Packers-Eagles: The Trenches are Key to Victory

Packers-Eagles looked to be one of the premier matchups when the NFL kicked off in September. But these teams have trended in opposite directions since the first month of the season. The Eagles were the last unbeaten team across the league, a Super Bowl favorite. The Packers, meanwhile, are clinging to the ever fading odds of stealing the last wild card spot. But the Eagles have shown their vulnerabilities in the last few weeks, but will the Packers be able to exploit those?

The Eagles defense has been one of the stronger units across the NFL this season. They lead the league in passer rating allowed, and are 2nd in passing yards allowed. They are 7th in points allowed at 18.3 points per game. But since rookie defensive tackle Jordan Davis went on IR, they have been gashed against the run. For the season, the Eagles are the #4 defense by DVOA. But they are 3# against the pass… and #26 against the run. Over the last 6 games, Philadelphia has allowed 137 yards per game on the ground.

This was key in both their loss against the Commanders as well as their close call vs. the Colts last week. The Commanders possessed the ball for nearly 40 minutes in their win. The Packers will have to try and emulate this in order to give their defense a chance against the high-powered Eagles offense.

In order for that to work, the Packers will have to have success on first and second downs. The offensive line has played better the last couple of weeks. But they are playing to Philadephia’s strength if they allow themselves to get into obvious passing situations. The Eagles as a team are 2nd in pass rush win rate, with both Josh Sweat and Haason Reddick ranking in the top 10 as individuals.

If the Packers can replicate their offensive gameplan from Week 10 against Dallas, where Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon combined for 39 carries and 207 yards, the Packers will give themselves a chance. The Eagles added both Linval Joseph and Ndamukong Suh last week to try and bolster their interior. They both will look to have added roles this week against the Packers. But if Green Bay have has some success on the ground and shorten the game, they have a chance to steal one in Philadelphia and keep their playoff hopes alive for one more week.

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Jared is a rogue Packers fan from a Steelers family and an overall football junkie, including playing 4 years at Ithaca College. You can follow him on twitter at @JPrugar.

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