1. How will the Eagles offense do?
Jeff McLane: Carson Wentz and company need a kick start and they may get it against a Packers pass defense that has been leaky. Green Bay has allowed more yards per play in the air than any other NFL team. This isn't a historically poor unit vs. the pass. The Packers have sorely missed their best cornerback, Sam Shields, who was lost for the season. Cornerback Quinten Rollins has struggled all season. If there's a guy Nelson Agholor could gain some confidence against, it's him. The rest of the secondary isn't that bad. Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and Morgan Burnett are solid safeties. Ladarius Gunter is OK at the other corner spot. Quarterbacks have gone after linebacker Joe Thomas, though. If the Eagles can get tight end Zach Ertz matched up against him, he should have some success.
The Packers have relied more on their dime defense rather than their nickel in passing situations. Micah Hyde is the slot and Kentrell Brice is the roaming sixth defensive back. Defensive coordinator Dom Capers still runs a two-gap 3-4 base front. Defensive tackle Mike Daniels and outside linebacker Nick Perry have been the lynchpins up front this season. Outside linebacker Clay Matthews has been hurt and the venerable Julius Peppers is just a role player now.
The Packers have been good against the run, allowing only 3.7 yards per rush. The Eagles will be without running back Ryan Mathews (knee). Rookie Wendell Smallwood should get the most carries. Darren Sproles has been cleared to play, but he's still nursing a fractured rib.
Zach Berman: The Eagles need Wentz to carry them for them to win Monday night. You saw what Marcus Mariota and Kirk Cousins did against this Packers pass defense in recent weeks. Wentz can have a similar type of game. The difference is the Packers could have Damarious Randall back and Clay Matthews healthier. But they're still missing some key pieces in the secondary. You mentioned Perry – Allen Barbre will have his hands full with the pass rusher. Barbre needs to step up at right tackle for the Eagles. I'm curious to see how much Jordan Matthews plays on the outside. The only way Paul Turner gets on the field is in the slot, and that changes Matthews' role. Smallwood will take on a bigger role, but I don't expect him to be in the 20-25 carry range. That wasn't how the Eagles used Mathews. My guess is Sproles still gets a lot of work, especially in the passing game. The Eagles can try to take advantage of the middle of the Packers' defense with Blake Martinez out.
2. How will the Eagles defense do?
McLane: During the first half of the season, the question for the Packers was often: What's wrong with Aaron Rodgers? But the problems were hardly all the quarterback's fault. Green Bay had multiple injuries at running back and the rotating cast didn't always put Rodgers into feasible third down situations. Rodgers certainly hasn't performed like the league's best player – like he arguably was from 2010-14 – but he still has the arm and the ability to stretch plays. He's sometimes extended plays too long this season and it's led to sacks and turnovers. But Rodgers has been the least of his team's problems over the last month.
Jordy Nelson, Davante Adams and Randall Cobb are still the Packers' three top receivers, but they've had trouble getting separation downfield. Ty Montgomery has been Mr. Utility and has been effective both as a ball carrier and receiver out of the backfield. Eagles linebackers Jordan Hicks and Nigel Bradham will have to keep an eye on him. Jim Schwartz's pass rush hasn't been particularly robust over the last month. The Packers are solid on the edges. Right tackle Bryan Bulaga will go head to head against Brandon Graham. Left tackle David Bakhtiari could have the nod over Connor Barwin and Vinny Curry.
Berman: Rodgers is the variable in this game. He can beat the Eagles on his own, and he has targets that will put pressure on the Eagles' defense. That said, I said the same about Ben Roethlisberger and Matt Ryan. They combined for one touchdown against this Eagles defense. So I need to give this group credit, especially at home. They have about two more sacks at home than on the road, and the pass rush needs to be the difference tonight. The Packers are missing starts at right guard and center, so the Eagles need Fletcher Cox to have a big game. Rodgers' scrambling ability is a challenge for the Eagles, which is why I don't think the Eagles blitz much. The Eagles will trust that their pass rushers can win at the line of scrimmage. In the secondary, I'd expect a rotation to continue with Jalen Mills, Nolan Carroll, and Leodis McKelvin. Tight end Jared Cook looked good last week against Washington, and Schwartz will have a decision to make about whether to use Malcolm Jenkins on Cook or on Cobb in the slot. The short passing game is also a challenge when facing the Packers – much more so than the run, which Green Bay doesn't use as often without Eddie Lacy.
3. Who's a player to watch?
McLane: Fletcher Cox has been workmanlike over the last month, but the Eagles need more from their $100 million man. The Packers will certainly double and chip block the defensive tackle, but if Cox gets singled up against right guard Don Barclay he should be able to get to ball carries and Rodgers.
Berman: Is it too easy to go with the quarterback? Carson Wentz is the player to watch tonight. In the past six games, he has the worst passer rating in the NFL. It's not all on Wentz – those receivers haven't helped – but this is a pass defense that's susceptible to big plays. Wentz can take advantage of this group. And with injuries at running back and facing a good run defense, the passing game will be a key for the Eagles. Another one to watch: Bryce Treggs, who is the Eagles' best downfield threat. Teams have tested the Packers deep.
4. What's your prediction?
McLane: The Eagles have been a much different team on the road vs. home, particularly on defense. It can't be a coincidence. Schwartz's unit has feasted in front of the Linc faithful. The Eagles have allowed only 281 yards and 9.5 points per game at home vs. 370 yards and 24.7 points on the road. They've recorded 15 sacks and eight turnovers in four home games vs. 11 sacks and eight turnovers in six road games. The Linc should be rocking on Monday night. I can't see how that doesn't benefit the Eagles. Rodgers, of course, can silence the crowd with one 60-yard heave. He hasn't played in Philly since 2010, but won both meetings that season – the opener and the season-ender in the playoffs. Rodgers is the X factor. If he can take advantage of the mismatches in the secondary – Nelson and Adams vs. Leodis McKelvin and Nolan Carroll, in particular – the Packers will be tough to beat. But he shouldn't be able to sit back there all day. And I think the Eagles offense will be able to exploit the Jordan Matthews-Hyde matchup inside. Eagles 29, Packers 24.
Berman: It's not smart picking against Rodgers, but he's lost four in a row and six this season. And the Eagles have played too well at home to pick against them against a struggling team. The Eagles defense disputed the idea that they'll play in a shootout, and fans should hope they're right. If the game is played in the 30s, the Packers have the edge. But my guess is the Eagles continue to make life difficult for quarterbacks at home, Wentz has his best game in weeks, and the Eagles get back to a winning record. Give me Eagles 27, Packers 21.