Green Bay Packers and Philadelphia Eagles set to clash, Sunday
Sunday afternoon, the Green Bay Packers host the Philadelphia Eaglies, in a late season match-up of two of the NFC's contenders.
If the playoffs would start today, the Eagles would be the third seed with a 7-2 record. Meanwhile, the Packers, with a 6-3 record, would be the seventh seed and out of the playoffs. Green Bay is one and a half games behind Detroit for the NFC North lead.
The Packers are coming off a big divisional win against the Chicago Bears, where Aaron Rodgers tied a franchise-record with six touchdowns. Philadelphia is also coming off a win on Monday Night Football over the Carolina Panthers, 45-21.
Sunday afternoon should be a shootout with Rodgers vs. Mark Sanchez. It's not the typical shootout match-up one would expect, with Nick Foles out with a collarbone injury. But Sanchez, can sling it, too. The former USC and New York Jets quarterback threw for 332 yards and two touchdowns against the Panthers, last Monday night.
Both the Eagles and Packers have big play potential with many weapons for Rodgers and Sanchez. Rodgers has Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, Davante Adams, Eddie Lacy and Andrew Quarless to work with. Sanchez has Jeremy Maclin, Jordan Matthews, Zach Ertz, Darren Sproles and LeSean McCoy.
Nelson and Maclin are having very similar seasons. Nelson has caught 56 receptions for 889 yards, and eight touchdowns. Maclin has caught 48 receptions for 828 yards and eight touchdowns. The most striking statistic between the two of them is yards per catch. Nelson averages 15.9 yards per catch, while Maclin averages 17.3 yards per catch.
While the spotlight will be on the offenses, Sunday afternoon, the defenses might be the difference makers. Clay Matthews moved inside last week against the Bears and led the Packers with 11 total tackles (nine solo, two for a loss), and a sack. Dom Capers brought a new intensity and it will be interesting to see how it works again with the scheme on tape for teams to prepare for.
The Eagles can get after the quarterback, as well. Philadelphia sacked Cam Newton nine times last week. Rodgers wasn't sacked once last week against Chicago, as rookie Corey Linsley is doing a solid job at center and T.J. Lang and Josh Sitton played despite being listed as questionable going into the Bears game.
Eagles: Nick Foles is out. Brent Celek, Bradley Fletcher, Mychal Kendricks and Jeff Maehl all were full practice participants yesterday.
Packers: Brandon Bostick and Jayrone Elliot have not practiced all week. Lang and Sitton left practice yesterday.
The game is set for 3:25 p.m. CDT at Lambeau Field, Sunday. Fans can watch it on Fox, or listen right here on ESPN 99.1
Sam Tastad will have pre-and-post game report for the Packers all season long. Follow him on Twitter @samtastad and email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.