The Eagles and Packers will square off Thursday evening in a prime-time affair with a lot of question marks surrounding both teams. Even though it is just pre-season, both squads and coaching staffs have a ton of stuff to sift through before the playing gets going for real in early September.
It’s expected that Aaron Rodgers will sit this game out entirely, as was evident by the fact that backup QB Brett Hundley was taking first-team reps yesterday in practice. Rodgers rarely has played in all four pre-season contests during his time in Green Bay, so this is nothing out of the ordinary. Besides, after a season of carrying his team on his back, giving the elite QB more of a rest sure can’t hurt.
Philadelphia underwent a bunch of changes in the off-season, and you can bet they’re much more primed to contend in the NFC East this time around. Carson Wentz remains the starter, but they’ve brought back former Eagle Nick Foles to serve as his backup. Make no mistake though, Foles is definitely ready and capable to take over if Wentz struggles. Having that type of depth under centre definitely helps in the pre-season. Philadelphia has also brought in a wealth of talent on offense, with big names like Alshon Jeffery, Torrey Smith, and running back LeGarrette Blount all primed to try and vault the Eagles back into the post-season.
As always, Week 1 of the pre-season is always fun, even if only to see how all of these new additions will look in their new jerseys. It’s more of the same for the consistent Packers, but for Philly it will be interesting to see how all this talent can mesh together. It should make for an intriguing pre-season showdown and we’ve got you covered. Read on below for a full game breakdown and details on a Week 1 betting pick.
Eagles vs. Packers Betting Odds:
Philadelphia Eagles +1 (-110)
@ Green Bay Packers -1 (-110)
Over 39 (-110)
Under 39 (-110)
Betting odds provided by Bovada.lv
Eagles vs. Packers Pick:
One of the major keys in pre-season handicapping with the NFL is assessing the depth at the quarterback position of the teams involved. The Eagles have it for this game, and without Rodgers playing – the Packers do not. Brett Hundley is very inexperienced, especially considering he missed last pre-season with an ankle injury. This is a big month for him, and it will be interesting to see if he’s up for the challenge. He’ll face a stiff test early on Thursday evening, likely going head-to-head with the Eagles’ starters.
Doug Pederson has already come out and said “I want everybody to play” with regard to his starters – refreshing to hear from a head coach. Philly is taking this new era seriously, and with a bunch of new faces to acclimatize, the game action certainly helps. Expect a couple of series’ each from the Eagles’ first-teamers against Green Bay. Really though, that’s often a bit better than most teams at this time of year.
For the Packers, they are on the other end of the spectrum entirely with regard to playing their starters. Very little of them will feature, and many on that team actually prefer practice reps to pre-season ones. It’s also worth mentioning that wideout Jordy Nelson also won’t feature at all on Thursday night. His injury recovery has gone well, and he’ll be primed and ready to go for Week 1. It’s expected he gets some snaps in Weeks 2 and 3 of the exhibition season.
Just listening to some of the coaches and players from each of the camps, and it’s clear these teams are at different ends in terms of what they value from pre-season action. A lot of pre-season handicapping is decoding motivation, and to me it is apparent that the Eagles are putting a higher emphasis on Thursday’s opening game than Green Bay. Even with the Packers at home, many starters won’t play, whereas all of Philly’s seemingly will. The Eagles also have a lot of new faces keen to make a solid first impression, and combine this with a healthy dose of the talented duo of Foles & Wentz, and it should give Philly a decisive edge in Week 1.
PICK = Eagles +1 (-110)