The Green Bay Packers host the Philadelphia Eagles at Lambeau Field in a Preseason Week 3 affair in which one now can find both teams favored by a point if you look carefully.
The Packers suffered maybe the biggest blow of the offseason when it was learned Monday that star WR Jordy Nelson would be missing the entire season after suffering an ACL tear in his Knee in the Packers' 24-19 loss at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh on Sunday. Let’s preview this game and make an NFL pick with the focus on the Total seeming clearer than trying to pick a side.
Philadelphia Eagles at Green Bay Packers [Sunday 00:00] (CBS, 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT): The Philadelphia Eagles (2-0, 76 PF-27 PA) head to America’s Dairyland and Lambeau Field to face the Green Bay Packers (1-1, 41 PF-35 PA) on Saturday night in this NFL Week 3 Preseason game, the 15th such meeting between the two. Oddsmakers have spilt in who’s the real favorite in this game with some sportsbooks like the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook in Sin City opening up the visiting Eagles as 1-point favorites; others like Pinnacle, SportsInteraction and Station Casinos having the game at PK; and the Mirage (in Las Vegas) having the Packers as 1-point favorites currently. (A Wise and Mobile man would drive from the SuperBook after getting +1 and the Packers to the Mirage and take the Eagles +1 while it lasts.) The Total here has been set at healthy 49 (Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook). On the Money Line, Philadelphia is a -120 favorite (Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook) with Green Bay priced at +100, while some others have both teams juiced evenly (-106, Pinnacle; -108, BetVictor; and, -110 Station Casinos).
In the Preseason to date, Head Coach Chip Kelly and the new-look Philadelphia Eagles (10-6 SU in 2014, 474 PF-400 PA) have really impressed, getting the most out of their quad QBs—Sam Bradford, Mark Sanchez, Matt Barkley and Tim Tebow—rushing the ball and getting as many RBs in on the action while also passing the ball like they will prefer to do in the Regular Season and utilizing as many WRs, TEs and RBs as possible to try to utilize the depth of the Eagles Roster as Kelly did when he was HC at the University of Oregon. And if anyone should be good at going for, and getting 2-point conversions this coming NFL season, the Eagles should be the with Kelly’s experience with the actual plays and human cannonball Tebow able to take a snap and ram in if need be...if he sticks on the Roster. He is a football player. The Eagles (25/1 to win Super Bowl, William Hill) have beaten two pretty good teams so far, the Indianapolis Colts (36-10) in Week 1 and the Baltimore Ravens (40-17) in Week 2 and scored a bunch of points in the process although Baltimore hurt itself committing 17 penalties (for 139 yards) at Lincoln Financial Field on Saturday night in Philadelphia’s romp and the Colts are allergic to the Preseason. One good thing—so far—is the way both QB Bradford—who came over in a trade with the St. Louis Rams for QB Nick Foles—and Free Agent RB Murray (Cowboys, 1,848 yards in 2014) have preserved their health while getting a little action in while gaining some valuable confidence for the coming Regular Season. And this is important because Bradford played in St. Louis last season and is returning from a Knee injury while DeMarco Murray was in Dallas and will be getting used to his new surroundings, new HC, teammates, Offense and role in Philadelphia. RBs who have monster seasons like the Bishop Gorman High School-product (Las Vegas) Murray did with Dallas last season often slump the following season, but Murray could be the reason the Eagles end up winning the NFC (14/1, Coral) as he provides the opportunity for wonderful balance on Offense. But before jumping all over Philadelphia, brother, remember that the Colts ambivalence toward the Preseason while the Ravens had those aforementioned 17 penalties this past weekend. But still, a 76-27 scoring difference and 2 wins looks pretty sweet.
