Every week during the season, we’ll scout out the Eagles next opponent. This week, that opponent is the Green Bay Packers.
The Opponent: The Green Bay Packers, a.k.a. the Pack, a.k.a. Favre’s Ex-Girlfriends, a.k.a. Aaron Rodgers and the Baron von Gothchilds.
The Line: Packers by 3. All the preseason hype surrounding Aaron Rodgers and company was enough to make them road favorites against a 2009 playoff team. Eagles fans, this development should please you immensely.
Last Year: 11-5. The Packers were a playoff team, but were done in by breakdowns along their offensive line and a complete collapse of their defense against Arizona in the playoffs.
The Coach:Mike McCarthy. I swear to you, Mike McCarthy is totally the little fat kid from “Up.” Throw a Boy Scout uniform on him and stand him next to a short old man, and you’ll be weeping like Pixar’s little puppet for hours.
The Offense: Oh, it’s quite good. This was the best looking offense during the NFL preseason. It was also the best looking offense in the NFL LAST preseason. Aaron Rodgers is more than adept at getting the ball around to everyone on the field, so much so that wideout Greg Jennings was actually something of a disappointment last year. Tight end Jermichael Finley is healthy and prepared to dominate, and running back Ryan Grant is just useful enough to make the running attack dangerous. The question remains protection. No QB in football was sacked more times than Aaron Rodgers last year. Blame for those fifty sacks rests on an o-line that suffered injury after injury during the year, but Rodgers also deserved some blame for holding the ball too long, a bad habit he began to kick toward the end of the year. Tackles Chad Clifton and Mark Tauscher return to help keep Rodgers clean, and you only needed to look at Bryan Bulaga on draft day this year to know he’ll be a Packer o-line mainstay for the next zillion years. But if those tackles fail to stay healthy again, Rodgers can be had.
The Defense: It’s hard to explain the Packers defense. Statistically, they were #2 in the league last year, and they boast the reigning DPOY in Charles Woodson. All that said, they were awful against Arizona in January. They also led their old QB strafe them in two games in 2009 as well. Aaron Kampman, criminally misused, is gone to Jacksonville, and there’s little in the way of pass rush to make up for his old production. You can pass on the Packers, and Andy Reid won’t be shy about trying.
Key Matchup: Al Harris vs. Jeremy Maclin. With Woodson on DeSean Jackson, Kevin Kolb will be looking Maclin’s way a lot. Time for the second year pro to make good.