Preview: Rodgers wants more from offense when Packers host Eagles
GREEN BAY, Wis. — Only one team in the Super Bowl era — the 2001 New England Patriots — started the season 1-3 and rebounded to win it all.
Despite that fact, the Philadelphia Eagles (1-2) aren’t panicking after back-to-back losses.
“You know, we’re not really looking at this as a bad spot,” Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz said. “We’re 1-2, yeah, but, you know, we have a lot of the season left. (There are) little things here and there in each game that we know we’re going to get corrected and we’re going to be in a good spot. And like I said, we’re excited Thursday night to go show what we can do and get going back in the win column.”
Wentz and the Eagles will head to Green Bay to face the Packers (3-0) for the first Thursday night meeting between the two teams.
Philadelphia lost its past two games by a combined seven points, but help is on the way with Alshon Jeffery. The former Pro Bowl receiver is expected to play after missing all but six snaps over the past two weeks with a calf injury.
“I miss it a lot, man,” Jeffery said. “One or two plays, we’re still in the game. At the same time, it’s good to face adversity. One and two is not where we wanted to start, but that’s where we’re at. Hey, I’m up for the challenge.”
Another receiver looking to make an impact on Thursday is Packers wideout Davante Adams. After grabbing a career-high 13 touchdowns last year, the two-time Pro Bowler has yet to cross the goal line this season. But Adams hasn’t been thinking much about his lack of scoring, as he and his wife, Devanne Villarreal, welcomed baby girl Deija Leigh Adams on Sept. 20.
“It’s been a lot, but now I’m playing for a stronger purpose than I was before,” Adams said. “So it’s a great feeling. It’s something that you’ve just got to feel. It’s tough to talk about.”
Adams has five touchdown receptions in seven Thursday games, including four in his past five Thursday matchups.
WHERE’S THE RUSH?
The Eagles only have two sacks in two games and none from their edge rushers. One came from safety Andrew Sendejo on a blitz. The other was from tackle Tim Jernigan, who is out with a broken foot. Veteran Brandon Graham got $27 million in guaranteed money to remain in Philly after only getting four sacks last season. Michael Bennett, who had nine, was traded to New England. Chris Long, who had 6½, wasn’t brought back so he retired. Derek Barnett, a 2017 first-round pick, had no hits on quarterback Matthew Stafford last week.
“I know how the sacks go,” Graham said. “It’s a long season and you never know how stuff ends. There’s going to be some funny stuff that will be happening and I’m hoping we’re on the good side of it. The only thing I’m worried about is to make sure that we don’t separate from each other, which I doubt we’ll do.”
While the Eagles are struggling to get to the passer, the Packers are having very few issues defensively. Green Bay’s four interceptions and 12 sacks are each tied for third most in the league. Preston Smith and Za’Darius Smith combined for eight total tackles, six quarterback hits, five sacks and a forced fumble in the Packers’ win over the Denver Broncos on Sunday.
AARON WANTS MORE
Green Bay enters with the 28th-ranked offense. That’s not good enough for the Packers’ two-time MVP quarterback.
“We’ve never wanted to just manage the football game around here, so the standards are very high for us,” Aaron Rodgers said. “We gotta play a lot better on offense. We’ve played some good defenses, no doubt about it, but the standard and the expectations are very high here and we haven’t met them on offense. … At some point, we can’t expect our defense to shut everybody down. They have been. But at some point the offense is going to have to wake up and start making some plays.”
Wentz had eight of his passes dropped against the Lions, including a deep ball to J.J. Arcega-Whiteside that could’ve been the go-ahead score in the final minute. A week earlier, Nelson Agholor dropped what could’ve been a go-ahead 60-yard TD with under two minutes left in a 24-20 loss at Atlanta.
“It’s part of the game. Guys are going to drop passes,” Wentz said. “We’re going to put the ball on the ground. I’m going to throw picks. We’re going to miss reads. Things happen. Guys make mistakes. Any time somebody drops a pass or something like that, I make sure I go right up to them and tell them it’s coming their way the next time and just try to keep building them up. Staying positive. Again, it’s frustrating. No one wants to make mistakes but there’s nothing you can really do about it. Just have to keep building those guys up.”
PHILADELPHIA (1-2) at GREEN BAY (3-0)
Thursday, 8:20 p.m. ET, Fox, NFL Network and Amazon Prime
OPENING LINE — Packers by 3
RECORD VS. SPREAD — Eagles 0-3; Packers 3-0
SERIES RECORD — Packers lead 27-16-0
LAST MEETING — Eagles beat Packers 27-13, Nov. 28, 2016
LAST WEEK — Eagles lost to Lions 27-24; Packers beat Broncos 27-16
AP PRO32 RANKING — Eagles No. 16, Packers No. 5
EAGLES OFFENSE — OVERALL (13), RUSH (17), PASS (12).
EAGLES DEFENSE — OVERALL (16), RUSH (2), PASS (29).
PACKERS OFFENSE — OVERALL (28), RUSH (24), PASS (27).
PACKERS DEFENSE — OVERALL (13), RUSH (25), PASS (5).
STREAKS, STATS AND NOTES — First Thursday night game between Eagles and Packers. … Green Bay 5-1 in past six against Philadelphia in regular season and postseason, including 2-1 in Green Bay. … Eagles are 5-5 in past 10 regular-season games vs. Green Bay. … Philadelphia last defeated Packers on Nov. 10, 2013, at Lambeau Field. … Eagles have second-highest conversion rate (56.3 percent) on third downs. … QB Carson Wentz has been sacked six times and hit 14 times in past two games. … WR Nelson Agholor has six TD receptions in past five regular-season games. … RB Jordan Howard has four TDs rushing in past three vs. NFC North. … RB Miles Sanders had two fumbles on same drive vs. Lions. … TE Zach Ertz moved into second place on franchise list with 454 receptions. … Ertz fourth TE in NFL history to reach 5,000 yards receiving. … Philadelphia only has two sacks. … All-Pro DT Fletcher Cox had no tackles vs. Lions. … K Jake Elliott perfect on six extra points and four field goals. … Philadelphia’s special teams allowed 100-yard kickoff return vs. Lions. … Green Bay looks to win four games in September for first time since 2007. … Packers 4-1 in past five games on Thursday night. … QB Aaron Rodgers has 10 TDs and 0 INTs with a passer rating of 112.4 in past four Thursday night games. … Green Bay has won six of seven Thursday games in which Rodgers’ passer rating has eclipsed 100.0. … WR Davante Adams has five TD receptions in seven Thursday games, including four in past five. TE Jimmy Graham has six TD receptions in Thursday games, most among NFL TEs since 1948. … CB Tramon Williams has four interceptions in Thursday games. … OLB Preston Smith matched career high with three sacks vs. Broncos. … Smith has 4½ sacks this season, second most in NFL among linebackers. Fantasy tip: Rodgers and Adams love Thursday games. Adams’ five TD receptions on Thursdays tied for No. 2 among active players since 2014.