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Packers’ defensive rebuild provides big test for the Eagles

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The Kist & Solak Show #124!

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Minnesota Vikings v Green Bay Packers Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

We’re mere hours away from a Thursday Night Showdown between the Philadelphia Eagles and a Green Bay Packers team that is 3-0 for unfamiliar reasons. Aaron Rodgers gets all the headlines, but the Eagles’ offense has a tough task ahead of them facing the Packers’ third ranked DVOA defense in their house.

Over the last four drafts, the Packers have had thirteen selections in first two days. They’ve spent ten of those on defensive players. You have to travel all the way back to the selection of offensive tackle Derek Sherrod in 2011 to find an offensive player selected by the pack in the first round. The focused on that side of the ball has culminated in a unit that is breaking out in 2019.

Defensive tackle Kenny Clark is among the best nose tackles in the league and will present a strong challenge to Jason Kelce. Clark is an elite run defender with violent hands and the play strength to stress Kelce’s technique and anchor. If Clark wins that battle in the middle, the Packers’ bear front will wreak havoc on the Eagles’ run game all night.

Cornerback Jaire Alexander is a ball magnet with a knack for making plays. Per Sports Info Solutions he leads the league in pass breakups (7) three weeks into the season. That’s not a new trend for Alexander, who was a top ten player on my big board coming out of college. As a rookie, Alexander had five breakups in a single game while covering the shifty and underrated Rams’ wide receiver Robert Woods last year. Throwing his way seems less than ideal as he’s only allowed 9 receptions on 21 targets with a 58.8 QB rating. PFF believes he’s well on his way to being a true shutdown corner.

Keeping it with first rounders, the Packers have seemed to strike gold on another favorite of mine. With the 21st overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, the Packers selected the nasty and rangy safety Darnell Savage Jr. out of Maryland. Some questioned his ability to contribute early as a deep safety - and he’s yet to be tested in that regard - but his ability to make plays in the intermediate and short areas of the field have been a boon for Green Bay.

If there’s one highly selected player that has not panned out for the Packers so far, it’s cornerback Kevin King. The 33rd overall selection in the 2017 NFL Draft has been abused at the release point while missing five tackles already this season. There are rumblings among those that cover the team that 2018 second round pick Josh Jackson could push King for starting reps if his struggles continue. If the Eagles’ can take advantage of King’s weaknesses, it could happen sooner than later.

We break down this defense even more and of course cover the offense, specific match-ups, and give our predictions on The Kist & Solak Show #124! Listen on the media player below or click here if the player doesn’t load. New to podcasts?! Check out our guide on how to listen to BGN! FLY EAGLES FLY!