Sarah: The 2010 Philadelphia Eagles are one of Andy Reid’s most unpredictable teams. Kevin Kolb is replacing Donovan McNabb at quarterback, LeSean McCoy is stepping in for Brian Westbrook at running back and Brandon Graham is filling in the gap left by Juqua Parker at defensive end. The list could go on.
In short, there’s a whole lot of new faces and way too many question marks for this Eagles team to mount a formidable challenge to Green Bay’s potent offense.
The key will be whether the Packers’ supposedly beefed up offensive line can stop Philly’s blitzing defense and give Aaron Rodgers time to feed his favorite targets. Ryan Grant also needs room to run the ball.
In turn, the Packers defense must shake its preseason cobwebs sans cornerback Al Harris and safety Atari Bigby and rattle Philly’s newbie QB, who has two impressive young wideouts in DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin.
As always, special teams will play a key role. Look for Jordy Nelson and Tramon Williams to shine in their new roles as kickoff and punt returners, and the Packers to roll.
Packers 35, Eagles 20
Steffen: A lot of analysts are looking at this match-up as a barn burner in the making. With two talented quarterbacks, each armed with an assortment of weapons at the skill positions, it’s easy to see why. However, it would be a mistake to overlook the defensive side of the ball. Eagles coach Andy Reid perennially fields strong defenses in Philadelphia and Green Bay is coming off a 2009 campaign that saw them ranked as the league’s second-rated squad by season’s end.
I see this as a low scoring, scrappy game. Green Bay has too much talent on offense to be held back for too long, but penalties (a systemic issue for Mike McCarthy’s teams) and inferior special teams play will keep Philadelphia in the game until the very end.
The Packers usually struggles against Philadelphia, but they will come out on top this time. They’ll have to fight to earn every point.
Packers 20, Eagles 16
Brady: The Packers have not won in Philadelphia since 1962, losing there nine consecutive times. There are problems in the Packers’ secondary and the Eagles are a team that loves to throw.
But the Packers’ offense has the look of one that could easily be the best in the league and that will be proven on Sunday.
As the trendy Super Bowl pick, the Packers have a lot to prove, but the pressure put on Eagles quarterback Kevin Kolb will be too much for him to handle. He’ll be pressured to get rid of the ball quickly against the Packers blitzing defense and the Eagles will have trouble keeping up with the Packers high-scoring offense.
The Packers will jump out to a quick lead and score a relatively easy win, while the Eagles get a garbage-time score that still leaves them multiple touchdowns away from the victory.
Packers 38, Eagles 17