbers this season. In 10 games, Brown has made 49 catches for 785 yards and six touchdowns.
The Packers need to be able to stop him from dominating this game.
Defensive coordinator Joe Barry should allow Jaire Alexander to follow Brown.
Alexander got the better of the matchup the last time they played against each other, back in 2019 when Brown was playing for the Tennessee Titans.
Brown only made four catches for 43 yards in the game and didn’t find much success in Alexander’s coverage.
Packers’ offensive line vs. Eagles’ pass rush
This should be a fascinating matchup.
The Eagles have a dominant pass rush, ranking third in sacks with 33. However, the Packers have been strong in pass protection, especially in games David Bakhtiari has played.
According to ESPN, Philadelphia ranks second in the league for pass rush win rate, but Green Bay is fifth in pass block win rate.
The Eagles have three players — Josh Sweat, Haason Reddick, and Javon Hargrave — inside the top 10 at their respective positions for pass rush win rate.
However, the Packers have three offensive linemen — David Bakhtiari, Yosh Nijman, and Josh Myers — inside the top 10 at their respective positions for pass block win rate. Bakhtiari leads all tackles in the category.
It should be a great matchup. Something has to give.
Packers’ run game vs. Eagles’ run defense
If there’s an area to attack this Eagles defense, it’s with the run.
Philadelphia is dominant against the pass, ranking second in the league, but has a middle-of-the-pack run defense. The Eagles are giving up 122.2 rushing yards per game, ranking 19th in the NFL. They are also allowing 4.6 yards per carry, ranking 24th.
If the Packers commit to the run and find success on the ground, they may have a chance to put up some points.