Green Bay Packers
(10-6, 9-7 ATS)
(10-6, 7-9 ATS)
Way back in Week 1, the Green Bay Packers knocked off the Philadelphia Eagles 27-20 in a fantastic game that amounted to be one of the best of the year. The two will meet for a second time, this time with a number of changes on each side, in NFL betting action to end the first round of the playoffs on Sunday afternoon.
We have to remember that the Packers have been playing for three months now without RB Ryan Grant, who was in the lineup in Week 1’s win against the Eagles. As a result of his absence for virtually the entire season, Green Bay only accounted for 100.4 yards per game on the ground, ranking just No. 24 in the league. The passing game did rank No. 5, but as if there weren’t already enough pressure on the shoulders of QB Aaron Rodgers, now he has to go against a pass defense that has already seen him once on the year. Rodgers only threw for 188 yards the first time around, and he is going to inevitably be under the gun this time, probably to throw the ball at least 40 times when push comes to shove. The good news is that this defense is the most feared in the NFC, and it led the conference in picks this year with 24. LB Clay Matthews leads the charge on this side of the ball, where he had 13.5 sacks this year and could legitimately be the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year.
The bad news for this defense is that QB Michael Vick isn’t just turning the ball over at will. Vick was thrown into the mix for the first time this year in the second half of that Week 1 NFL wagering war against the Packers, and he played very, very well, throwing for 175 yards and a TD and running for 103 yards on 11 carries. He couldn’t quite fix the problems that were set up by QB Kevin Kolb, but he did lead the team into a position where it could have won if he could have pulled the trigger on the game winning TD pass. Still, with home field advantage and the memories of that second half comeback in tote, you know that the Eagles are flying high heading into this one on Sunday. RB LeSean McCoy will be called upon his fair share of times as well, both as a receiver and as a runner. He led the team in receptions with 78 this year and was third on the team in yards at 592, and he had 207 carries for 1,080 yards. The former Pitt Panther had nine TDs in total this year. Remember that this offense, with Vick calling the shots, averaged over 33 points per game on average when you prorate his time on the field, which makes up for a ‘D’ that allowed over 23 points per game on the campaign.
Philly is the play in this final first round NFL playoff betting affair. The Eagles aren’t going to lose to the same team at home twice in the same season, especially not with No. 7 calling the shots, a man that has a great history in the playoffs, including beating these very same Packers on the hallowed grounds of Lambeau Field just a few years ago.
NFL Wild Card Free Pick: Philadelphia Eagles -2.5