GREEN BAY—This game is being underhyped. It’s importance is not being fully appreciated.
You could make a point that a playoff berth will be on the line this Sunday when the Packers host the Eagles. OK, I’ll make that point: A playoff berth could be on the line this Sunday when the Packers host the Eagles.
It would be such if the Packers and Eagles were vying for the final wild-card berth in the NFC. Head to head wins. The same could be said if the two teams were vying for homefield advantage. That’s where this Sunday’s game becomes critically important.
The same could be said if a final spot or homefield advantage came down to the Packers and the Seahawks. You don’t want to be on the losing side of two potential head-to-head tiebreakers.
So look at it this way: December has arrived early. This is the kind of game you would expect in the final month of the season. If you’re looking for drama, look no further than this Sunday, because when this season ends, we could find ourselves looking back at this game.
Here are 10 things the Packers have to do to beat the Eagles.
1. Stop LeSean McCoy – I like the Packers’ chances in an Aaron Rodgers vs. Mark Sanchez battle.
2. Deny Darren Sproles – Sproles has returned two punts for touchdowns, and he returned one for a touchdown against the Packers in that classic 2011 “Kickoff” game. Cold weather has arrived, which means the ball will fly shorter and lower, and the importance of special teams has increased.
3. Break their rhythm – Teams that want to play fast don’t like waiting. Long drives are the answer.
4. Protect the passer – The Eagles have a formidable pass rush.
5. Rush the passer – Sanchez hasn’t been pressured a lot since replacing Nick Foles.
6. Win third down – The Eagles offense is seventh in the league in third-down efficiency. The Packers defense is No. 25. This could be a pivot point in this game.
7. Win crunch time – It ultimately comes down to that when playoff-caliber teams face each other in important, late-season games.
8. Ride the wave – The Packers have a nice feel about them right now. There’s a sense that this team is building momentum for a late-season push.
9. Be balanced – The Eagles defense isn’t tilted to pass or run; it allows yardage equally.
10. Pound Eddie – It’s time for Lacy to be the cold-weather, game-controlling back he was last season.
ADDITIONAL COVERAGE - NOV. 13