Eagles versus Packers: Early subplots to ponder ahead of Week 12

Robert Quinn #98, Philadelphia Eagles (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Robert Quinn #98, Philadelphia Eagles (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

How fun has this been? What an NFL season! This is why we tune in week to week and year after year… It’s the unpredictable nature of competitive sports. Once the Philadelphia Eagles take the field to battle the Green Bay Packers on Sunday Night Football, a little over seven full days will have elapsed since the curtain drew on their thrilling come-from-behind victory versus the Indianapolis Colts. We will also know the results of 14 of the NFL’s scheduled 16 games for Week 12.

We’ll probably see a few overreactions and emotion-fueled tweets, but Sunday’s primetime game is one that we’ve had circled for a while.

Round 11 promises that the Birds will be in one corner dressed in all black, and The Pack and their Cheeseheads will be in the other. Truthfully, that’s all you need for a heavyweight bout.

Philly looks to become the first NFL team to notch a double-digit win total on the season. The Packers are looking to simply keep their playoff hopes alive. Those are, perhaps, two of the biggest subplots to this game, but make no mistake about it. There are plenty of other topics to discuss.

Here are a few more of the 20 or so theories that we’ll toss around until the Eagles and Packers face off.

They don’t meet every year, but two teams that began playing one another back in 1933 renew acquaintances for the 46th time on Sunday. Philly is favored, as they should be, but two teams loaded with star power will offer quite a few subplots during what figures to be a gridiron classic.

Okay, this has to be where Robert Quinn’s breakout game occurs… we hope.

Robert Quinn played the Green Bay Packers five times as a member of the Chicago Bears, and he’s played them ten times overall. Sunday night’s game will be the second time he’s seen them this season.

He’s racked up 26 tackles, 7.5 sacks, 13 additional quarterback hits, and a forced fumble versus The Pack in those games. If there was ever a time for a breakout performance, this would be the most opportune time.

Can the Eagles’ tight ends step up?

We got our first taste of life without Dallas Goedert since he took over as TE1 following the trade that shipped Zach Ertz to Arizona, and you know what? We didn’t like it, not one bit.

Jack Stoll plays a lot, and he plays well. Still, he was never added to this team to be Dallas Goedert if emergencies were to occur… or even Zach Ertz. Stoll’s value extends beyond statistics, but Tyree Jackson and/or Grant Calcaterra have to step up and account for some of the lost production from Philly’s tight ends. The question is can they do so?

Okay, what’s going on with Jordan Mailata?

Debates about whether or not Jordan Mailata is still feeling some of the effects of his early season shoulder injury continue. 20 allowed pressures and four sacks given up during 297 snaps played in pass protection isn’t ideal, so rest assured. The evaluation of Philadelphia’s star left tackle will continue in Week 12.

How will Jonathan Gannon’s unit fare versus the two-time reigning MVP?

Jonathan Gannon has been criticized a lot this season. This is true even though his unit is playing fairly well and has remained at the top of the NFL in most of the important statistical categories.

We aren’t going to argue with you. Look at the numbers.

This week, his guys are charged with limiting the two-time reigning MVP and a Packers offense that can light up the scoreboard when they’re clicking on all cylinders.

It takes all three phases (offense, defense, and special teams) to win in the NFL, but Week 12’s game will take on added intrigue when the Eagles’ defense and Packers’ offense are on the field.

The Eagles are still in the driver’s seat. A win will settle everyone down.

If you spend your days and nights using recency bias as your guide to understanding where NFL teams should rank, you’ll drive yourselves crazy. That’s especially true when your loyalties lie with the Eagles.

The Kansas City Chiefs needed overtime at home to beat a Tennessee Titans team that was led by their backup quarterback, Malik Willis. Everyone called that a gut check and an impressive win. Philly comes from behind to topple the Indianapolis Colts on the road, they’re a ‘fraud’ and among the worst teams in pro football. Go figure.

People tend to overreact to what they’ve most recently witnessed, but that could work in Philadelphia’s favor. If they win in primetime versus the Green Bay Packers and have a nice showing, everything will settle down (as it should).

The Eagles are, without question, still one of the best teams in the NFL regardless of what’s happened recently. Expect them to prove that again on Sunday, but be forewarned, there will be rough stretches and some tough moments they’ll have to endure to escape Week 12 (a.k.a. Round 11) with a feel-good victory.

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