Three-And-Out: Eagles-Packers Predictions

foles_400_110313Player I’ll be watching

McManus: Nick Foles.

Fun merchandise-related nugget for you: The page where you can purchase a Foles jersey on the team site saw a 25 percent spike in hits following his seven-touchdown performance against the Raiders, yet sales went up hardly at all. People are interested and they are considering jumping in but aren’t quite ready to commit.

Pretty symbolic, right?

It’s hard not to be intrigued after Foles’ monster day in Oakland, but it’s impossible to jump all in with the Dallas performance still rattling around in your mind. That Cowboys’ game was his chance to assume authority over the quarterback situation and he didn’t answer the bell. The bar was lowered for the Raiders game and he crushed it. Sunday is another chance to grab the reins. How will he respond this time?

Kapadia: Lane Johnson

Given that it’s Week 10, there aren’t a lot of areas where you can expect current talent to make significant improvement the rest of the way. But Johnson is an exception. He had his share of pass protection issues in the first half of the season, but is coming on and played his best game as a pro last week in Oakland.

Defenses that give the Eagles problems will focus on stopping the run and force the Eagles to be efficient in the passing game. That means keeping the quarterback upright. If Johnson can continue to show progress, the offensive line can be a real asset the rest of the way.

Green Bay has four players with at least three sacks, and Clay Matthews is expected to return. The offense will need a repeat performance from Johnson to have success through the air.

Prop bet of the week: Eddie Lacy rushing yards — 85. Whaddya got?

McManus: Close but I’ll go under. The Eagles have only allowed one rusher to go over 100 yards in a game this season — Oakland’s Rashad Jennings last week. The defense has held opponents to under 100 yards rushing overall in five of nine contests. Billy Davis‘ unit has exceeded expectations, especially in this area, and the front seven is only getting better.

Lacy will probably be called on quite a bit with Seneca Wallace under center instead of Aaron Rodgers, but the Eagles will be keying on him.

Kapadia: I’ll take the over, even though I’m a believer in the Eagles’ run defense. Bennie Logan played well last week at nose tackle, Cedric Thornton has been good all year, and Fletcher Cox has been excellent after a slow start. Connor Barwin and DeMeco Ryans have been key as well.

Lacy is a bruising back who brings a violent style. He’s going to break tackles and run through people at times. The key will be getting multiple defenders to the ball-carrier. This is going to be a good test to see how the defense responds to a physical brand of football.

Given the number of opportunities he’s going to get, Lacy could eclipse the 100-yard mark.

Predictions

McManus: Eagles 24,  Packers 23

This was a stone-cold loss before Rodgers got hurt but this game is now very winnable and if things go right, the Eagles will be sitting in first-place tie with the Cowboys at the end of the day. (The Cowboys play in New Orleans Sunday night.)

Assuming Foles doesn’t fall apart, he should be able to do enough for the Eagles to escape Lambeau with a win.

Kapadia: Eagles 27, Packers 20

Picking Eagles games correctly on a week-to-week basis has proven to be nearly impossible, and no one’s been worse than yours truly. But I think they’re really in a good spot here.

Offensively, the Eagles don’t need another 7-TD performance from Foles. If he delivers a ‘B’ game, I think they’ll be able to move the football against this Packers defense.

Defensively, Davis’ unit focuses on stopping the run most weeks anyway. The Eagles will try to force Wallace to make enough plays to win the game, and I don’t see that happening. A .500 record going into Week 11 would mean this fan base getting some meaningful football down the stretch.

Follow Sheil Kapadia on Twitter and e-mail him at skapadia@phillymag.com.
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