Green Bay Packers
The Green Bay Packers (12-4 in 2104, 486 PF-348 PA last season) suffered a massive blow when WR Jordy Nelson suffered an ACL tear in his knee in the team’s 24-19 loss at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh on Sunday in Week 2 Preseason action. Green Bay (6/1 to win Super Bowl, Winner) and Head Coach Mike McCarthy headed into the Preseason as one of three teams—along with the defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots (10/1 to win Super Bowl, Boylesports) and the NFC champion Seattle Seahawks (+450, bwin)—that looked like a real Super Bowl-winning candidate. But like the Patriots (Deflategate, potential Tom Brady 4-game Suspension) and Seahawks (S Kam Chancellor holdout, threatened to miss entire season on Monday), the Packers now have a big problem with Nelson—QB Aaron Rodgers’ favorite target—and all his wonderful productivity gone. And that’s not the only Packers problem. Luckily for the Cheeseheads—who defeated New England 22-11 in Preseason Week 1 at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro—newly-signed WR Randall Cobb will slide over to the No. 1 WR spot with 22-year-old Fresno State product Davante Adams (38 receptions, 446 yards, 3 TDs) getting a shot to start and shine. With 1,500+ yard man Nelson out, guys like these two WRs (Cobb, Adams) well as Rookie Ty Montgomery (Stanford) and Jeff Janis, TEs Richard Rodgers and Andrew Quarless, RBs Eddie Lacy and James Starks, FB John Kuhn and even QB Aaron Rodgers (34-18-3 ATS Home) himself will all have to pick up the slack. And trying to sign a veteran Free Agent like 34-year-old Wes Welker (Broncos, 2014; 64 targets, 49 receptions, 464 yards, 2 TDs) right about now, especially with the Patriots gobbling up Old Man River Reggie Wayne (Colts, 2014) on Monday, seems to be a must. Expect Green Bay backup QB Scott Tolzien to get a bunch of playing time again here against the Eagles on Saturday, and, so far, so good for the 27-year-old Tolzien (209 yards, 2 TDs, 0 interceptions, passer rating 96.0, #4 in NFL) this Preseason. But another big problem for the Packers comes a LT—Rodgers’s blind side—where starter David Bakhtiari is still nursing a bum Knee, so, HC McCarthy may simply choose to try to get out of this meaningless game alive, although it will prove a great opportunity to see how well either Adams or Montgomery can handle a starting WR spot.
Realistic Preseason Expectations
The Eagles are 8-6 in the Preseason against the Packers (25-14 vs. Philadelphia in Regular Season) and Philadelphia has W2 straight Preseason meetings, the last some 13 years ago (Aug. 10, 2002) at Lincoln Financial Field where the Eagles registered a 20-13 victory. There will be three conflicting things going on in this game: Philadelphia looking to remain unbeaten in the Preseason and on a roll offensively; Green Bay (and its fans) expecting to win at Home at Lambeau; and, both teams trying to avoid any Injuries as the Regular Season (September 10) creeps ever closer. This is good for the Under it seems, especially on a Grass surface with many QBs shuffling in and out and the number (Total) set so high on the NFL odds (49½, Pinnacle) because of the Eagles’ deserved reputation (46 and 57 total points first two Preseason games). But here, expect some pace shift in this game, with Green Bay possibly being tentative and safe with Nelson now gone and Cobb seeming even more precious and the Eagles playing their first Road game of the Preseason (Exhibition) season in a very hostile environment where opponents seldom win (0-8 in 2014 in Regular Season) and against a team intent on improving its Defense and DBs. This could be a good game, but the Eagles and HC Kelly may be more aggressive when they have the football than the Packers, but winning in Green Bay at Lambeau is a tough thing for any team, any time in any season. Like so many games this third Preseason weekend, taking the Under seems prudent with teams being more likely to be safe and do nothing through certain patches of the game and scoring points secondary to managing the rotating QBs and trying to see as many players as possible with just one Preseason week left (Labor Day weekend) after this one.
Predicted Final Score: Green Bay Packers 23 Philadelphia Eagles 22
NFL Pick: Under 49½ (Pinnacle)