Packers Game Preview: The Eagles Fly Into Lambeau

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Dec 18, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Green Bay Packers running back Ty Montgomery (88) is congratulated for scoring a touchdown by quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) during the second half against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. Green Bay won 30-27. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports
The Green Bay Packers will began their preseason tomorrow night at Lambeau Field hosting the Eagles. 

Coach Doug Pederson of the Eagles is no stranger to Lambeau Field, having been a Packers quarterback from 1996 to 1998, at the peak of the Favre era, and again from 2001 to 2004.

While he didn’t see the field much, due to Favre’s ironman streak, he was a capable backup who became a starter in Philly.

Pederson caused a stir this summer by claiming that this year’s Eagles are more talented than the 1996 Packers; a team that included Hall of Famers Brett Favre and Reggie White, and future Hall of Famer Leroy Butler.


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While the comparison may not hold up, this season’s nest of Eagles is significantly upgraded from the ones the Packers beat last November to kick off the “Run The Table” streak. Davante Adams dominated the first half with two TD’s and Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix provided a timely interception.

The two teams do not play in the regular season this year but could meet in the playoffs, where both teams have played some classic games, going back to the 1960 NFL Championship Game.

The horror of the “4th and 26” game will not be revisited in this article for personal reasons. Overall, the Packers are 27-16-0 against Philly.

The Eagles offense has been retooled, complementing last year’s breakout star Carson Wentz with the addition of former Bear Alshon Jeffery and LeGarrette Blount; fresh off a Super Bowl win with the Patriots.

Blount adds an imposing physical element to the run game, contrasting with the slashing runs of Darren Sproles. Donnel Pumphrey and Wendell Smallwood will get extended looks in this first game. Veteran Torrey Smith joined the Eagles in the offseason to add to Wentz’s complement of weapons.

Newcomer WR Marcus Johnson adds explosive athleticism and should get an extended look in this game as he masters the Eagles’ offense. Wentz will most likely maintain his role despite competition from Nick Foles and Matt McGloin, Foles may take the majority of snaps in this contest.

The Eagles bolstered their defensive front with the addition of veteran Chris Long, and new draftee Alex McAlister can be expected to get some reps at DE. 14th-overall pick Derek Barnett should see plenty of action as he gets used to NFL speed.

The Tennessee standout has quick hands and feet that brought him comparisons to former Volunteer, Eagle, and Packer Reggie White.

Jordan Hicks and Nigel Bradham can be penciled in as linebackers, but the front four is the key to the Eagle defense.

A weak secondary could become a problem for Philly, with only safety Malcolm Jenkins expected to have much impact.

Don’t be too optimistic if Brett Hundley or Taysom Hill has a monster game, this may be the easiest game of the season for the Packers’ receivers.

Special teams look to be set on both sides, but the Packers will have to prove to let punter Jacob Shum depart in the offseason was a prudent move.

Rookie Justin Vogel from The U will handle the punting reps, as well as holding for Mason Crosby. Crosby hopes to overcome the missed field goals on Family Night with a strong performance in this game.  

For the visitors, P Donnie “Thunder Foot” Jones appears to be locked in, and kicker Caleb Sturgis will handle the kicking for Philadelphia.

Not many conclusions can be drawn from an early preseason game. Rodgers will probably get slightly more playing time than Bart Starr will in this game.

Quarterback Brett Hundley has been taking snaps with the first team offense, so he will likely play most of the first half.

Coach Mike McCarthy will most likely be content to run the ball frequently, as the new stable of RBs takes shape. Davon House is not expected to play, due to a hamstring tweak on Saturday.  

With the game, itself may be forgettable, but keep an eye on the younger players, s this is their chance to make an impression.

Players will have a few extra weeks to stand out; the NFL has eliminated the 1st round of cuts from 90 to 75.

A single cut to a 53-man roster will take place, after the preseason ends, on September 1st.

Until then, training camp invitees and undrafted free agents will battle it out with their football futures at stake.

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