With just five days separating the Eagles from their first home playoff game since 2006, let's take a closer look at Green Bay Packers, courtesy of Sports Illustrated's Damon Hack.
When looking at the Packers offense, Aaron Rodgers is spark that makes the engine go. He's thrown for 3,922 yards, 28 touchdowns and leads the NFC with a 101.2 quarterback rating. When Rodgers throws for two or more touchdowns in a game this season, the Packers are undefeated (8-0).
Hack argues that the best way to contain the Packers' signal caller is to keep him squarely in the pocket.
"Many of Rodgers best throws this season came when he was on the run," Hack wrote for this week's issue which goes on newsstands Wednesday. "If pass rushers push too par up field and lose sight of him, he'll make them pay."
The Eagles' 12th-ranked defense faces a stern test this week as the Packers scored over 24 points per game this season. Hack wrote that one of the keys for the Eagles on Sunday is to make the Packers one-dimensional.
"There was a theme that opposing defenses followed in their wins over the Packers," Hack wrote. "Stop the run, keep Rodgers in the pocket and in third-and-long situations, and eke out a victory."
Defensively speaking, Hack warns any team that faces Green Bay to be prepared for a bevy of blitzes that can disrupt even the most fluid of offenses. The Eagles have struggled to pick up the blitz in recent weeks, starting in the first three-plus quarters in New York, and must do a better job in pre-snap reads and in getting rid of the football quickly and effectively.
But perhaps it will be the Eagles' unsung hero on offense, running back LeSean McCoy, who will provide the final blow to the Packers season.
"In effect, (teams that beat the Packers) got physical with the Packers' D and off-set Green Bay's blitzes with their ground games," Hack wrote, "which also kept them out of third-and-long."
To defeat the Green Bay Packers is no easy task. But if any team has the manpower to battle the high-powered Packers offense, it's the Philadelphia Eagles.
*-- Posted by Josh Goldman, 4:40 p.m., January 4 *