Sep. 23, 2016
Packers Week 12 Preview
So, there is a lot to be said about the Packers right now. At the same time, as things stand, they are in 14th place in the NFC, and that alone should say enough for a supposedly Super Bowl Contender. Winning doesn't last forever, as even the Patriots will find a downfall at some point within ten years. The Lombardi era was less than a decade, and although it gave the Packers five championships in that time, it ultimately led to about 20 years of losing. The good news, we still have Aaron Rodgers, and hopefully he isn't going anywhere anytime soon. The bad news, however, is that with this kind of a disappointing season, changes are coming.
I'm not going to be talking too much about what changes should or should not happen down the road heading into the offseason barring a miraculous stretch, I'm going to talk about the Monday Night Football game this week in Philadelphia. Philadelphia has had a better season than many expected, going 5-5 (although still last in the NFC East) with the defense as well as rookie QB Carson Wentz exceeding expectations. A win by the Eagles Monday will probably end the Packers season, and it is vital that the Green Bay defense can find a way to stop the Eagles enough so Aaron Rodgers can work his magic.
To start off with an injury report, the Eagles are missing some pieces. RT Lane Johnson is in the middle of his 10 game suspension, and the top two running backs for the Eagles, Darren Sproles and Ryan Mathews, both are banged up and are questionable for Monday. On defense, nickel corner Leodis McKelvin, defensive end Connor Barwin and little used safety Terrence Brooks are all questionable too. CB Ron Brooks is on IR, and he is the only player of note their. As far as Packers' injuries are concerned, we already know way too many people are on IR. The offensive line and middle linebackers are the new victims of the injury bug, with C JC Tretter out, ILB Jake Ryan and G TJ Lang likely out, and ILB Blake Martinez and OL Don Barclay are both questionable. CB Demetri Goodson is out, and CB Damarious Randall is finally only questionable, although he probably won't play either.
As far as the defense is concerned, Joe Thomas is the only natural ILB on the roster who remains completely healthy, so who will start next to him is a big question. Ryan and Martinez are the team's leading tacklers, and without them it can cause problems against the Eagles. However, the injuries to the Eagles' running game might be able to help neutralize it and allow the Packers to still find ways to stop the run effectively. If I were Doug Pederson, though, I wouldn't even bother running the ball, and never stop throwing it until the Packers' corners learn how to stop the deep ball, and pretty much everything else. This offense is containable though, even with this banged up defense, since it is only a rookie QB and a banged up backfield. This is the Packers last chance to get the defense back on track.
When it comes to the offense, the Eagles' cornerback situation is similar to the Packers, although I can't imagine them being in a worse situation. Without Leodis McKelvin, Nolan Carroll is the only remaining member of their top three corners, which can cause problems with the Packers trio of Nelson, Cobb and Adams. The Eagles still have a good defense, solid players and an above average pass rush, but they've overachieved so far this season and Aaron Rodgers should be able to carve up this defense provided the line holds together. The Packers also will activate new running back Christine Michael who was claimed from Seattle, and he has had a nice season with 469 yards and six touchdowns, so he should be helpful to some extent.
All in all, this is the last chance the Packers really have to get back on track if they want to keep pace in the NFC North, as either the Vikings or Lions are guaranteed to win this week since they play each other. A loss in Philadelphia means they are three games back of one and two of the other, and passing both in five weeks is almost impossible. I never thought I would be saying anything like that this season, but I did, and I still believe that the Packers can find a way to win a game. I'm going with Green Bay here with the season on the line, and a final score of Green Bay 28, Philadelphia 25.