(CBS Philadelphia) — With their third straight loss, the Philadelphia Eagles dropped from first to third in the subpar NFC East. The Green Bay Packers returned to the win column and maintained their lead in the NFC North. This Sunday, the Eagles face the unenviable task of turning around their season on the road against a Packers team that seems to be coasting toward the playoffs.
The Eagles offense has struggled for weeks, and didn’t look any better at home against the Seattle Seahawks. They went three-and-out on their first five possessions against the defense allowing the most yards in the NFL. In fact, they gained negative four yards in the first quarter and didn’t pick up a first down until well into the second quarter. Carson Wentz ended up with a halfway decent stat-line on the evening, going 25-45 for 215 yards and two touchdowns. However, one of those TD passes came on a last-minute Hail Mary with the game essentially already over. He was sacked six times and generally seemed off for much of the game.
“There’s a very technical football term that I learned during my years in the league to describe what I’m seeing from Carson Wentz. That technical term is: ‘yikes,'” says Amy Trask, NFL On CBS contributor. “When you watch Carson play, it really is a yikes in so many regards. Sacks, turnovers, really everything. Here we see Carson Wentz going up against one of the premier quarterbacks in the National Football League in Aaron Rodgers.”
At least Wentz was the Eagles leading rusher, which isn’t really saying all that much. The running game was otherwise nonexistent, with Miles Sanders, Boston Scott and Corey Clement combining for a grand total of 28 yards. A good deal of the blame, in both the passing and running games, falls to the offensive line, which has seen 10 different starting iterations in 11 games.
The Eagles defense contained Russell Wilson and one of the NFL’s most potent offenses. They kept the game within reach, which is about as much as one can ask of them. Wilson was limited to just 230 yards and touchdown on 22-31 passing. Most of that yardage came from DK Metcalf, who caught 10 of his targets for 177 yards.
Can the Eagles improve on another dismal outing when they head to Green Bay? “It’s an important game in all regards,” says Trask. “There is no team in the NFC East with more than four wins, so as much as we look at the Eagles and we look at Carson Wentz and we use that technical term, ‘yikes,’ they’re still alive in the NFC East.”
The Packers’ mid-tier defense is a far cry better than the Seahawks’, and they’re coming off a win over another dismal offense. Green Bay just handed the Chicago Bears their fifth-straight loss. They allowed the Bears to score 25 points, though 15 of those points came in the fourth quarter, once the game was out of reach. They also allowed the Bears to move the ball on the ground and through the air, though, again, much of the yardage came in the fourth quarter. Mitchell Trubisky, in his first start since Week 3, went 26-46 for 242 yards and three touchdowns. David Montgomery gained 103 yards on 11 carries.
The Packers’ defense shouldn’t be the Eagles’ primary concern, of course. Aaron Rodgers showed once again why he’s among the greatest quarterbacks of all time. Rodgers went 21-29 for 211 yards and four touchdowns. He leads the league with 33 touchdown passes, 11 passes of at least 40 yards, and a QB Rating of 117.6.
The Packers drove for touchdowns on their first three possessions, didn’t punt until the third quarter and led 41-10 by the fourth quarter. The ground game deserves as much credit as Rodgers. Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams combined for 163 yards on 34 carries.
Despite all the firepower on display, the Packers have been somewhat inconsistent the last month. The Minnesota Vikings beat them at Lambeau, and the terrible Jacksonville Jaguars almost did as well. The Indianapolis Colts came back in the second half to beat them two weeks ago.
Does all of this amount to an opportunity? If the Eagles had a functioning offense, then maybe. But the Eagles don’t have a functioning offense. They do, however, remain in the NFC East hunt, giving them a reason to show up.
“We’ve talked about Carson Wentz, that has just been a downward spiral this season,” Trask notes. “But Philadelphia has more problems than just Carson Wentz. For Green Bay, they are in the hunt for the one seed in the NFC. New Orleans is more balanced right now both the offense and the defense are performing well. But, I’m never counting out Aaron Rodgers and the Packers. There’s a lot to play for for both of these teams this week.”
The Eagles play the Packers Sunday, December 6 @ 4:25 p.m. ET on CBS.