Monday, November 17, 2014

Recap: Packers Rout Eagles 53 to 20

I was expecting a tougher game from the Eagles, but the Packers brought their "A game" while the Eagles must have left it back in Philly.
This two game stretch, with blowout wins against the Bears and Eagles, reminds me of the 2010 season (Super Bowl year!) when the Packers crushed the Cowboys and Vikings in consecutive home games and both teams fired their head coaches after the game (Wade Phillips and Brad Childress). Though I think Chip Kelly is safe (I'm not sure about Trestman).

I thought the Eagles would have some success, as I wrongly thought about the Bears too, pressuring QB Aaron Rodgers up the middle. Though LG Josh Sitton and RG T.J. Lang are unable to practice with their toe and ankle injuries, they're showing no signs of pain during the game. The Eagles couldn't get any pressure on him and their cornerbacks couldn't cover the Packers's receivers in single coverage. Aaron Rodgers is proving that when he has time to throw and his receivers are getting a step ahead of their defenders, he's unstoppable.

The move of Clay Matthews inside has seemed to rejuvenated him, though some of his biggest plays actually came when he was lined up outside. Instead of crashing down the line on one running play, he read the QB rollout for a sack, and forced a field goal attempt. On another play, he read Mark Sanchez on a pass out to the left flat and knocked it down even though Sanchez tried a pump fake. Matthews hadn't been making big plays like those earlier this season. Adding the true Claymaker to Julius Peppers's great season, along with their play making cornerbacks (Tramon Williams and Casey Hayward), has helped turn an inconsistent defense into a dominate unit over the past two weeks. Lets hope they can keep it up.

The Packers host three division leaders in their last three home games (Patriots, Lions and Falcons-I know the Falcons suck, but they lead their division) and I expect the Packers to be favored in all of those games. The Patriots are certainly capable of matching the Packers toe-to-toe, but that's the least important of these anyway since an AFC match-up has no bearing on playoff tiebreakers. On the road, where the Packers have struggled this year, they'll face three teams unlikely to make the playoffs (Vikings, Bills and Buccaneers). It's a manageable schedule and they'll be favored in all of those games.

The Packers pushed themselves into the discussion of whether they're the best team in the NFL, but more importantly they've moved themselves into a playoff spot because of Seattle's loss in Kansas City. With a 7-3 record in hand, a manageable upcoming schedule has made their path to the playoffs clear.

No comments: