Going into Sunday’s matchup against the Green Bay Packers the Eagles were riding high after one of their better performances of the season against the Carolina Panthers on Monday Night Football. But the buzz saw known as Aaron Rodgers was waiting for the Eagles at Lambeau Field. The game was billed as a possible NFC Championship matchup. In fact FOX ended up flexing the game from an original start time of 1 pm to 4:25 pm kickoff in order to get a national audience. It didn’t matter though because by about 5:30 pm the game was all but lost for the Eagles.
All week leading up to the game I didn’t have a good feeling about the Eagles. I thought we’d lose but I wasn’t expecting a blowout like that. My original thinking had the Eagles losing by about 10-14 points. But Aaron Rodgers is probably playing some of the best QB’ing we’ve ever seen in the NFL in recent years. I don’t think it would have mattered who was out there on defense on Sunday for the Eagles it’s just impossible to stop Rodgers right now. The 53-20 drubbing at the hands of the Packers almost seems like a generous score. It could have possibly been worse for the Eagles.
I don’t even know where to begin when it comes to analysis but let’s dive in. Many people around the Delaware Valley were quick to point the finger at Mark Sanchez for the struggles of the offense. Yes I agree, Sanchez did not have his best game and I expected more coming off such a strong performance against Carolina. Sanchez finished the game going 26-44 for 346 yards and 2 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. Those numbers are decent, not bad, but not stellar enough to beat a team like Green Bay especially when you throw 2 interceptions. But I don’t blame Sanchez for Sunday. Any QB in the NFL can only do so much when he isn’t getting help from his offensive line.
As far as I’m concerned I place the blame squarely on the offensive line for Sundays struggles. Some would also say LeSean McCoy and the running game were to blame. They certainly play a part in it. McCoy finished with 88 yards on 23 carries. Darren Sproles, who clearly isn’t being utilized as much as he was earlier in the season ran for 21 yards on 2 carries, his longest being a 13 yarder, his other run was for 8 yards. Sproles needs to touch the ball more plain and simple. When he touches the ball electrifying things happen with the Eagles offense. McCoy also had some opportunities on Sunday. I’ve ripped McCoy this year for not running hard but no matter how hard you run if the offensive line can’t block and open holes for you it doesn’t matter who’s at running back. Clearly right now the offensive line is going through some struggles and in order for this offense to get back on track it starts and ends with the offensive line.
The defense was a complete disaster right from the get- go Sunday. We all knew Aaron Rodgers was going to use a hard count to try and draw the Eagles offside and guess what; he did it and it worked. The Eagles on multiple occasions jumped offside when Rodgers was under center. I knew Rodgers would have a big day and the defense would struggle but for them to play as bad as they did shows me they still are light years away from being a Super Bowl winning defense. They struggled big time to get off the field on 3rd down. Early in the game the Packers had a 3rd and 18 which they converted for a first down. If you can’t get off the field on 3rd down you can’t succeed as a defense.
Rodgers exploited the Eagles defense like no one else had this season. The pass rush was non- existent on Sunday, a week after they recorded 9 sacks against Cam Newton and the Panthers. I thought the pass rush would be a strength for the Eagles Sunday but instead it never even got on the plane to Green Bay. Caught in the cross hairs of Aaron Rodgers wrath was cornerback Bradley Fletcher. He’s been up and down all season but Fletcher has never looked as bad as he did on Sunday. Matched up against Packers wide receiver Jordy Nelson it was clear Nelson overmatched Fletcher in a big way and Rodgers knew that. He picked on Fletcher play after play with ease.
When you look at the records both Green Bay and Philadelphia are 7-3. The Eagles still are very much alive in the hunt for home field advantage and a first round bye in the playoffs. There’s still a lot of football to be played as well including 2 huge games against Dallas and a game against the defending champion Seattle Seahawks in Philly. But for whatever reason after that loss to Green Bay you get the feeling this Eagles team just isn’t ready to compete with the elite of the NFL just yet. Last season they took a beating to Denver. So far this season they’ve lost to the 49ers, Cardinals, and now Packers. Chip Kelly for whatever reason struggles as a coach against these upper echelon teams. The only legit team I’ve seen them beat this year was back in week 2 against the Colts and even they are a team that’s struggling to stay afloat in the postseason race now. I hope I’m wrong but I just don’t see this team ready for a Super Bowl run just yet. If they do manage to get home field advantage in the playoffs and have to face Green Bay in Philly I think they have a shot to win but even with the home field advantage I’m not so sure.
At the end of the day the Eagles are 7-3, tied with Green Bay and 2 games behind Arizona for the best record in the NFC. Can the Eagles win the NFC East and clinch a possible first round bye and maybe even home field advantage throughout the playoffs? Yes they can. Will they? That remains to be seen. As far as I’m concerned though this team is constructed to win 1 playoff game at best, which is an improvement from last season. A lot of football fans around the Delaware Valley had high aspirations of a Super Bowl coming into this season, and yes, anything is possible, but, at the end of the day if the Eagles reach the post-season and win a game, that’s an improvement from last season. Next up the Eagles will face the Tennessee Titans who have been awful all season. I worry this game could be a trap game for the Eagles as they look ahead to a huge Thanksgiving day showdown against Dallas. If the Eagles manage to focus on the Titans they should win which will set us all up for a big turkey day game. Let’s see how it all plays out as we head down the home stretch of the NFL season here in Philly.