In the six games following Aaron Rodgers spelling out 'relax' to anyone who would listen, the Packers have gone 5-1, averaging 37.16 points a game. After a set-back against the Saints where Mark Ingram pounded their defense into submission, Green Bay came roaring back to do what they do best: obliterate Jay Cutler and the Bears. The offense did its part, exposing Chicago's secondary as mindless pieces of driftwood.
In the five wins since Rodgers told everyone to chill, each has seen the offense turn the ball over either once or not at all (Green Bay turned over three times to the Saints). Maybe it's not quite the John Candy speech from Super Bowl XXIII, but the calming effect has the Packers moving onward and upward. That can be frightening.
With 25 touchdowns and only three interceptions, Eagles fans will tell you that Rodgers is on pace to be replaced by Mark Sanchez next season. Kidding aside, Rodgers is the most relentless quarterback in football right now, sidestepping rushes and throwing boldly deep to where his receivers have likely burned off the opposition. The passing offense is running fluidly, which you'd expect with Rodgers in top form.
KEY STAT: Rodgers has topped a passer rating of 138.0 in four different games this season, two of which came against the Bears.
Lacy's had a bit of a rough go in his sophomore season, topping 100 yards on the ground just once, and coming nowhere close in any other week. The past couple games, however, the power back's been a pass-catching threat, hauling in 11 passes for 191 yards and a touchdown, so Rodgers is in business with a hefty checkdown target. Given the success of the passing game, Lacy hasn't needed to be especially dominant.
KEY STAT: Lacy has only topped four yards a carry in three of nine games, and finished below three yards a carry in three other games.
Has done more to burn Chicago than Mrs. O'Leary's cow, averaging just under 100 receiving yards a game on the season. For an Eagles defense that has mostly played well in press coverage, they do allow quite a bit of throws over the top, especially when Nate Allen bites on fakes. That's Nelson's domain, and keeping him bottled up will be the priority for this group.
KEY STAT: Nelson's stat-line for the season consists of four games where he's cleared 100 receiving yards, peaking with 209 against the Jets.
The Eagles' mounting pass rush will be looking for weaknesses among this group, and it may come up the gut. Rookie center Linsley has proven to be a gifted run-blocker, but his pass protection is far from perfect. Maybe there's a reason why Rodgers moves so unconventionally in the pocket. Forcing pressure up the middle could move Rodgers to the outside, where the sacks generally come for the Eagles.
KEY STAT: Linsley hasn't officially allowed a sack, but is on the hook for nine hurries and a hit.
The nine sacks, three picks, and forced fumble of Cam Newton will go a long way in inflating the Eagles statistics, but it's important to note that Newton was clearly banged up for the game's duration. The optimist would say it was a game that the Eagles should have won handily, and that they did. You have the win the games you're supposed to win, to dust off an old cliche.
Discounting Nick Foles' pick-six against the Texans and Carolina's two garbage touchdowns, the defense is only on the hook for 21 points over the last two games, and 45 points over the last four. One rough outing in Arizona framed by two long touchdowns is all that's really hurt the defense in the last month.
Cox recorded his first sack of the season on Monday, but that doesn't tell the story of how effective a pass rusher Cox truly is. The big man brings heavy pressure from the right side, forcing the quarterback off point, often into the waiting arms of Connor Barwin, Brandon Graham, and Vinny Curry. Cox is the most disruptive lineman on this team, both in pass and against the run.
KEY STAT: Cox hurried Newton a whopping seven times on Monday night, not counting the sack he got.
Barwin has become the first Eagles linebacker to rack up 10 sacks in one season, currently sitting at 10.5, after his three and a half drops of Newton Monday night. Barwin is usually the beneficially of Cox and Trent Cole's enormous pressure, but he cleans up well. As it stands now, the high-haired monster is on pace for 19 sacks, more than team cancer Jason Babin had in a 2011 career-year.
KEY STAT: In addition to accumulating sacks, Barwin made six stops behind the line in the running game on Monday night.
Unquestionably, Monday night was Fletcher's best game as an Eagle. His tight coverage on the outside was why he was brought into town, to stifle and suffocate. The pick-six was merely dessert for Fletcher, who should be more lauded for how he took away the edges from a desperate Newton. If this press coverage trend can keep up, Fletcher will earn an extension with this team.
KEY STAT: Opposing quarterbacks are only completing 45.21 percent of their throws when throwing Fletcher's way.
Statistics from Pro Football Focus were used to write this story.
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