I have this recurring dream that the Packers lose every game they play, and then I wake up in a deep sweat and realize that it’s not a dream. This nightmare can end anytime, please! Things won’t get any easier this week as the Packers take their 4-game losing streak into Philadelphia. We will be tackling three burning questions, two key match-ups, and one bold prediction. This is the Countdown to Kickoff.
3 Burning Questions
Can Christine Michael boost the run game?
With only one game featuring a 100+ yard rusher this season, this team is in desperate need of a solid run game. I mean, Aaron Rodgers has lead the team in rushing in 2 games this year! Christine Michael was having a solid year in Seattle, and that was even with a suspect offensive line. The Packers are going up against a stout defense, but the area to attack this defense is on the ground. With a balanced mix of speed and power, he has all the tools to be successful for the Packers. The Packers are counting on him to carry the load this season when they kept Eddie Lacy on the IR. It will take Michael a little bit of time to become familiar with the offense, but expect a groove to start this week in Philadelphia.
Can Clay Matthews return to form?
After returning from injury last week, Clay looked to be a non-factor for the most part. There is no reason why, at age 30, that Clay should not be at his peak. If the Packers have any chance at winning on Monday, they need to develop a pass rush. The first name that jumps to everyone’s mind is Clay Matthews. It’s highly possible the Blake Martinez will miss Monday’s game. And if that’s the case, Clay is going to be all over the field. With the ability to get to the quarterback from all gaps, Clay needs to capitalize.
Can the Packers secondary rebound?
Short staffed, virtually zero confidence, and a coaching staff that has seemingly run out of ideas, this could be the point of no return. Sam Shields will remain on the IR and Demetri Goodson is out for the year. There are a couple bright spots this week though. Damarious Randall returned to practice, and the Eagles wide receiving corps is very average. Dom Capers is fighting for a job the remainder of the year, and all eyes are on him. Going up against a rookie quarterback, the secondary will have to take advantage of errant throws and telegraphed passes.
2 Key Match-ups
Aaron Rodgers vs Eagles Defense
At this point in the season, Aaron Rodgers is the key to every Packers game. If he has an off day, forget about winning. If he is classic Aaron, he keeps them in the game. The Eagles have one of the top defenses in football. The Eagles defense gives up few yards, but all it takes is a few good drives this game to put the Packers in position to win. Aaron has been hot these last few weeks, and he has confidence that the Packers can turn things around. Quoted this week by saying he thinks the Packers can run the table, he needs to keep his game elevated for that to happen.
Packers Front Seven vs Allen Barbre
The Eagles offensive line is banged up. This has forced the Eagles to start ex-Packer Allen Barbre at Right Tackle. Barbre has not started a game at Right Tackle since week 1 of 2014. The Eagles offensive line has done a decent job of keeping Carson Wentz on his feet, but a change like this on the offensive line is something the Packers can take advantage of. Getting pressure on Wentz and getting the Eagles offense off the field is key.
1 Bold Prediction
Last week I was about as close as close can be, so I’m ready to improve to dead accurate.
This week is going to be the Ty Montgomery show. Christine Michael and James Starks will get their share of touches, but Montgomery will make his touches count. Lock him in for a stat line of 121 all-purpose yards and a touchdown.
Packers – 23
Eagles – 20