The Eagles are the highest-scoring NFL team in the preseason through two games, going all-out and not really trying to ease up at any point in time. The Packers are in the exact opposite position, trying to make sure they don’t lose any other very important players before opening day.
What We Know About The Coaches
Chip Kelly is 6-4 in the preseason and 2-0 this preseason after a 40-17 win over the Baltimore Ravens. The Eagles have left quite a mark in the preseason thus far, with two games scoring over 35 points. The Eagles did get multiple interceptions against Baltimore, but their offense still had to do a lot of work. There might be no better bet in this 2015 preseason than Kelly, who wants to establish his up-tempo offense against teams that are not really concerned about preparing for it in games that don’t count.
Mike McCarthy of the Packers is 19-19 in the preseason, 1-1 in this preseason, after losing to the Pittsburgh Steelers last weekend. McCarthy is not a terrible preseason coach in terms of wins and losses, but he’s definitely outclassed by Kelly, and it’s not a hard decision to make.
The Eagles get the huge advantage here because of some news which broke during the past week. Sam Bradford enjoyed his debut for Philadelphia, even though he was angry about a hit from Baltimore pass rusher Terrell Suggs. He’s going to get more time in this game, because he needs to continue to learn and develop within Chip Kelly’s offense. Backup Mark Sanchez was solid, going 14 for 20 against Baltimore. Matt Barkley, the third-stringer, was just 6 of 14. Tim Tebow, in the fourth spot, was only 2 of 5.
Despite the limits in the lower part of the depth chart, the Eagles are in a far better situation than the Packers in terms of winning this game. The Packers, perhaps scared by the fact that receiver Jordy Nelson was knocked out for the season with an injury last weekend against Pittsburgh, have decided to rest quarterback Aaron Rodgers for this game and the rest of the preseason as a whole. This decision might seem like an overreaction, but really, who needs Rodgers to play more in the preseason? No one. He’s an elite quarterback. He doesn’t have to prove anything. He’s in the prime of his career. The Green Bay Packers are making a smart move, but this does mean Philadelphia should prosper.
Team Depth & Rotations
The injury to Jordy Nelson is a huge blow to the Packers, and with Rodgers out and Scott Tolzien basically being asked to go most of the way, that already tells most of the story. The Philadelphia Eagles might not have receivers Riley Cooper or Rasheed Bailey due to injuries suffered against Baltimore. Tight end Zach Ertz will probably remain unavailable, as will linebackers DeMeco Ryans and Kiko Alonso. Yet, those losses for Philadelphia pale in comparison to what the Packers must face.
Outlook & Pick
No Rodgers, no Nelson, not much of a chance for Green Bay. The betting public and the sharps seem to agree as the Eagles opened as a two-point favorite and the line has climbed to five or six at some places. Bovada has this line at 4.5 NFL odds. Don’t overthink this one – pick Philadelphia.
NFL Pick: Eagles -4.5 at Bovada