GREEN BAY—It’s a must-win game for the Packers to retain a share of the NFC North lead.
As we near Thanksgiving, the drama intensifies. The Packers have lost Aaron Rodgers. How long? We don’t know for sure and those who might know for sure aren’t saying. How’s that for drama?
In Chicago on Sunday, the Bears will host the Lions. The loser will fall out of first place. The winner, depending on what the Packers do against the Eagles, will either retain a share of the NFC North lead or own it outright. How’s that drama?
If you like drama, we have reached your time of the season, and this is the way it’s going to be from now until the end of the season. It’ll be one big game after another, climaxing with a possible winner-take-all match at Soldier Field on the final day of the season.
Now, that would be really dramatic.
History would suggest that at 5-3 the Packers need to win five of their remaining eight games to qualify for the playoffs. The Packers claimed the NFC North title last season with 11 wins, so make it six out of eight for the Packers to win the division again.
Can they do it with Seneca Wallace at quarterback? More importantly, how long will they have to do it with Wallace at quarterback? That’s the drama that’s currently defining the Packers’ season.
Mike McCarthy doesn’t like drama. I do.
Here are 10 things the Packers have to do to beat the Eagles.
1. Run the ball—That’s how you kill play count. That’s how you stay out of a shootout. Dominate time of possession and decrease the Eagles’ time with the ball and the number of plays they can run.
2. Throw the ball—With all due respect to No. 1, the Eagles have the worst pass defense in the league.
3. Get your best defense on the field—Because the Eagles are going to go no-huddle and whatever you have out there is going to have to stay out there.
4. Stop LeSean McCoy—He might be the most underrated player in the league. He’s leading the league in rushing and he’s the Eagles’ second leading receiver. McCoy is the Eagles’ true star.
5. Double DeSean Jackson—He’s the Eagles’ big-play guy. Jackson is averaging 16.5 per catch and he’s scored six touchdowns.
6. Play above the X’s and O’s—The Eagles are a scheme team. The Packers will be playing with a reduced playbook. Win with execution.
7. Convert third downs—It’s a must-do for winning time of possession.
8. Play to the crowd—The most loyal and supportive fans in the NFL are going to have your back. Make sure you have theirs.
9. Protect the quarterback—Seneca Wallace is a veteran. He knows what to do with a clean pocket.
10. Weather the storm—Aaron Rodgers will take back the helm in a few weeks. Make sure the ship remains afloat until then. Additional coverage - Nov. 7