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Week 12 Matchup: Eagles at Packers

I’m beginning to think somebody in Philadelphia made a deal with the football gods in order for the Birds to win the Super Bowl in 2017. Ever since then, the team has slowly begun to fall apart and I think they have finally reached the bottom of the hill this season. I honestly did not expect them to win Monday night against the Seahawks, but I was expecting at least a fighting chance and it was far from it (excluding defense). The road will not be getting any easier as the season comes closer to its ending.

Their next matchup in this rough stretch of the schedule will take place at Lambeau Field as they face the dominant Green Bay Packers. Here is a preview of what they have in store this Sunday.

The 8-3 Packers are coming off a strong victory against the Chicago Bears and are on their way to win the NFC North yet again. Aaron Rodgers is having one of the best seasons of his career in his second year under head coach Matt Lafleur's system. He leads the NFL with a 117.6 passer rating, a league-high 33 touchdown passes, has only four interceptions, and has been sacked just 11 times. He’s been able to get the ball out fast, and his snap to release average has dropped from 2.74 to 2.50 seconds. He would not be having a career season if it were not for the offensive weapons he’s been given.

Third-year tight end Robert Tonyan is having a breakout year. In his first two seasons he had a total of 14 catches, but this season he’s managed to get 37 catches with seven of them resulting in a touchdown. Davante Adams lit up the Eagles last season with 10 catches for 180 yards and has continued his successful career this season. This season, he has 74 receptions, 908 yards, 11 touchdowns, and has recently joined an exclusive club in Green Bay by recording his 500th career catch in their victory last weekend against Chicago. It’s no coincidence that the Packers’ offense was exceptional against Chicago. The 41-point outburst coincided with the return of their running game. The Packers averaged 4.7 yards per carry vs. Chicago compared to 3.5 YPC in their previous three games.

Mike Pettine's defense arguably had its best performance of the season last week against the Bears, sacking Mitch Trubisky three times and finishing the game with seven quarterback hits. Darnell Savage intercepted Trubisky twice and Preston Smith returned a fumble for a touchdown. The Packers’ pass rush can create problems for the Eagles offense, and I predict it will lead to many turnovers... shocking right?

I feel like in recent weeks I have been praising the opposing teams over the Eagles. The opponents have simply been the better team and the Eagles have not done anything to change my mind. It just seems like each week it’s the same story over and over. Fumbles, interceptions, bad play-calling, etc, it’s just a bad year that I can’t wait for it to end. Carson Wentz was sacked six more times Monday, bringing his league-high total to 46. In the last eight games, he was under pressure on 40.8% of his drop-backs. The problems are a combination of poor protection, receivers who aren’t getting separation, and Wentz’s own poor decision-making.

Wentz has a league-high 15 interceptions and threw red-zone picks in each of the last two games after throwing just two in his previous 65 career starts. Zach Ertz is looking to return this week after missing five games due to an ankle injury. Sunday will be the first time Wentz has both Ertz and Dallas Goedert on the field since Week 3.

The Eagles ran the ball just 14 times last week in their loss against Seattle. I think the unwillingness to run the ball is due to the list of injuries on the o-line and the lack of trust with who they’re relying on among other things. Jason Kelce, who had struggled against the Seahawk last week, will have to bounce back and keep Kenny Clark away if they want to pursue the run game. The Eagles ran the ball effectively against the Packers last year, rushing for 176 yards on 33 carries. The Packers aren’t particularly good against the run. They’re 25th in opponent rush average.

A lot of fans are beginning to give up and unfortunately, I’m not one of them. I’m that loyal fan who would go down with the boat, so I’m hoping for a bounce back and a strong finish to this terrible season. Kickoff is a 4:25PM start on CBS.

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