Eagles-Packers predictions, key matchups

Here are the views of members of the Daily News sports staff on today's Eagles-Packers game:


I am always uncomfortable when I get the feeling that I'm underrating Andy Reid. So I'm uncomfortable here. But I look at the Eagles' defense and I look at what Aaron Rodgers has done lately, and it doesn't add up to forecasting an Eagles victory.

Sure, there are ways the Eagles can win. Get a lead, run the ball, get the crowd whipped up, Asante Samuel picks a pass. Definitely could happen. Will it happen?

It's easier for me to envision Rodgers throwing bombs and Clay Matthews stripping a fumble from Michael Vick, with Vick down a couple of touchdowns and trying to do too much on his own.

If I'm wrong, then the time is Andy's, and probably, Sean McDermott's, which would be good, because he's a decent guy who hasn't been able to prove definitively that he's up to running the defense. Beating Rodgers, unless it's 42-40, might do that for him.

But they'll all have to show me.

Packers 28, Eagles 27


If the Eagles were playing any of the other four NFC playoff teams Sunday at the Linc - the Falcons, the Bears, the Saints or the Seahawks - I probably would pick them to win. But they're not. They're playing the Packers, who, despite their No. 6 seeding, probably are the best team in the conference right now and most certainly are the worst possible matchup right now for the Eagles.

I think Michael Vick and the Eagles' offense will have their hands full dealing with Clay Matthews and Charles Woodson and the Packers blitz.

And I think the Eagles defense, with all of its injuries, with all of its inexperience, will get sliced and diced by Aaron Rodgers and his deep, talented stable of wide receivers.

The Eagles can win Sunday. But it would take a lot of things going right. Finding a way to pressure Rodgers. Getting a game-of-his-life performance from much-maligned cornerback Dimitri Patterson.

Ending their incredible generosity in the red zone. Winning the turnover battle. Big games from DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin. A bigger game from Vick.

It's been a good season, but I think it ends Sunday.

Packers 31, Eagles 23

Other selections:

Ed Barkowitz: Packers 20, Eagles 17

Bill Conlin: Packers, 27, Eagles 24

Sam Donnellon: Packers 31, Eagles 21

Marcus Hayes: Eagles 27, Packers 20

Rich Hofmann: Packers 30, Eagles 24

John Smallwood: Eagles 28, Packers 24

More on our picks by clicking here.


Here is how members of the sports staff at the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel see the game:

BOB McGINN: The best guess is a blowout. Either Aaron Rodgers and his swift receivers have a field day against what seems to be a porous defense, or Dom Capers goes down in flames for the second January in a row against another big-play offense. The Philly crowd can help and hurt the Eagles. The start will be crucial.

TOM SILVERSTEIN: It's rare that you have this much conviction when it comes to a playoff game, but the Eagles are too banged up, too soft on defense and too ripe for the picking for me not to take the Packers. This shouldn't be a game unless the Packers let it be one. Packers 30, Eagles 16.

MICHAEL HUNT: Lincoln Financial Field is one of the nastiest, loudest, meanest and most hostile venues in the NFL. If the Packers jump on the Eagles early, that will first quiet the joint and then cause the fans to turn on their own. So, a quick start is imperative. Packers 21, Eagles 17.

GARY D'AMATO: Both teams should be able to score points. The Eagles have big-time, big-play capability, and Aaron Rodgers will be able to throw the ball against a patchwork secondary. I see the Packers a little better equipped to win a shootout, even on the road. Packers 34, Eagles 31.

LORI NICKEL: If the weather is bad or windy, what if it comes down to the scrambling QBs? Aaron Rodgers has 64 carries for 356 yards, 4 TDs and a 5.6 yard per run average. Michael Vick has 100 carries for 676 yards, 9 TDs and a 6.8 average. Green Bay's defense will have to be improved to stop Vick. Packers 24, Eagles 20.


1. Eagles TE Brent Celek, RT Winston Justice and RG Nick Cole/Max Jean-Gilles vs. Packers LOLB Clay Matthews: Matthews, a leading candidate for NFL Defensive Player of the Year, has 13 1/2 sacks. He will move around, but Celek, Justice and Cole/Jean-Gilles will deal with him the most. They didn't deal with him very well in Week 1. Advantage: Packers

2. Eagles RCB Dimitri Patterson vs. WR Greg Jennings: Packers will look to match up Jennings against the struggling Patterson. Jennings, the Packers' most dangerous vertical threat, has 12 TD catches and is averaging 16.6 yards per catch. Advantage: Packers

3. Eagles WR DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin and Jason Avant vs. Packers CBs Charles Woodson, Tramon Williams and Sam Shields: Packers have given up just 16 TD passes and lead the league in opponent passer rating (67.2). Jackson is lethal, but also can disappear. Advantage: Even


To read our breakdown of reasons why the Eagles win and reasons why they don't, click here



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