Eagles-Packers: Our (cough) expert predictions

Eagles-Packers: Our (cough) expert predictions
November 10, 2013, 8:00 am
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LeSean McCoy will be challenged by the Packers' fifth-ranked rush defense. (USA Today Images)

Despite expectations of a low-scoring, close game, the Eagles dominated the Raiders in Oakland last Sunday behind an NFL-record tying seven touchdown passes by Nick Foles (see last week's predictions).

How will they follow up their 49-20 outburst by the Bay? Our experts weigh in: 

Ray Didinger
How much difference does one player make? If that player is Aaron Rodgers, a lot. Before Rodgers hit the deck Monday night, the Eagles were anywhere from a 9-10-point underdog in this week's game. The sound of Rodgers' collarbone snapping echoed from Green Bay to Las Vegas and in a matter of minutes Packers-Eagles became a pick 'em proposition.

The Packers expect to have Rodgers back in four weeks so the other players will go into "hold-the-fort" mode and try to scratch out wins as best they can with a strong running game (Eddie Lacy and James Starks), some big plays on special teams (punt returner Micah Hyde is second in the league) and the return of Clay Matthews on defense (albeit with his broken thumb in a wrap). Coach Mike McCarthy will ask Rodgers' replacement, Seneca Wallace (6-15 as a starter), to do as little as possible.

The Packers still have the home-field advantage but the Eagles are a better team on the road. McCarthy will try to pound the ball and control the game with Lacy and Starks but the Eagles' defense has been pretty stout against the run. Rodgers' misfortune becomes the Eagles good fortune.

Eagles 17, Packers 13

Reuben Frank
Seneca Wallace is Seneca Wallace for a reason. Six wins in 21 starts pretty much says it all. I just don't see the Eagles losing to Seneca Wallace. The guy has started 21 games in his career and generated more than 19 points four times -- 21 twice, 23 once, 27 once. And the 27 was five years ago. Eddie Lacy is a beast, but I don't think he can beat the Eagles by himself, and I don't think Wallace can make enough plays to pick up the slack.

Eagles 27, Packers 19

Geoff Mosher
This much is certain: Nick Foles won't be throwing seven TD passes. The Eagles caught a big break by not having to face Aaron Rodgers and drawing career backup Seneca Wallace. Problem is, the Packers are pretty stout up front, and they're getting an All-Pro pass rusher back into the mix. It's unknown how effective Clay Matthews will be with his hand wrapped and held in place by a club, but it's safe to say Green Bay's defense won't roll out the red carpet for Foles the way Oakland's did. Expect a lower-scoring game, but in the end, I can't see the Eagles losing to Seneca Wallace.

Eagles 23, Packers 19

Derrick Gunn
No Aaron Rodgers, no Randall Cobb, no Jermichael Finley, and Clay Matthews is going to play with a club on his injured hand, so it should be no problem for the Eagles. Yet this is a game in which they cannot afford to make any mistakes. The best part about that is Nick Foles makes very few mistakes with the football. Even when his game is off he simply doesn't throw interceptions.

LeSean McCoy is still trying to get his groove back in the running game. He's been held under 60 yards rushing the last three games, and this Sunday he faces a Packers defense that ranks fifth against the run.

Cornerback Bradley Fletcher is listed a questionable with a pectoral injury and that could be bad for a secondary trying to contain Packer wide receivers Jordy Nelson and James Jones. Speaking of the Birds' defense, they'd better bring their "A" tackling game this weekend because Packers rookie running back Eddie Lacy and veteran James Starks will not be brought down with arm tackles.

The Eagles' defense needs to get in Seneca Wallace's face in a hurry and not let him get comfortable when he steps back to pass. I don't see the Birds putting up 49 points this week, but they should still be able to put up enough to hold off the Rodgers-less Pack.

Eagles 28, Packers 24

John Gonzalez
Instead of Aaron Rodgers -- who fractured his collarbone in the first quarter on Monday night and is expected to miss several weeks -- the Eagles will face Seneca Wallace. That's good news for the Eagles and not such good news for the Packers. Wallace hasn't won a game he's started since 2010.

The problem for the Eagles will be stopping the Packers' running game. Green Bay has been excellent on the ground. The Packers average the second-most rushing yards in the NFL. That has a lot to do with rookie running back Eddie Lacy. Since Week 5, Lacy has averaged 108.6 yards. He's also scored a touchdown in each of his last three games. If the Eagles can limit Lacy, they'll have a great shot to win the game. That's not so simple, though.

Packers 24, Eagles 21

Andy Schwartz
Here's what we want to see out of Nick Foles:

A good, solid, productive outing.

In his last two starts, he's gone from one extreme to the other, from a 46.2 passer rating against Dallas to a 158.3 mark against Oakland.

If Foles is going to be the Eagles' QB of the future, he needs to be consistent. No one has their best stuff every week, but the best quarterbacks battle through and do enough to win.

Seven more touchdowns would be great, but we can't expect that again. Ever. So let's say 21 of 31 for 275 yards, two touchdowns and, of course, no picks (see story).

Will that be good enough for a victory? If Aaron Rodgers were playing, maybe not. But he's not. Seneca Wallace is.

So it should be.

Eagles 24, Packers 17

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