Eagles Offense vs. Packers Defense

Mark Sanchez led a mostly-solid offense in a steamrolling of the Panthers. Chances are it won't be so easy up in Lambeau.


Any inkling that the Eagles offense might suffer under Mark Sanchez hasn't fully been dispelled, given that Carolina's pass defense is about as effective as a Swiss cheese umbrella. Sanchez did look good at times, awkward in others, but his command was more strong than not. Even as the team couldn't establish the run against a determined Luke Keuchly, Sanchez was able to go back to the pass and make some good, hard throws.

It may be proven that the Eagles offense is more 'system' than the man behind center, and Sanchez's apparent rejuvenation will play a part in deciding how much credit goes to Chip Kelly's mode of preparation. For now, Eagles fans should appreciate a likely combination of both team strength and the reawakened Sanchez. He's needed for the long haul.

Mark Sanchez

Who would've guessed that the first Eagles game this season without an offensive turnover would come with Sanchez's first start in nearly two years? Nick Foles went pickless against the Redskins, but a Darren Sproles fumble smudged the turnover column there. Sanchez, as stated, looks confident behind the line, even if he appears to read his downfield options a little differently than Foles, and does rush some of his throws. Still, it could be a hell of a lot worse.

KEY STAT: Through well set-up screens and some sharp downfield throws, Sanchez is averaging 15.26 yards per completion (35 completions, 534 yards).

Darren Sproles

LeSean McCoy struggled outside of his one touchdown on Monday, but Sproles picked up the slack with two scores: one on a punt return, and the other on a laughably easy eight-yard run where Riley Cooper launched a violent block. Sproles now has six total touchdowns on the season, four away from tying his career high of 10 with the Saints in 2011. Can you believe New Orleans wanted to cut him outright?

KEY STAT: Sproles' four rushing touchdowns are the most he's ever had in one season, topping three with the Chargers in 2009.

Jordan Matthews

Now there's a statement game: seven catches, 138 yards, two touchdowns, and an aggressive edge that knocked around Carolina's secondary like a speed bag. Matthews finds himself on pace to tie the mark for most receiving touchdowns by a rookie in Eagles history; Calvin Williams himself had nine in 1990. Add to it the fact that Matthews is on pace for 800 receiving yards, and you see quite the blossoming contributor.

KEY STAT: Over his last seven games, Matthews has made at least four catches in all but one. He's caught at least six balls in three of those games.

Jason Peters

Peters did a number on Charles Johnson Monday night, boxing out the Panthers end, among other rushers, with his usual aplomb. Sanchez needs the likes of Peters and Evan Mathis shielding the blind side as he tightens his grip on the offense, and Mathis will need a little time to return to form. Peters, however, is on his way to another Pro Bowl, as well as another likely All-Pro designation.

KEY STAT: In nine games, Peters is only on the hook for one allowed sack: all the way back to the Jaguars in Week 1.


Night and day. After getting run over by the Ingram Express, Green Bay does what they enjoy doing more than anything, and that's ruining Jay Cutler's day (night, in this case). Pass rushing less-than-stellar quarterbacks has been Dom Capers' game, and quite obvious given recent shellackings of Cutler, Cam Newton, and especially Christian Ponder

It's all-or-nothing sometimes with this defense: if the pass rush and wily pass coverage doesn't shut down the opposition, Green Bay can be susceptible to both the deep ball, as well as commitment to the run. Even a big mean animal can be knocked off balance if you hit it hard enough between the eyes. It's just a matter of landing the first punch.

Julius Peppers

Leveling Cutler on Sunday night may have been an exercise in catharticism more than anything for 34-year-old Peppers, whose four seasons in Chicago netted one title game appearance and little more. The big man's added five sacks to a career total of 124, with 3.5 coming in the last three games alone. Like Charles Woodson and the recently-retired London Fletcher, Peppers is a geezer who isn't succumbing to the passage of time.

KEY STAT: Peppers is kept well-preserved, only topping 50 snaps in five of the nine games.

Clay Matthews

Matthews had two signature plays Sunday night: crunching Chris Williams on an end-around gone bad, and darting out of the backfield to chase down Matt Forte up the sideline. For the third straight game, Philadelphia contends with a heavily-promoted roughneck on defense, surviving J.J. Watt and Luke Keuchly. Matthews brings complete danger to all aspects of the game, and remains a terror. Ask Kevin Kolb.

KEY STAT: Although the Williams stop may say otherwise, Matthews has only forced nine stops in 183 rushing snaps.

Tramon Williams

The weak link in Green Bay's secondary might just be Williams, a notable sore spot for Matthew Stafford and Drew Brees to pick on in what ended up two Packer losses. Four touchdowns are counted against Williams against just one interception, and has allowed 35 receptions in 55 targets. Opponents boast a 101.8 quarterback rating when going against Williams, who's allowed 175 yards after the catch.

KEY STAT: Of Green Bay's corners, Williams is most effective against the run, recording five stops in 239 snaps.

Statistics from Pro Football Focus were used to write this story.

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