Behind Enemy Lines: Matchups

Bill Huber and Adam Caplan provide their insights on the matchups to watch in Sunday's season opener. Who will the Eagles attack on offense? Who do the Packers have to stop when they're on offense? And why will the Packers win (or lose)?

Adam Caplan, a writer based in Philadelphia, fills us in on the team he covers regularly. If you missed Part 1, in which Adam breaks down the Eagles, click here.


Bill: Quick: Who ranks third in the NFC in sacks since 2006? Answer: Trent Cole. Who? Cole has 42 sacks over the last four seasons while lining up primarily at right defensive end. That means he'll tangle with left tackle Chad Clifton. Veteran right tackle Mark Tauscher will battle Brandon Graham, the Eagles' first-round pick after recording 20.5 sacks over his final two seasons at Michigan. Clifton and Tauscher played superbly against the Colts' duo of Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis. They'll need a repeat performance.

Adam: Here's the thing: If the Eagles don't get a pass rush, which is hard to do because Rodgers is unbelievable against the blitz, then they're in trouble. They've got to mix up their fronts. The Packers' offensive line is not great, but Rodgers gets rid of the ball so quickly against the blitz. When you've got an average offensive line but you have a quarterback who's willing to get rid of the ball quickly, you can negate that problem. The way you beat the Eagles is you spread them out, because they don't have a deep secondary. With Jennings, Driver, Nelson and Jones, I think you go a lot of three or four wides.


Adam: I think the Eagles are going to attack Tramon Williams. There's no doubt about it. He's a great story considering how they got him and how he worked his way up the depth chart. He's not a starting-quality cornerback as far as I'm concerned. I think he's a valuable guy to have and he's a good nickel corner. I think they're going to attack him. I think you can attack him and they will do that. Charles Woodson is a guy you've got to watch, even in his 30s, but he's really their only solid defensive back. Nick Collins is a nice player, don't make no mistake about it, but to me he's not a star like Woodson. I think they're going to attack the secondary.

Bill: Can the Packers get any pressure on Kevin Kolb? The Packers' starting defense got practically no pressure on opposing quarterbacks during the preseason. Some of that was defensive coordinator Dom Capers' vanilla approach and some of that was the absence of outside linebackers Clay Matthews and Brad Jones and defensive end Cullen Jenkins. All three are back, and the Eagles have questions with the interior of their offensive line. Center Jamaal Jackson didn't play a single snap in the preseason after tearing an ACL eight months ago. Like with Scott Wells in Green Bay, the center is the No. 1 guy in trying to figure out who's blitzing and who's not blitzing. Expect Capers to blitz to test the Eagles' line and Jackson's readiness.


Aaron Rodgers and the Packers' offense is going to score a preposterous amount of points this year. He's a great talent and he's surrounded by great talent. Specifically for this game, the Eagles love to blitz and Rodgers destroyed blitzing defenses last season.


Philadelphia's special teams are far, far superior. Based on history, they have the advantage at kicker, punter, kickoff returner and punt returner. The preseason might not mean much with all of the mixing and matching of personnel, but the coverage units gave up big plays during the exhibition slate. That's a recipe for disaster against punt returner DeSean Jackson and kickoff returner Ellis Hobbs.


I'll tell you where they're going to kill the Eagles: Jermichael Finley will destroy the Eagles. The Eagles historically are one of the worst defenses covering the tight end. They will destroy them. I look for a huge game for Finley: five to seven catches and over 100 yards.


They're going to have to continue to score and they're going to have to somehow control Rodgers. The other big thing is stop the big play. The Packers are a big-play offense. If they can limit their big plays, they'll be in this game.


Bill: Eagles 34, Packers 31: I know what you see in the preseason doesn't mean a thing. It just doesn't. And yet, I didn't like what I saw from the Packers' defense and the Packers' special teams during the preseason. Cornerbacks coach Joe Whitt says Williams is his best cover guy — yes, better than Woodson — but he seems to struggle against the long ball. Morgan Burnett and Sam Shields are rookies who aren't finished products. The Packers' offense just won't be able to overcome the big plays allowed in the passing game and special teams.

Adam: Packers 31, Eagles 27: I think it's going to be a tight game but in the end, I don't think they're going to be able to stop Rodgers — not that anyone can. He's one of the best quarterbacks in the National Football League. I think he's actually better than Brees and Manning. I think he's going to be a Hall of Famer. That's the way I feel. I watch a lot of tape and talk to a lot of people and I just feel that the guy is special.

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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at and Facebook under Bill Huber.

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