It seems like it's been quite a while since luck was on the Philadelphia Eagles' side. Philly's offense was ravaged by injuries last season, and there was that whole Dream Team thing that backfired the year before.
But the Eagles seem to have luck in their corner right now. Not only are they fortunate enough to be just a game out of first place despite a somewhat rough start as they transition to a new offense and defense, but just as they're warming up on both sides of the ball, they get to play a Green Bay Packers team that is without its starting quarterback.
Aaron Rodgers is out with a fractured collarbone, which means that instead of facing the highest-rated quarterback in NFL history on Sunday, that Philadelphia defense will get Seneca Wallace. With Dallas in tough with New Orleans and Washington already losing this week, the Eagles could have a chance to make a statement against a shorthanded opponent.
You know that age-old process in which fans mark Ws and Ls on the schedule when it's released in the spring? Well I can guarantee you that most Eagles supporters—at least the half-realistic ones—had this road game down as a loss. It would be a nice bonus if they could take advantage of an elite but wounded team Sunday.
Here's our final breakdown of the matchup from the Eagles' standpoint, along with a prediction...
What Philly must do to win, offensive edition
Emphasize the hell out of LeSean McCoy. Yeah, Nick Foles is hot, but the Packers have a strong pass rush and they'll have Clay Matthews back in the linebacking corps. In order to keep Foles rolling, they have to take the pressure off, especially early. Green Bay has a strong run defense, too, which is why Philly has to flex its screen game a lot early.
What Philly must do to win, defensive edition
Avoid underestimating a running game that is averaging 5.0 yards per carry. Eddie Lacy's been one of the best backs in the league of late and is coming off a 150-yard performance. That front seven and those safeties sometimes struggle with their tackling, so the Eagles have to clamp down on Lacy.
Five most important non-quarterbacks
Jason Peters and Lane Johnson: Again, that Packers pass rush is strong and Matthews could be ready to dominate in his return. Those main pass protectors can't let Foles become rattled, especially early.
Fletcher Cox: He's become the best player on this defense, so he'll have to lead the charge against Lacy.
DeMeco Ryans: Some support from their top run-defending linebacker wouldn't hurt.
|NFL's top rushers since Week 5|
|1. Eddie Lacy||Packers||545||4.6|
|2. Zac Stacy||Rams||471||4.6|
|3. Jamaal Charles||Chiefs||436||4.4|
|Pro Football Reference|
Injury analysis, Eagles edition
Here's the other reason why the Eagles have been lucky. Michael Vick's hamstring is still hurting, but Foles is the starter now anyway. The only other significant injury is to cornerback Bradley Fletcher, who is questionable with a pectoral injury. His absence wouldn't likely be a game-changer.
Injury analysis, Packers edition
We all know that Rodgers is out, but guard T.J. Lang is also questionable with a concussion while Nick Perry could have to miss another week with that foot injury. He's also questionable. Matthews will be back, though, which helps. Still, this Green Bay team is in rough shape.
B/R NFC East blog prediction: Eagles 27, Packers 23
The Eagles are healthy and riding a wave of momentum for a matchup with the injury-riddled Packers, who are also on short rest.