After a scorching first half of the season, the Eagles have appeared very mortal in two consecutive games, as they lost in bizarre fashion to the Washington Commanders before pulling a win out of their rear ends in Indianapolis the following Sunday.
The vibes of Philadelphia concerning this team are definitely different as of late. Is it time to panic? I would say no. I feel as if many (self-included) started to take the team’s early season dominance for granted. It’s the NFL. Coaching staffs will figure out ways to slow you down at some point, and it is your job to respond accordingly. It is also unrealistic to expect a team to mow down every professional organization that stands in their way. Every other premier contender has had moments of weakness at some point this season. The Chiefs lost to the Colts and needed overtime to beat a Titans team at home that was led by their rookie backup quarterback. The Bills lost to the Jets in ugly fashion and blew a 17 point lead to the Vikings at home. The Vikings, who were recently 8-1, just got obliterated 40-3 at home by the Cowboys. Every team has their low moments. The great teams are the ones who bounce back.
With that TED Talk out of the way, the Eagles now shift their focus to their Sunday night home game against the Green Bay Packers, who have been almost unbelievably bad this season considering their quarterback is Aaron Rodgers. The defense is ravaged with injuries, their receivers are inexperienced and/or not very good, and Rodgers himself is just not the top tier MVP quarterback that he had been the two years prior (or anything close to it, really). I thought he looked really bad in their Thursday night game against the Titans last week. Rookie second-round pick Christian Watson has become a touchdown machine as of late and fellow rookie Romeo Doubs could be making his return from injury, but even so it is just not a very intimidating receiving corps. Darius Slay has struggled in two consecutive matchups against great receivers in Terry McLaurin and Michael Pittman Jr. He has a much more favorable matchup this week, so he should be expected to bounce back. The running back duo of Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon is a very talented one, so the Eagles revamped run defense will be faced with another challenging task after what I thought was a tremendous overall effort against Jonathan Taylor last week.
As mentioned earlier, Green Bay’s defense has talent, but they have dealt with their share of injuries including star pass rusher Rashan Gary starting cornerback Eric Stokes and reigning all-pro linebacker De’Vondre Campbell. It is still a formidable group that includes elite players in defensive tackle Kenny Clark and cornerback Jaire Alexander, as well as pass rusher Preston Smith and first-round linebacker Quay Walker. The Eagles have moved the ball against good defenses this season, and despite Rodgers’ struggles it would probably behoove them to try to keep the ball out of his hands as much as possible by controlling the run game and trenches with long possessions.
The Eagles have slowed down a bit, but I fully anticipate them being able to win this game. The biggest thing I will be looking for is to simply get the ball in the hands of their best players. Miles Sanders should be getting the crucial carries over Kenny Gainwell or Boston Scott, and A.J. Brown should not be on the sideline for three consecutive plays during a two-minute drill. Sometimes I feel that this coaching staff overthinks it. Just let your best players make plays for you and you will have a chance in any game. Conversely, The defense should not have a ton of trouble against this relatively tepid Packers offense. The run defense looks mightily improved for the Eagles and the passing game just has not really been there for Green Bay. Give me the Eagles in a fairly low-scoring game.
Prediction: Eagles win 21-13, and cover the spread
Photo: Quinn Harris/Getty Images