The Eagles head into Green Bay and legendary Lambeau Field this week for a match-up with the high powered, dangerous Packers, who are 5-3 coming into this game. The temperature for Sunday's game, at game-time, will be roughly a high of 45 degrees, with winds west at 10-15 miles-per-hour. Even though it can get seasonally cold in Philadelphia around November/during winter time, nothing compares to the often frozen, wind-chill filled tundra of Lambeau Field. Nick Foles will unfortunately have to prepare for that, as best as possible.
Even though, thankfully, Aaron Rodgers won't be playing, due to a broken collarbone, for Green Bay, it's best to plan as if he were anyway, especially with the extreme weather conditions playing a huge part in the game as well, even before it begins. Backup quarterback Seneca Wallace will start in place of Rodgers for Green Bay, while Nick Foles will start again for Philadelphia, after his record-setting 7 touchdown performance at Oakland last week.
Offensively, for Philadelphia, Foles needs to plan and adjust to the cold weather early, and try to get (and stay) in rhythm. Last week, on top of throwing 7 touchdown passes and putting up 49 points, Philadelphia was impressively 4-4 in the Red Zone as well. Foles went far and beyond expectations, and what constitutes an excellent performance, and he was able to find open receivers when the opportunity presented itself, especially in key moments/downs. Not only being efficient in your own zone, the neutral zone and in the opposing team's zone, but in the Red Zone as well is very important and critical, especially for a young quarterback attempting to improve and grow in his skill sets.
Foles has shown throughout his young career to be able to find the open receiver in short-yardage scenarios, making the accurate throws to be able to do so, but doing the same in clutch situations are even more imperative, yet tough. The Red Zone is a congested, tight area to be able to throw within it, thus being as successful as possible in the passing game there is important for your team.
Green Bay doesn't have the most successful defense this season, but rather they're regarded as a middle-of-the-pack type defense, both statistically and from a roster standpoint. This season, their defense is ranked 13th overall in passing yards given up per game with an average of 250.5. Philadelphia, offensively, in the passing game has been pretty much a top-10 team statistically all year. They're 11th, between Foles and Vick, in passing yards/game with 282.6.
As for Red Zone statistics, defensively Green Bay is dead last in opponent Red Zone scoring percentage (touchdowns only) at 69.23%; something positive for Philadelphia to look forward to offensively this week. The Packers' defense has been just as poor the past three games in that category as they've been so far this season, with a percentage of 60. Subjectively speaking, their defense hasn't really even faced a powerhouse offense the past few weeks. Their past three opponents have been Chicago (who normally does have a good, well-rounded offense when healthy, but starter Jay Cutler was injured), Minnesota and Cleveland, respectively.
Minnesota doesn't have strong passing offense, with their carousel of young, ineffective quarterbacks this season, as they more so rely almost solely on their running game to get them by, with MVP-caliber running back Adrian Peterson leading the way. Cleveland is ranked 25th in rushing offense this season with 81.6 rushing-yards per game. Despite facing inadequate offenses, Green Bay has given up a combined total of 71 points the past three games, including 58 in the past two.
The Eagles rank, in the same category, fourth in the NFL with 147.9 yards/game, slightly behind Green Bay's mark of 148.6. Star running back Shady McCoy, despite poor performances the past couple of weeks, is also in the top 3 in the NFL in rushing yards with 777.
Especially now that Rodgers is out, Green Bay most likely will rely almost solely on their strong running game, and since Philadelphia gave up over 200 yards rushing last week vs. Oakland, they will have to tackle well, stay in front of Eddie Lacy, and play well vs. the run, in order to prevent Green Bay from having a field day vs. the poor Philadelphia rushing defense.
Regardless of Rodgers being inactive, I expect Philadelphia defensive coordinator Billy Davis to run blitz schemes constantly, with hopes of shutting down the passing offense for the Packers as well.
Philadelphia, despite a strong performance in that area last week, has been a struggling Red Zone offensive team this year. They rank 26th in the NFL in Red Zone scoring percentage, with 48.15%, although the last three games they've picked up the slack with a percentage of 57.14.
Keys To The Game
-Shut down Green Bay's running game
-Spread the offense out, and make Green Bay's poor defense pay for their ineffectiveness
-Play well in the Red Zone
For Green Bay:
-Execute offensively with a strong rushing attack
-Blitz Nick Foles, and prevent him from wearing down your defense
-Control the line of scrimmage and the time of possession battle
Patrick Chung- probable- Shoulder
Bradley Fletcher- questionable- Pectoral
Damaris Johnson- probable- Ankle
Jake Knott- doubtful- Hamstring
Jason Peters- probable- Pectoral, shoulder
Chris Polk- probable- Shoulder, knee
Cedric Thornton- probable- Knee
Julian Vandervelde- probable- Knee
Michael Vick- doubtful- Hamstring
Aaron Rodgers- out- Collarbone
Ryan Pickett- probable- Knee
Nick Perry- questionable- Foot
Mike Neal- probable- Knee
Clay Matthews- probable- Thumb
Andy Mulumba- doubtful- Ankle
T.J. Lang- questionable- Concussion
Eagles win, 34-17