In a compelling Thursday night matchup, Carson Wentz and the Philadelphia Eagles look to turn things around after a 1-2 start with a trip to Lambeau Field for a matchup against Aaron Rodgers and the undefeated Green Bay Packers.
The Packers are 4-point home favorites for the game and the total is currently set at 46 for the primetime contest.
Here’s some background on the teams and advice on who to back in this one.
Injuries to Key Pass-Catchers, Drops Have Been Killing the Eagles
With a healthy Wentz and a strong core of talent, Philadelphia entered the year with massive expectations. However, a 1-2 start with losses to the Falcons and Lions was not how the Eagles drew it up. Philly has also been a very bad bet over that span, failing to cover in any of those games.
“You know, we’re not really looking at this as a bad spot,” Wentz told reporters. “We’re 1-2, yeah, but, you know, we have a lot of the season left. (There are) little things here and there in each game that we know we’re going to get corrected and we’re going to be in a good spot. And like I said, we’re excited Thursday night to go show what we can do and get going back in the win column.”
Wentz is completing 61% of his passes and has collected 803 yards, 6 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. He’s done a lot of that with a skeleton crew of wide receivers, with both Desean Jackson and Alshon Jeffery being banged up. The Eagles had eight drops last week and a pair of drops that were potential game-winners against both the Falcons and Lions.
“It’s part of the game. Guys are going to drop passes,” Wentz said. “We’re going to put the ball on the ground. I’m going to throw picks. We’re going to miss reads. Things happen. Guys make mistakes. Any time somebody drops a pass or something like that, I make sure I go right up to them and tell them it’s coming their way the next time and just try to keep building them up. Staying positive. Again, it’s frustrating. No one wants to make mistakes but there’s nothing you can really do about it. Just have to keep building those guys up.”
Barring a setback, Jeffrey is expected to play while Jackson is out.
Packers Beating Teams With Defense
The Packers are off to a 3-0 start — both straight up and against the spread — and surprisingly Green Bay has done it with defense. The offense, guided by two-time MVP QB Aaron Rodgers, is ranked 28th.
“We’ve never wanted to just manage the football game around here, so the standards are very high for us,” Rodgers said. “We gotta play a lot better on offense. We’ve played some good defenses, no doubt about it, but the standard and the expectations are very high here and we haven’t met them on offense. … At some point, we can’t expect our defense to shut everybody down. They have been. But at some point the offense is going to have to wake up and start making some plays.”
While he hasn’t put up his normal, mind-boggling numbers, Rodgers hasn’t been too shabby, passing for 647 yards, 4 touchdowns and no interceptions. But the defense has been the real story. The Packers unit first in the NFL in takeaways (8), second in scoring defense (11.7 PPG allowed).
“Moving forward, we’re going to play a stretch of really good football teams,” Rodgers said. “At some point, we can’t expect our defense to shut everybody down. They have been but, at some point, the offense is going to have to wake up and start making some plays.”
Eagles vs. Packers: Trends, Pick and Prediction
Here are some trends when it comes to the two teams, courtesy of Odds Shark.
- Both the UNDER and underdogs straight up are 3-0 on TNF this season.
- The Eagles are 0-6 ATS in their last 6 games in September.
- The Packers are 9-2 ATS in their last 11 home games in September.
The thought of the Packers having a defense to back up Aaron Rodgers is scary, albeit they haven’t been able to completely put it together yet. The home field edge, combined with the Eagles not being at 100% is more than enough reason to back the Pack.
Pick: Packers -4
Prediction: Packers 31, Eagles 24