Eagles-Packers Preview: Part 1
This Sunday evening, the NFC East Champions take the field at Lincoln Financial Field, there is much at stake for both teams. The Green Bay Packers are in town and recently have been playing like the Super Bowl contender they were picked to be in preseason polls. The Eagles will have to bring their best game in all facets to move on to the divisional round. Over the next few days, I will break down each unit of the team (offense, defense, special teams and coaches) and on Saturday will predict the winner. Today is a look at the offense.
Philadelphia on Offense
When the Eagles have the ball, it all starts with the offensive line. Probably their biggest weakness in the preseason continues to be problematic during the season. You know you’ve got offensive line issues when the favorite statistic during a Philadelphia Eagles broadcast is, how often Michael Vick takes a big hit. Aside from Todd Herremans and Jason Peters, this unit is living down to its expectations. Something I have noticed throughout the season, however, is that when Andy Reid decides to commit to the running game early, the offensive line tends to get into a groove.
Michael Vick is the next key here. Is he really close to 100% with that quad injury? If so, he’ll need to use his legs to give himself time and to keep the Packers honest. A healthy and sharp Vick, aside from the O-line, is the major X-factor in this match-up.
A few other things to watch when the Eagles have the ball:
* LeSean McCoy – Can he pick up the blitz, and make the most of his touches? The Packers are 18th against the run, so if McCoy provides a spark with his limited touches early, it might convince Andy Reid to keep coming back to it later
- Eagles WR’s vs. Packers top 5 secondary – Can DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin get open down the field? If not, Vick will need to check down to Brent Celek (when he’s not helping out the line), McCoy and Jason Avant
- Turnovers – The Eagles have been giving the ball away too often the last few weeks. In the playoffs, those mistakes hurt more. They’ll need to do a much better job of protecting the football
- Red Zone conversions – When they get down inside the 20, the Eagles need to score touchdowns this week. If they are unable to convert on red zone trips more often than not, we’ll be asking “what if” on Monday
The Eagles have the ability to put up points against any defense in the league. They should have no problem scoring 20 to 30 points this weekend.
Check back tomorrow for a look at the Eagles defensive units’ key matchups against the Green Bay offense.