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Philadelphia Eagles Schedule Preview 2016: Green Bay Packers

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Learn more about Philadelphia's upcoming opponents.

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Our game-by-game preview of the Eagles' 2016 NFL schedule continues with Philadelphia's Week 12 opponent: the Green Bay Packers. (Click here for the Week 1 - Week 2 - Week 3 - BYE - Week 5 - Week 6 - Week 7 - Week 8 - Week 9 - Week 10 - Week 11 - previews.)

The Packers still have Aaron Rodgers, so they're automatically one of the top contending teams in the NFL. He's arguably the best player in the league. What makes things better for Rodgers and even more unfair for everyone else is that he's expected to get one of his top weapons back for 2016. Jordy Nelson is set to return from an ACL injury that he suffered in the preseason last summer.

Though stopping Rodgers is much easier said than done, it's not like Green Bay is unbeatable. The Packers went 4-5 down the stretch last season and easily could have gone 3-6 if not for a miracle Hail Mary touchdown against Detroit. They do have vulnerabilities on their roster.

Here’s a more in-depth look at the Packers from our SB Nation writers over at Acme Packing Company.

Notable free-agent additions:

  • TE Jared Cook

  • OLB Lerentee McCray

Notable free-agent departures:

  • CB Casey Hayward (Chargers)

  • DT B.J. Raji (retirement)

  • WR James Jones (FA)

  • QB Scott Tolzien (Colts)

  • FB John Kuhn (ascended to heaven)

Trades:

  • Packers send Nos. 57, 125 and 248 picks in 2016 draft to Colts for No. 48 pick (OT Jason Spriggs)

Draft picks expected to contribute as rookies:

  • DT Kenny Clark: With Raji retiring, Mike Pennel suspended for the first quarter of the season and Datone Jones moving to outside linebacker, the team expects Clark to play a lot early on, likely as the starting nose tackle or five-tech.

  • ILB Blake Martinez: With Clay Matthews moving back to outside linebacker, veteran Sam Barrington and rookie Blake Martinez will battle for the starting inside spot next to second-year man Jake Ryan. Head coach Mike McCarthy already praised Martinez for his minicamp work, particularly his coverage ability. With Barrington still recovering from last year's foot injury, Martinez holds the early lead. Even if he doesn't win the job, Martinez should play extensively in the nickel, dime and sub packages.

Biggest offseason addition:

  • DT Kenny Clark: While Jared Cook garnered plenty of attention given the Packers' offensive struggles last season, Clark should end up playing a more significant role in 2016 and in future years. If not immediately, Clark should at some point become the team's new starter at nose tackle, a critical position in Dom Capers' defense.

Biggest storyline heading into training camp:

  • Eddie Lacy's weight loss: After playing most of the 2015 campaign visibly out of shape, Lacy has worked this offseason to remodel his body. Though hardly svelte, the running back looks closer to his 2013-14 figure. If his production can also return to form, the Packers offense should avoid the inconsistencies it dealt with most of last season.

Under-the-radar storyline heading into training camp:

  • Defensive line depth: Mike Daniels and Letroy Guion have carved out niches along the defensive front, but the other starting spot as well as the depth behind them remains unsettled. Mike Pennel could become the starter at the five-tech once he returns from suspension, but until then the Packers have to decide between fourth-round rookie Dean Lowry, Datone Jones (who has mainly moved to an outside linebacker role) and a mostly faceless group of undrafted rookies and second-year players.

Notable injuries heading into training camp:

  • Jared Cook's foot surgery: Just added this offseason as a street free agent, Jared Cook has already undergone surgery on his foot. Though he has expressed confidence that the situation should resolve itself by training camp, the offense could endure some hardships if his injury lingers. The Packers don't have another tight end with both his experience and athleticism on the roster, and they need as many big bodies capable of exploiting the middle of the field as possible.

  • Jordy Nelson's knee: The Packers expects Nelson to return by the start of training camp, but after missing all of 2015 the team has taken a very cautious approach (you likely won't see him in the Hall of Fame game in August).