How can the Green Bay Packers pull off an upset in Week 12 against the Philadelphia Eagles?
Matt LaFleur’s team is in a tough spot. Having already lost seven games before Thanksgiving, this is effectively a win-or-go-home matchup for the Packers. The playoffs start now.
One more defeat would probably end their hopes of reaching the playoffs. Even winning out may not be enough at this stage.
But LaFleur and his team only have one option, and that’s to take it one game at a time. Try to win each one, then hope for the best. It starts Sunday night in Philadelphia.
To win, the Packers must do these three things:
1. Stay committed to the run
Run the ball. Then run it again. And when it seems the best option is to pass, run it anyway.
Throwing the ball against Philadelphia’s No. 2-ranked pass defense isn’t going to be easy. The Eagles’ defense has forced a league-high 13 interceptions.
Against the run? That’s a different story.
The Eagles’ run defense ranks 19th in yards allowed per game (122.2) and 24th in yards per carry (4.6).
The Packers’ strength on offense is running the football. They must remain committed to their ground game on Sunday night.
2. Take away A.J. Brown
Wide receiver A.J. Brown is having an outstanding first season in Philadelphia, with 785 yards and six touchdowns in 10 games.
If the Packers can limit his production, they may have a chance.
Quarterback Jalen Hurts looks Brown’s way a lot, and it has led to a dominant season from the former Pro Bowler. However, in Week 10, the Washington Commanders held Brown to just one catch for seven yards.
Washington won 32-21, handing Philadelphia its only loss of the season.
Defensive coordinator Joe Barry needs to be aggressive and have Jaire Alexander follow Brown all game. If Brown still has a big game, so be it, but the Packers need to put their All-Pro corner on the Eagles’ top receiver.
3. Don’t turn it over
The Eagles have a league-best turnover differential of +12 and a league-high 21 takeaways. They don’t turn it over much on offense and their defense takes the ball away regularly.
Green Bay will find it challenging enough keeping pace with Philadelphia in this game. A turnover could effectively end the Packers’ chances of an upset.
They need to make the most of their opportunities and can’t turn it over. If they do, it may be game over.