Packers at Eagles: Gameday Preview - 2022 Week 12

The Packers aren't dead (mathematically speaking) - will the Eagles finish them off tonight?

The last time the Eagles faced the Packers was just a couple year ago, when Jalen Hurts was a rookie. It was the last game before he took over as a starter. He took over for Carson Wentz and flashed his athleticism and passing ability in a 30-16 loss that was more one-sided than the final score indicated. The Packers were on their way to the #1 seed in the NFL, while the Eagles finished the year with the fewest wins in the conference.

A lot has changed since then. 

WHEN THE EAGLES HAVE THE BALL

Jalen Hurts has become a leading MVP candidate with his rare combination of rushing ability and passing prowess.

His balance reflects the overall balance of an Eagles team that ranks 4th in points and 5th in yards. They've thrown the fewest interceptions in the league and have more rushing touchdowns than anyone.

Hurts has the luxury of throwing to AJ Brown, DeVonta Smith, and Dallas Goederdt, who all have more receiving yards than anyone on the Packers. They will be a handful to cover and won't be stopped by a soft zone.

The passing game gets a lot of credit, but running back Miles Sanders is a huge part of Philadelphia's offense as well. He has similar yardage total as Aaron Jones, with three times as many touchdowns, and zero fumbles.

The Eagles have one of the most productive offenses in the league and the Packers defense is without its best player in Rashan Gary, while reigning All Pro De'Vondre Campbell is doubtful to play.

Is there hope?

Maybe. 

The Eagles started the season on fire, but have cooled off lately. Last week, they needed a last minute touchdown to beat the Colts by 1. The week before, they lost to the Commanders by two scores. The 38 combined points they put up in those games was their lowest scoring two game stretch of the year. They had 18 first downs each game - the only two times they've had fewer than 20 all year.

So what gives? How did these two less-than-premier teams slow the Eagles down?

In a word: turnovers.

The Eagles only turned the ball over 3 times in their first 8 games. Then they turned it over 6 times in their last 2.

The rest of it was perseverance. These games were grinds where the Eagles didn't get a lot of big plays or big 3rd down conversions.

There's no secret plan to slowing down a great offense. All the Packers can do it play great defense. They need to play tight on the back end, aggressive up front, and go after the ball.

Jalen Hurts is a great young quarterback, but he's still young and can be tricked with coverages and savvy veteran ballhawks like Rasul Douglas. Grabbing an opportune takeaway or two might be the only way this defense can keep up.

 

WHEN THE PACKERS HAVE THE BALL

Is Aaron Rodgers's thumb broken? Is that what's holding the offense back? Has a long week off given him enough time to heal? 

Christian Watson has emerged as a big time play maker and the Packers will need him to come up big against a top defense. Randall Cobb is working his way back into form and can get more space underneath when Watson draws coverage. But Romeo Doubs is out again and the offense is playing against a stacked deck.

Taking out their mulligan against the Commanders, the Eagles are giving up less than 15 points per game over their last 8 games. Oh, and last week, they picked up Ndamukong Suh and Linval Joseph to bolster an already stout defensive front.

Defensive lineman Javon Hargrave and linebacker Hassan Reddick are both ranked in the top 15 in sacks

Both Eagles starting cornerbacks, Darius Slay and James Bradbury, have 3 interceptions, while safety CJ Gardner-Johnson has 6. They attack the quarterback and force interceptions.

They do, however, give up some rushing yards, ranking only 19th in that department.

Now, stop me if this sounds familiar, but the Packers best chance of winning is to lean on the run to neutralize the pass rush and keep the Eagles offense off the field. Then, they can take their shots downfield and lean on emerging star Christian Watson.

However they approach it, everything starts up front. With the Packers offensive line ailing all year, holding up against an upgraded Philadelphia front might be their biggest challenge of the season.

 

FINAL THOUGHTS

The Packers have a lot of talent on this roster.

The Eagles have more.

We've watched the Packers play down to competition and up to competition, but at this point, we have a pretty good idea of what they are. A middling team that makes games interesting, but usually can't seal the deal.

I don't see them getting blown out. I expect they'll make enough plays to hang around and keep it reasonably interesting, but in the end, we can start thinking about draft picks and arguing about it Jordan Love should start the rest of the season.

Packers 16, Eagles 24

 

Bruce Irons has played, coached, and studied football for decades. Best-selling author of books such as A Fan's Guide To Understanding The NFL Draft, A Fan's Guide To Understanding The NFL Salary Cap, and A Fan's Guide To NFL Free Agency Hits And Misses, Bruce contributes to CheeseHeadTV and PackersForTheWin.com.

Follow Bruce Irons on Twitter at @BruceIronsNFL.

 

1 points

Comments (9)

Fan-Friendly This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.
Mr_Bill_H's picture

November 27, 2022 at 06:43 am

It being a Paker game it will likely come down to the last play win or lose.

-2 points
1
3
croatpackfan's picture

November 27, 2022 at 07:03 am

I agree with your view, Bruce. Nothing to add or discuss about.

0 points
1
1
NickPerry's picture

November 27, 2022 at 08:18 am

The weather in Philadelphia is supposed to be windy and wet. If I was Philly I'd run the ball, run the ball, and then run the ball some more. Then on those downs the Packers actually get them to 3rd and 7, I can see it already. They'll send everyone deep and Hurts will take off and run for 25 yards. Walker MUST be able to hand with Hurts and not get fooled.

Now, do you suppose MLF could get Rodgers to run the ball too?

2 points
2
0
mrtundra's picture

November 27, 2022 at 08:19 am

Packers 20 Eagles 17. Packers eke out a win, on a walk off FG, by Crosby.

3 points
4
1
beautiful_mystery's picture

November 27, 2022 at 08:58 am

If I see another 4th and 26 conversion by Philly...I just might sob, uncontrollably. We need to show Philly we are Special...

For some reason, it feels eerily like the 80s again this morning. I am younger, have a bounce in my step, have hickeys, cranking the stereo to I Ran by a Flock of Seagulls. We got this boys!

1 points
1
0
fangirl's picture

November 27, 2022 at 09:28 am

Packers have a weak Defense--why do we think that will change after 11 weeks?
I'm usually an optimist but I do not see adequate coaching, player accountability/execution, play-making yet.

I do exempt Walker (for effort), Enagbare, Ford (effort), Douglass, MacDuffie (effort) but those guys are not big enough, mean enough,
strong enough.

I'm waiting to see Jaire to refuse to tackle, Savage to do nothing (he should not be out there.period), Amos (little impact), Lowery???,
Clark and Smith to be underwhelming.

Rodgers is going to have to use all of his skills, throw repeatedly to Watson/Toure, Cobb; Tonyan produces little and Lazard seems off. There is NO margin for error and that is not sustainable.
GB just doesn't have the offensive horses compared to most teams. They have the Defensive horses but they refuse to play.

-1 points
1
2
Lphill's picture

November 27, 2022 at 09:35 am

The Eagles have not been blowing anyone out , some close games in most cases .

2 points
2
0
Slim11's picture

November 27, 2022 at 03:41 pm

If Watson continues to improve AND the Eagles respect his threat, things might open up for Tonyan and the rest of the WR group. Equally important is the running game. The Packers can’t give up on the run especially if Watson is having early success.

0 points
0
0
sillyletter's picture

November 27, 2022 at 10:35 pm

Things could change for Tonyan and the rest of the WR group if Watson keeps getting better AND the Eagles respect his threat.

0 points
0
0