Packers vs. Eagles Odds & Picks: Back A Desperate Philly Team To Cover Sunday’s Spread
Dylan Buell/Getty Images. Pictured: Carson Wentz, Aaron Rodgers
Packers vs. Eagles Odds
After three straight losses, the Eagles come limping into Lambeau Field after a short week at 3-7-1 overall. Despite that pitiful record, they’re only a half-game back of first place in the disastrous NFC East.
Hosting a playoff game is somehow still a very real possibility for the Eagles if they can find a way to steal at least one of their next three against NFC contenders (Packers, Saints and Cardinals) before finishing up with two division matchups.
It’s an uphill climb, but a win in Green Bay would go a long way in improving Philly’s playoff chances.
Meanwhile, the Packers have won three of their last four to improve to 8-3. They own a three-game lead in their division with five games remaining and still have their sights set on the highly-coveted No. 1 overall seed, which would give them the only bye in the NFC. They currently sit one game behind the Saints, but own the head-to-head tiebreaker.
So where is the betting value on this matchup ripe with playoff implications?
The Eagles’ primary problems start on offense.
They rank 30th overall in Football Outsiders’ offensive DVOA, including 30th in pass. Their wide receivers are not getting separation and the offensive line, which ranks dead last in Adjusted Sack Rate (part of that blame goes to Wentz), has been decimated by injuries.
But even when kept clean this season, Wentz — who leads the NFL in turnover-worthy throws this season — has an 83.5 quarterback rating that ranks 30th out of 31 quarterbacks (min. 200 dropbacks) with 12 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.
Last year, he had a 99.4 quarterback rating with 17 touchdowns to just three interceptions. The regression is evident for the former North Dakota State product.
On the other side of the ball, the Eagles defense has been slightly above-average. The strength of the unit is up front with one of the league’s best and deepest defensive lines. They rank first overall in Stuff Rate and fourth in both Adjusted Line Yards and Adjusted Sack Rate, per Football Outsiders.
I do think this unit is trending in the right direction and there are some promising season-long statistics — they rank in the top five in yards per play, third down conversions and explosive pass rate.
Green Bay Packers
The Packers offense has been superb all season. They have the second-ranked overall offense based on DVOA and are one of only three teams with a top-five passing and rushing offense. They’ve also done so while facing one of the five most difficult schedules of defenses so far this season.
Aaron Rodgers, Davante Adams and Aaron Jones get all of the press (and rightfully so), but the offensive line is one of the strongest in the league, ranking in the top 10 in both Adjusted Line Yards and Adjusted Sack Rate.
When kept clean, Rodgers has shredded opposing defenses with a stellar 83.4% Adjusted Completion Percentage and 126.4 quarterback rating this season, trailing only Patrick Mahomes. Rodgers has also thrown 29 touchdowns to just four interceptions.
There are still issues on defense, which has graded out slightly below average overall. Just like last season, Green Bay is especially weak against the run, allowing 4.6 yards per carry (25th in the NFL).
The Pack have major issues along the defensive line and at linebacker.
I held my nose and sided with the Eagles +8.5. It might seem crazy to see this team competing (or even winning) in Green Bay on a short week, but that’s exactly what they did last season in desperation mode.
I think they can follow a similar formula from that victory: The Eagles ran the ball 33 times for 176 yards (5.3 yards per carry) against a Packers run defense that remains just as vulnerable. And Wentz threw for only 160 yards but had three touchdowns.
His receivers finished with only four receptions, as he focused on getting the ball out to his backs and tight ends, where he should have some success again. Ultimately, the Eagles can move the ball and control the clock on the ground and through the short passing game.
The strength of this Packers defense is having a shutdown corner in Jaire Alexander, but that doesn’t help nearly as much against the underwhelming Eagles receiving group that lacks a clear-cut No. 1 receiver.
The Eagles run defense should show up as it normally does. They’ve been stellar against running backs, but struggled some against mobile quarterbacks, which isn’t a concern here. I actually think they can generate some interior pressure here, which is really one of the only ways to slow down Rodgers right now.
Why do I think that? Well, starting center Corey Linsley got hurt last game and will not suit up this week. That’s a huge loss, as Linsley is arguably the best center in the NFL and a likely All-Pro this season. That means rookie sixth-rounder Jon Runyan Jr. will likely get his first career start.
That’s something the Eagles can potentially take advantage of with the likes of Javon Hargrave, who’s been playing at an extremely high level the past few games, and Fletcher Cox. They can also bring additional pressure with Alex Singleton and T.J. Edwards, who have thrived in pass rush situations from the linebacker position.
The Eagles have also excelled at limiting explosive passes, which helps against a Packers offense that ranks third in explosive passing rate.
Last year, Davante Adams went off against Philly with 10 catches for 180 yards, but Philly has since added Darius Slay as a shadow corner. Adams got the best of him in that matchup in the past, but Adams is going to get his every week, regardless.
It’s also worth noting that Green Bay’s special teams have been pretty poor. Meanwhile, the Eagles rank 32nd in Hidden Points on Special Teams (things out of your control) by more than six points than the second-unluckiest team. Positive regression looms for Philly in that department.
From a situational perspective, maybe we get a sleepy Packers effort early on. After all, they are three games up in the division with games against the Eagles, Panthers and Lions on deck.
Even if not, I still make this line a touch below 7 and like some of the matchups here for what should be a desperate Philly team that will pull out all of the stops to get this win that could make or break their season.
Let’s just hope Wentz doesn’t throw four picks. And if he does, hopefully he can slide in the backdoor like last week.
PICK: Eagles +8.5