That was a tough one on Sunday. Fortunately, there are 13 more games to play, which means there are 13 opportunities to make it up, starting with this Thursday. In less than 24 hours, the Eagles travel to Green Bay to take on the Packers in primetime action.

Coverage will be on Fox at 8:20 P.M., with Joe Buck and Troy Aikman calling their first Eagles game of the season. After a disappointing week 3, the Eagles have been rightfully listed as underdogs, with Green Bay favored by 4.5 points. As we’ve seen in the past though, being underdogs isn’t such a bad thing.

Coming into this game, Green Bay is one of seven teams to win their first three games, with wins coming against the Bears, Vikings, and Broncos. Despite the offense boasting its many weapons, it has actually been the Packers defense that has been the dominant force. Through 3 weeks, the Packers defense is averaging 14 points, nearly 3 turnovers, and conceding a total of 354.7 yards per game. They have also tallied 12 sacks, which is the second-most in the NFL. Meanwhile, Aaron Rodgers and company have had a very modest offensive performance thus far, putting together an average of 19.3 points and 305 yards per game. Despite the lack of offensive production though, the Packers offense refuses to turnover the ball. In his last 19 games, Rodgers has only thrown an interception twice, none of them this year. The only two turnovers from their offense this season have come through fumbles, but still occurring infrequently. The Packers as a team have a +6 in turnover differential which is the best in the NFL.

On the other hand, the 1-2 Eagles have a lot of improving to do. A team that could have easily been 3-0 if not for silly mistakes, they must discipline themselves above all. Yes, the injuries are becoming an issue, but still, this was a team that had opportunities to win both games, if not for inexcusable drops. It’s not just the drops though; all around, players are not in sync. Just as an example, late in the first half on Sunday, the Eagles lined up with 10 men on defense. The result? A double reverse that went for 44 yards. That is simply unacceptable, and NFL teams will exploit that 10 times out 10. However, despite the problems, there is hope to be found. Alshon Jeffery and Kamu Grugier-Hill are both gearing up to play in Thursday’s game, which is a huge sigh of relief. More than anything though, this is a team that has shown fight time and time again. Even with all of the injuries, the team fought back for a chance to win in Atlanta. Even with all the mistakes, the team found a way to block a field goal and give themselves a chance against Detroit. They will absolutely be hungry for a win on Thursday in order to prove people wrong.

Keys to Victory

1) Score Early

Other teams may let you get away with a slow start, but not this team. Should the Eagles have a sluggish start again on Thursday, Aaron Rodgers will devour them. If there was one positive to take away from the loss to the Lions, it was that the Eagles scored 10 points in the first quarter, something they have not done since week 14 in 2017 (not incl. playoffs). The Packers defense is a tough assignment to do this against, especially in Lambeau, but it needs to happen.

2) Run the Ball. Please.

Two weeks in a row, now three, I’ve written that the key to winning the game would be running the ball well. Guess what the Eagles didn’t do? You can’t expect to win games without running the ball. However, you also can’t run the ball foolishly. I know that Doug Pederson wants to instill confidence in Miles Sanders, but he’s not good enough yet to get the majority of handoffs. On top of that, he hasn’t been able to handle the ball properly. Jordan Howard, on the other hand, has been 3rd in the league in terms of rushing yards since he came into the league. It would be devastating if he was not utilized properly.

3) Don’t Shoot Yourselves in the Foot

If you give up a kickoff return for a touchdown, drop 7 passes, and have 3 offensive pass interferences called against you, you will lose. As weird as it sounds, it’s a miracle that the Eagles almost won that game. Now, as bad as all those mistakes sound, it should tell you something; if the Eagles played mistake-free football, they could have won comfortably. Unfortunately for the Eagles though, the Packers aren’t the Lions. Aaron Rodgers will make you pay dearly for missed opportunities. Every single mistake the Eagles are making are easy fixes that can be done with a little fine-tuning, and I’m confident in Doug Pederson to make those amends.

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