Desperately looking for a win to keep their playoff hopes alive, the (4-6) Green Bay Packers are headed to the (5-5) Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field where road wins have been anything but easy this year (8.30pm ET Monday).
In fact, Philadelphia has proven to be the toughest place for opposing teams this year as the Eagles are an undefeated 4-0 at their stomping grounds. They are winning in dominant fashion too as the Eagles have outscored their opponents 108-38 in their first four home games. Additionally, the Birds have scored at least 20 points in their four home games, while limiting their opponents to 15 or less. It’s the first time since 1953 that the team has had this kind of consistent success as the home team.
So despite the Eagles being 5-5 on the year thanks to being absolutely useless on the road, this is no easy game for Green Bay. The way the team has been struggling (four consecutive losses), it really could serve up another elementary home win for the Eagles, who have started off the season at least 4-0 at the Linc in two of the past three years.
In a lot of ways, this game will keep the playoff hopes of the winner alive and all but dash those of the loser. The easy prediction and pick for this preview would be to assume Philadelphia continues its otherworldly play at home, but the team will be without Ryan Mathews this week. He is just two weeks removed from his best game of the season, in which he ran for 109 yards on 19 carries and two touchdowns at home. It was his best start since the season opener against the Cleveland Browns.
Is the absence of Mathews enough to be bearish on the chances of the Eagles to go 5-0 at the Linc? Probably not. Especially since whether it be at home or on the road, Philadelphia still boasts one of the league’s best defenses. At home that defense is the number one in the league and second place isn’t even particularly close.
What Happened to the Packers?
Just a few years ago, Green Bay was hoisting a Super Bowl trophy and Aaron Rodgers (pictured) was celebrating multiple MVP awards as one of the best quarterbacks in the league. They were almost always automatically slotted in as the winners of the NFC North too as for a long time, the Packers were the class of the division.
Last year it was the Minnesota Vikings who took those honors and this year, it’s the Detroit Lions who are likely to win the divisional title. Meanwhile the Packers are 4-6 and barely holding on to their playoff lives. They are ranked 10th in the NFL in points, which ordinarily would be pretty good, but it’s a far cry from where they were and what they should be. Rodgers is a shell of himself, just 13th in passer rating and more shockingly, 26th in yards per pass attempt.
Green Bay’s running game is non-existent as the only person to even rush for a touchdown this year is Rodgers himself. Not that the Packers have been a running juggernaut in the past, but to have no touchdowns by a running back is glaring.
Unfortunately for the Packers, this would be the area to exploit as the Eagles are ranked just 17th in the NFL in rushing defense. Philadelphia though does rank third in the league in rushing touchdowns allowed with just five.
Why are the Eagles so Good at Home?
If the Eagles do manage to make the playoffs, they will be doing so because of what they have done at the Linc. Following this Packers’ game, all of their remaining home games will be within the division. Home cooking could be the difference between the Washington Redskins or New York Giants taking that wildcard spot instead of the Birds.
It is somewhat curious as to what it is about the Linc that makes the Eagles play so much better. Obviously the fans are a big part of the team’s success but it’s more than that. Counting just 2014 and this year, the Eagles have won 10 in a row at home. Both seasons they started undefeated at the Linc too, 6-0 (finished 6-2) in 2014 and 4-0 so far in 2016.
The Linc may not be in line with Lambeau or CenturyLink in Seattle, but Philly’s home is starting to develop into a fearsome place to play much like its predecessor in Veteran’s Stadium. On the year, the Eagles just aren’t a good team. They are sloppy with too many penalties and offensively have a lot of struggles with dropped passes. At home, none of that seems to be magnified and the team just wins, no matter what.
Philly has beaten great teams this year at the Linc, from the then-undefeated Vikings to their last home game against the Atanta Falcons, one of the hottest teams in the NFL. They have stopped players better than Rodgers this year and this game, if all holds to form, should be no different.
Our Preview’s Green Bay Packers vs Philadelphia Eagles Picks & Betting Predictions
The Eagles are outscoring their opponents by 70 in their four games so far this season, so it a little surprising that the offshore USA-serving sportsbooks have the spread at three and a half to four points. It’s not like the Packers are the Dallas Cowboys, winners of their last 10. No, this is a team that has lost four in a row and they have not looked like a well-oiled machine for much longer than that.
- So our betting predictions’ advice and pick is to take the Eagles -3.5pts @ -110 with 5Dimes Sportsbook as they continue to dominate at home and continue to build off of the NFL’s highest home point differential. It is the same -3.5pts spread for -113 odds with BetOnline, while it is -4pts with Bovada (at odds of -110) and Bookmaker (-105).
- As for the total points to be scored in this NFL game, it is set around 48. Expect the Eagles defense to win out and keep the total score below that mark. Our betting pick is to go under 48pts @ -115 with Bovada. It is under 47pts @ -110 with BetOnline, while Bookmaker and 5Dimes both go under 47.5pts for the same -110 odds.
Marilee writes on NFL, MLB, NBA & tennis for USA Betting. Another area of her sporting journalistic expertise is pro wrestling. A native of Philadelphia and a big Eagles fan, she has been a sports writer for many major websites including Bleacher Report and Rant Sports. She started her journalistic career early, as sports editor for her college newspaper.