The Green Bay Packers face one of the top teams in the NFL as they head to Philadelphia to take on the 9-1 Eagles in a primetime matchup. The Packers, coming off an embarrassing home loss to the Tennessee Titans last Thursday, get a mini bye-week and plenty of time to recover and prepare for this tough matchup. While the Packers run defense played well against a Derrick Henry lead rushing attack, their passing defense was absolutely abused as Ryan Tannehill took full advantage of the Packers soft zone coverage playcalling. The Packers defense will have their hands full as they will have to contain the dual threat Jalen Hurts and hold one of the better wide receiver duos in AJ Brown and Devonta Smith in check.
Offensively, the Packers could not follow up on the impressive performance against the Dallas Cowboys and struggled against the Titans defense thanks to the inability to get the run game going. The Eagles defense is in the middle of the pack in terms of rush yards per game, giving up 122.2 YPG. The Eagles pass defense is second in the league, giving up a mere 178.4 passing YPG to opposing quarterbacks. Despite a standout performance from Christain Watson the past two weeks, with how unreliable the passing game has been, expect the Packers to lean heavily into the run game once again. If the Packers can get the run game going and keep the high powered Eagles offense off the field, they have a chance to play upset tonight.
Six years ago, the Green Bay Packers sat at 4-6 and traveled to Philadelphia to take on the Eagles in what would be a dominant performance by the Packers and the first of eight wins in a row for the Packers as they ran the table and made the NFC Championship game. Does Rodgers and the Packers have any magic left in them? Or will the Packers suffer another devastating loss in a season that is all but lost?
The first quarter was a rollercoaster of emotions for everyone watching. Jalen Hurts ran all over the Packers to the tune of 103 rushing yards. Hurts took the first drive down the field to set up an easy touchdown by Kenneth Gainwell to go up 7-0 early. A tipped interception on the Packers first offensive drive would pave the way for yet another Eagles touchdown, this time by Miles Sanders. A missed extra point would set the Eagles up 13-0 a mere six minutes into the game. At this point many assumed we were in for another long night, but the Packers came alive, driving down the field on their next drive and an AJ Dillon 20 yard touchdown would get the Packers on the board 7-13. Back-to-back beautiful defensive stops on 3rd and 4th and short would give the Packers the ball back, and Rodgers would capitalize, ending the drive with a strike to Randall Cobb for the touchdown to go up 14-13. The Eagles would respond with another long drive and another Sanders touchdown at the beginning of the second quarter gave the Eagles the lead yet again 20-14.
The following drive for the Packers would end with Rodgers getting baited for an interception, and just when it looked like the Eagles would once again go up two scores, Rudy Ford would force a fumble, and Quay Walker would take it all the way to the Eagles redzone, setting up a short field for the offense. The offense would deliver as Rodgers would find Jones in the endzone for a touchdown, but a missed extra point would keep the game locked at 20. The two teams would trade punts, but the Eagles would once again go up a score after Hurts finds Quez Watkins for the touchdown, putting the Eagles up 27-20 just before the half. A high scoring affair on Sunday Night Football.
In typical Green Bay Packers fashion, they only showed up for one half and were beaten down in the second half. The defense was non-existent in the second half, letting up another 13 points to let up a whopping 40 on the night. The offense would only muster a field goal in the third quarter and all looked lost when Rodgers would head to the locker room after suffering an oblique injury towards the end of the 3rd. The offense, under the command of Jordan Love, finally got things going with back-to-back scoring drives to keep the game close, but it wouldn’t be enough to overcome the deficit, and the Packers would suffer another defeat, losing 40-33 and dropping to 4-8 on the year, effectively ending the season, and any hopes at a playoff berth.
Players of the Game
Jordan Love came into the game in relief of an injured Aaron Rodgers and nearly amassed a comeback for the Packers. Going 6/9 for 113 yards, a touchdown, and a 146.8 passer rating, Love looked like a different quarterback than we’ve seen in the past. His decision making looked better, ball placement was great, and had few mistakes on the two drives we got to witness from him. If Rodgers is done for the year, there is some confidence to be had in how Jordan Love could play the rest of the year and for the future of the franchise.
Christain Watson: Watson has been one of the most consistent parts of the Packers offense the past couple weeks. Watson had yet another 100 yard performance and another touchdown to make six total in three games. The Love-to-Watson connection could be something special for years to come.
- Darnell Savage suffered a leg injury on the first drive of the game, limped off on his own power. He did not return.
- Aaron Rodgers went into the locker room late into the third quarter with an oblique injury. He did not return
- AJ Dillon suffered a leg injury, he did not return.
Yet another week of the Packers playing only one half of football, and getting completely shut down the other half. The offense, while still putting up 33 points, struggled and hurt themselves at too many crucial points in the game. Turnovers and dumb penalties didn’t help an already struggling defense and ultimately one of the bigger reasons the Packers lost the game.
The defense gave up an astronomical 363 rushing yards today, 157 to Jalen Hurts, 143 to Miles Sanders and 63 to other ball carriers. A whopping 7.4 yards per carry to go along with 3 rushing touchdowns, the Eagles offense simply had their way with the Packers defense. Rasul Douglas also had a poor game today, giving up a touchdown each to AJ Brown and Quez Watkins. The defense additionally could not tackle to save their life, their worst tackling display in weeks. The only brightside the defense had was an excellent back-to-back 3rd- and 4th-and-one stops and a 63 yard fumble recovery. The defense played terribly today and the scheming obviously hasn’t been working out either. The Packers NEED to let Joe Barry go, and find a better defensive coordinator. This defense simply has too much talent to be held back by poor scheming.
Out of the three levels of football, only one played great today: the special teams. Despite a missed extra point and a muff on the first kickoff return, the Packers special teams unit was on fire today. Keisean Nixon has completely taken over the return man role, and put the Packers offense in great field position on several occasions. There were a couple moments it seemed Nixon would break one off for a score. Nixon is a great returner for the Packers and has potential to be one of the better ones they’ve had in a while. Look for him to return a kick for a touchdown in the future.
While still mathematically in the playoff hunt, it’s highly improbable the Packers not only win out but get the help they need around the league to sneak into the playoffs with a 9-8 record. The loss of Rodgers doesn’t help those odds either. It’s in the best interest for the organization to have Jordan Love finish the year commanding the offense to see what he’s capable of doing. Worst case scenario he helps lose out and the Packers get a better draft pick to help strengthen the team for the future.
The Packers fall to 4-8 on the year as they head to Soldier Field next week to take on the Chicago Bears (3-9), in what is likely to be a tank bowl.