XANDAMERE’S SHOWDOWN SLANT
Sunday Night Football has the Packers visiting the Eagles for a 46.5 total game with Philly favored by 6.5 points. I bet the NFL thought this would be a really exciting game when they made the schedule, and while the Eagles look every bit as good as expected (better, really), the Packers are sitting at 4-7 with a minus 41 point differential and have looked absolutely lost on offense, only reaching 30 points once all year (and it took overtime) while averaging just 18.4 points per game.
We’ll start with Philly and their run game, where I feel like I could copy/paste what I’ve written for their previous Showdowns. It’s a multi-headed monster here with Miles Sanders clearly in the lead, but still only playing around 60% or so of the snaps and (unfortunately) seeing very little receiving work. Sanders has become a talented yardage-and-touchdown back on a good offense, and it’s a good matchup, but he’s only seen 20 carries once this season and isn’t getting passing work to make up for it. The matchup very much tilts towards the run here as the Packers are 12th in pass defense DVOA but just 29th against opposing run games, so there’s ceiling for Sanders here if he can get workload, and if he can avoid being vultured. Speaking of vultures, Kenneth Gainwell and Boston Scott will both mix in as backups, with Gainwell being more of a receiving back while Scott operates on the ground. Both are viable as punts or if something happens to Sanders, but at their prices, you would need an injury or a touchdown. And, of course, Jalen Hurts is a threat to score (and seems to love doing so). Hurts has barely over half of Sanders’ rushing yardage on the season, but has eight touchdowns to Sanders’ six.
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In the passing game, we know the deal. A.J. Brown and Devonta Smith are the dudes here. Both are awesome, but the matchup isn’t great, and if you ask me to pick, I think I’d lean (slightly) toward Brown. The price gap has narrowed a bit since the last time I wrote one of these when I leaned towards Smith, which is the only thing that really tilts me one way or the other. It’s worth noting here that with Dallas Goedert out, the snaps went to backup tight end Jack Stoll . . . but he only saw one target last week. Now, Hurts only attempted 25 passes, but Brown and Smith accounted for 15 of them – a 60% target share is pretty great! Everyone else in this passing game is a dart throw. Stoll will be on the field a ton but not likely to command much volume, Quez Watkins and Zach Pascal are splitting the WR3 role (and combined for three targets last week sans Goedert), Grant Calcaterra is the TE2 and can be an MME punt play. If you ask me to pick, I’d say Quez for his big play ability, then Pascal, then Stoll, but man these guys are all thin. Realistically, the only guys I think you can count on in the Philly passing game are Brown and Smith, and then sprinkle in smidges of the others into your tournament play.