Last Week’s Results: 6-8
All Time Results: 26-16, +8.16 Units
Green Bay Packers -4 vs. Philadelphia Eagles (-105) – .5 Units
Going back to the well here, taking the home team on Thursday Night Football, which has historically been a 62% play against the spread.
The typical Thursday night advantages for the home team are exacerbated here for Green Bay. The Packers are playing their third straight home game, while the Eagles have been traveling every other week. The Packers have the best home crowd in the sport, with a history of showing up big in Prime-Time games.
Green Bay at home on Thursday Night Football (since 2006) is 5-0 SU & 4-1 ATS with a +10.5 ATS margin. Their only ATS loss came on the inaugural season of Thursday night football with Brett Favre battling injury. With Rodgers in charge, the Packers are 4-0 SU & ATS, with a +13.6 ATS margin.
While the Eagles are working recently injured players like Alshon Jeffery and Dallas Goedert back into their system, Packers HC Matt Lafleur has preached continuity and simplicity for the Packers in the run-up to this game.
Lafleur: “The priority is, again, making sure our players are well-rested and making sure that they have a plan that allows them to go out there and play fast and not think a lot”.
Statistics are not capturing where the Packers are succeeding. The Pack are playing solid on both sides of the ball. They have a +6 turnover differential. Aaron Rodgers has 0 interceptions which has allowed them to be 3-0 SU & ATS, despite only mustering 4.8 Yards Per Play.
Total Over 46.5 – .25 Units
The handwringing over Aaron Rodgers in opinion is unwarranted. While he admitted this week, the offense needs to improve after only scoring 17 points per game to the start season, adjusting to a new offense explains a lot of the slow start. While facing three of the best defenses in football, Rodgers and the Packers offense have steadily improved in every category in each of their three wins.
Rodgers QBR was poor in Week 1 (34), average in week 2 (47), and an above-average last week (67). Similarly, the Packers scored 10 points Week 1, 21 points in Week 2 & 27 points last week. Now that they get a banged-up Eagles team with a bad secondary coming into their building I expect their improvement to continue and possibly accelerate.
The Packers defense has been the talk of the league through three weeks, with analysts like Bill Barnwell wondering if they are tops in the league on that side of the ball. Let’s pump the breaks a bit on the Packers D. They have faced an extremely rusty Mitch Trubisky who they shut down. Then they faced a good Vikings team that moved the ball effectively, yet came up short in several red zone opportunities. Finally, last week, the Broncos again moved the ball effectively through the first three-quarters of the game. Forcing turnovers is a key part of winning across an NFL season but cannot be counted on on a week to week basis.
The Philadelphia Eagles defense has been an extreme disappointment. Since key Free Agent signing Malik Jackson went down the Eagles have not had a significant pass rush. If the Eagles cannot create pressure rushing 4 and need to blitz, their poor secondary will be incredibly vulnerable against a Packers passing attack that is starting to click.
Packers to Win NFC North +120 – .25 Units
All things being equal, the better quarterback almost always prevails in the NFL. While I thought the Packers had a major coaching disadvantage the last 5+ years under Mike Mccarthy, now that they have an innovative mind in Matt Lafleur I think they have caught up in that category with the Vikings Mike Zimmer & the Bears Matt Naggy. Defensively as well, the Packers have closed the gap with their NFC North rivals. If they win tonight, then they will have a two-game lead over whichever team wins on Sunday when the Vikings travel to Soldier Field. Additionally, they have already beaten both the Bears & Vikings which could come in to play in a tie-breaking scenario.
Aaron Rodgers may not be the #1 quarterback in the NFL anymore. But I don’t think his low yardage totals over the first three weeks tells us much about him falling far from his incredibly high career standards. Rodgers has taken accountability for his slow start and more importantly has not forced the issue to better his stats at the expense of the team. Yes, the Packers have only scored 10 points in three-second halves so far this season – all of which came last week against the Broncos. But had the Packers scored 0 points in each of those halves, they would still boast a 3-0 record. With continued improvement, I expect the Packers to build on their NFC North division lead.
Rodgers opposing quarterbacks, Kirk Cousins, Mitch Trubisky and Matt Stafford, all have a history of giving games away multiple times through the course of the season. Aaron Rodgers has one of the lowest interceptions rates in NFL history. Moreover, A-Rod has the acumen and discipline to secure wins when his team has the advantage.
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