A game-winning end zone interception. A 176-yard rushing effort. A three-touchdown, zero-interception, zero-sack performance from Carson Wentz. That’s what it took to beat the Packers at Lambeau last year. What will it take Sunday? Or is there nothing the Eagles can do? Are they just not good enough?
Last year at Lambeau
Aaron Rodgers threw for 422 yards in the Eagles’ 34-27 win over the Packers at Lambeau last year. It was the fourth 400-yard passing game against the Eagles since Jim Schwartz became defensive coordinator in 2016.
The Eagles finished 19th in pass defense last year, giving up 241.6 yards a game through the air. This year, they are 8th (210.7). In their last 7 games, they’ve held opponents to 175.8 passing yards per game.
Rodgers ran for 46 yards on 5 carries against the Eagles last year. That was his most rushing yards in a game since 2016 when he ran for 60 against the Colts.
Since Nigel Bradham’s game-saving end zone interception against the Packers, the Eagles have intercepted just 10 more passes in the last 23 games. Their 3 picks this season are tied for the fewest in the league (with Houston).
Packers wide receiver Davante Adams had 10 catches for 180 yards against the Eagles last year even though he played just 70% of the Packers’ offensive snaps because of a turf toe injury. He left the game for good with 10:55 left in the fourth quarter.
The Eagles gave up 11 100-yard receiving games to wide receivers last year. This year, they’ve given up just 3 (plus one to 49ers tight end George Kittle) – to the Bengals’ Tyler Boyd (10-125), the Steelers’ Chase Claypool (7-110-3TDs), and the Seahawks’ DK Metcalf (10-177).
Rodgers has thrown 12 red-zone interceptions in his career, including the one against the Eagles, in 940 red-zone pass attempts.
The Eagles did not have a turnover in their win over the Packers last year. In the 23 games since then, they’ve had just 4 zero turnover games.
The Eagles had 33 rushing attempts (for 176 yards) against the Packers last year. It was one of 8 games in which they ran the ball 30 or more times last season. This year, they’ve had 30-plus carries only once – in their Week 3 tie with the Bengals (36).
Carson Wentz had 3 touchdown passes and no interceptions in the win over the Packers last year. He has thrown 3 or more TD passes and no interceptions 8 times in his career. The Eagles are 8-0 in those games.
Wentz, who has been sacked a league-high 46 times already this season, wasn’t sacked in the Packers win. His snap-to-release average in that game, according to Pro Football Focus, was 2.31 seconds. His snap-to-release average last year: 2.56 seconds. His average his year: 2.70 seconds.
Rodgers, who completed 34-of-53 passes in that game last year, had a 2.48-second snap-to-release average against the Eagles last year. His 2019 average was 2.74. In his second year in Matt LaFleur’s offense, it’s dropped to 2.50.
The Eagles used 12/13-personnel on 29-of-60 snaps (48.3%) against the Packers last year.
Run the damn ball
The Eagles ran the ball just 14 times in last week’s loss to Seattle. It was their fewest rushing attempts in a game since that infamous 48-7 loss to the Saints in November 2018 when they had just 12 carries. It was the fourth time this season that they’ve had fewer than 20 carries in a game.
The Eagles threw the ball on 20 of their 24 first-down plays against Seattle. The Eagles have run the ball on just 41.6% of their first-down plays this season. Their plus-54 pass play-to-run play differential on first down is the third-highest in the NFL, behind only the Bills (plus-60) and the Bears (plus-58).
The Eagles are averaging just 23.2 rushing attempts per game this season. That’s the fourth-fewest in the league. Their 35.1 run-play percentage is the lowest in the league.
The Eagles had just 4 rushing first downs against the Seahawks. Carson Wentz had 3 of them, and Miles Sanders had the other. Sanders has a team-high 30 rushing first downs on 108 carries, but Wentz is second with 23 on 49 carries. Wentz’s 23 rushing first downs are the fifth-most in the league among quarterbacks, behind only the Cardinals’ Kyler Murray (41), the Patriots’ Cam Newton (39), the Bills’ Josh Allen (32), and the Ravens’ Lamar Jackson (30).
Sanders and Jordan Howard combined for 159 rushing yards against the Packers last year. Ninety-nine of those 159 yards came with 12/13-personnel groupings.
The Eagles are 20th in rushing (116.5 yards per game) but third in rush average (5.0 yards per carry). They finished 11th in rushing last year, even though they averaged only 4.7 more yards per game than this year.
The Eagles have 10 rushing touchdowns this season, 5 of them by Wentz. Wentz had just 3 rushing touchdowns in his first 4 seasons.
Sanders is averaging 5.6 yards per carry but just 3.7 in the last 2 games. He averaged 11.2 rushing attempts per game as a rookie. So far this year, he’s averaging 13.5.
The Packers are 25th in opponent rush average (4.6). In their last 3 games, they’ve given up 4.9 yards per carry.
In their 3 losses this season to the Colts, Vikings and Bucs, the Packers gave up 471 rushing yards and 4.4 yards per carry.
The Eagles are tied for second in the league in sacks with 36, but it won’t be easy adding to that total Sunday. Rodgers has been sacked just 11 times in 392 pass plays. He has the third-lowest sack percentage in the league (2.8%), behind only the Steelers’ Ben Roethlisberger (2.3%) and the Colts’ Philip Rivers (2.5%).
Brandon Graham’s quest for his first double-digit sack season is stuck on 7. He hasn’t had a sack in the last 3 games and has just 9 of the team’s 47 total pressures in those 3 games.
Rodgers, who is first in the NFL in passing (117.6) and third in third-down passing (114.7), has produced 48 first downs on 101 third-down pass attempts (47.5%).
While Davante Adams is Rodgers’ go-to receiver – he has 74 receptions and a career-high 74.7 catch rate – the Eagles can’t afford to fall asleep on tight end Robert Tonyan. Tonyan is second on the Packers in catches with 37, including 7 for touchdowns. Six of the 14 touchdown passes the Eagles have given up have been to tight ends. But they haven’t given up any in the last 5 games. Opposing tight ends have averaged just 8.1 yards per catch against them in the last 5 games.
Jim Schwartz has blitzed on just 6 of 58 pass plays (10.3%) in the last 2 games. Sunday figures to be no different. In last year’s Week 4 win over the Packers, Schwartz sent extra rushers after Rodgers on just 6 of 54 pass plays. Rodgers was 4-for-6 for 143 yards and a touchdown when the Eagles blitzed him.
Some other stuff
Wentz has been sacked 11 times in the last 2 games. Seven of them have been on third down.
The Eagles were 0-for-3 on fourth down against Seattle. For the season, they’ve converted just 7-of-22 fourth-down tries. Their 31.8 fourth-down success rate is the fourth-worst in the league, ahead of only the Jets (31.3), the Jaguars (27.8) and the Broncos (18.2).
The Eagles have a minus-5.8-yard average drive start differential this season. That’s the worst in Doug Pederson’s 5 seasons as head coach. The Eagles have started at their own 40 or better on just 15 of 130 drives. Opponents: 37-of-136.
The Eagles have scored just 33 points on their first and second possessions in the first 11 games. Opponents have scored 52.
Wentz attempted 6 passes of 20 yards or more against the Seahawks. He completed just one – the Hail Mary touchdown pass to Richard Rodgers with 12 seconds left. Wentz is 18-for-53 on 20-plus-yard throws, with 5 touchdowns and 5 interceptions.