Making Friends with the Enemy: Green Bay Packers
The Eagles will be playing the Green Bay Packers this Sunday at the historic Lambeau Field. However, Green Bay will be without it’s leader in Pro Bowler Aaron Rodgers. Can home field advantage help the Pack survive?
To find out, we spoke with enemy turned friend Matt Stein who is the very knowledgeable Lead Columnist for the Packers over at Bleacher Report. Feel free to check out his stuff here to get an even better idea of the Packers or simply follow him on Twitter @MatthewJStein.
And now, cheese…meet steak.
1. The Packers had the top ranked defense in 2011, but have since slipped to 22nd in 2012 and are currently ranked 18th. How much have injuries impacted the D and where do they need to improve most?
When you’ve missed players like Clay Matthews, Casey Hayward and Morgan Burnett for a good chunk of the season, I’d say it’s fare to blame injuries for some of the issues surrounding the Packers defense. However, that isn’t the only issue that Green Bay has.
It needs to become a better at getting pressure on quarterbacks and creating turnovers before it will ever get back to being a top-ranked defense. The lack of pass rush and the fact that the Packers only have three interceptions on the season is extremely troubling.
Until these issues are fixed, injuries can only take part of the blame for the struggles.
2. Jermichael Finley, who seemed like a malcontent at times, is finishing his current contract on IR. Will the Packers allow him to hit free agency?
This is probably the toughest decision the Packers will have to make this year. On one hand, Finley did look much improved and more committed this year than he has in past years. However, it’s unknown what his spinal cord injury will do for the rest of the career.
I think the decision will ultimately be made before Week 17 rolls around. If Finley has completely recovered and is mentally ready to come back to football next year, we could see the Packers sign him to a cheap one-year deal. However, if he is still struggling to get back to full strength, the Packers will likely let him test free agency.
3. Who is the best player on the Packers that no one knows about?
Cornerback Sam Shields.
He’s been overshadowed in past seasons by Charles Woodson and Tramon Williams. Even Casey Hayward made more noise as a rookie last year than Shields did.
However, Shields has been absolutely fantastic this year with Williams struggling and Hayward fighting to get completely healthy. He completely shutdown A.J. Green back in Week 3 and had similar success against another talented receiver in Josh Gordon.
He’s become the lock-down cornerback for the Packers that no one is talking about.
4. The Eagles have been on an awful home losing streak (0-10) going back to last season, but the Packers have been phenomenal going 25-4 since the 2010 season. How much of a factor do you think Lambeau Field is in helping out the home team?
I don’t think there is a home-field advantage quite like the one that takes place in Green Bay. Ever since Brett Favre was quarterback, the Packers have had great success at home.
It’s almost like the players on the Packers roster take greater pride playing in a stadium with so much football history. Of course, it also helps to have the stadium absolutely silent while you have the ball and exploding with noise when the opposing team is trying to snap it, but that’s what makes Lambeau Field so great.
5. There’s been an endless debate over the ability of Nick Foles here in Philly. How do you as an outside eye value him as an NFL passer?
I think anytime a quarterback throws for seven touchdowns in a game you have to take notice.
Is he the long-term answer in Philadelphia? I honestly don’t know, but it’d be hard to see him getting benched for the remainder of this season outside of an injury. Foles’ play has been solid in every game he’s played in.
He’s got the physical tools and mental makeup to be a productive NFL quarterback and I think he’ll definitely be starting somewhere in 2014.
6. Star quarterback Aaron Rodgers will probably sit out this week with a broken collarbone, which means Seneca Wallace will start. How much does that change the offensive approach for this week?
Rodgers was everything on offense to the Packers, so there is going to be a big change of plans for Green Bay offensively.
Look for the Packers to run the ball early and often with the combination of Eddie Lacy and James Starks. We’ll also probably see shorter passes from Seneca Wallace when Green Bay decides to throw the ball.
7. What do you see as a key match-up for Sunday’s game?
The Eagles defensive line vs. the Packers running backs.
If Philadelphia can slow down the run game for Green Bay, it will come away with an easy win. The Packers simply can’t rely on the arm of Wallace to win this game, so they need their running backs to have their best game of the season.
8. Who do you think will win?
As much as I hate to say this, I think the Eagles win this game.
The Packers defense was horrid last week and the Eagles have such a dynamic offense that it scares me. They put 49 points on the board last week and it wouldn’t be surprising to see them drop another 49 this week.
The only way the Packers can win this game is if they keep the score in the low 20’s. If they can do that, they could sneak away with a win.
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Posted on November 9, 2013, in Contributors and Guest Articles, Eagles, Posts, Vince Quinn and tagged aaron Rodgers, Clay Matthews, Eagles, Eddie Lacy, Green Bay, James starks, Lambeau Field, Morgan Burnett, Nick Foles, Packers, Sam shields, Tramon williams. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.