Eagles/Packers Reax

Well, I thought I would man up and come here every week during the NFL season and see how I did with my game-by-game Packers predictions, which I posted the Friday before the first game.

Let’s see, week one I said that the Eagles would beat the Packers by a final of 27-21. The Packers pulled off what I and most football prognosticators would consider the upset by beating the Eagles by the final of 16-13.

Not so great, but I was right about a couple of things: One, that it would be a close game (which it was, and a very entertaining one at that); and two, that Brian Westbrook would outplay Brandon Jackson (OK, not exactly a bold prediction there). Westbrook finished with 85 yards rushing and 46 yards receiving, while Jackson had 40 yards rushing and 35 yards receiving.

But while the Eagles running game put the Packers running game to shame, Favre outplayed Donovan McNabb, who was starting his first regular season game after tearing a knee ligament last November. Favre’s stats (23-of-42 for 206 yards, no touchdowns, and one pick) don’t do justice to how well Favre played under loads of pressure — he was sacked four times, but what was more memorable than the sacks were a couple that he managed to get out of and turn into positive yardage. Particularly noteworthy was a shovel pass (actually it was more like a dry heave) to rookie DeShawn Wynn that Wynn turned into an 18-yard gainer. Favre was simply the most enjoyable player to watch on Sunday; not for the first time and hopefully not for the last.

Kicker Mason Crosby obviously also was a star on Sunday, becoming the first rookie kicker to win a game with a field goal since the 1979 season. And the Packers defense was stellar almost all day, limiting what promises to be an explosive Eagles offense to 283 net yards that seemed like a lot less. Packer fans have good reason to be excited about the team’s defense.

What is a lot less promising — even with Favre’s spirited play — is the Packers overall offense. Posting only 215 yards, the Packers would have likely lost the game if not for Philadelphia’s horrendous — horrendous — play on special teams, which led directly to 10 of Green Bay’s 16 points, including Crosby’s game winner. Add on a field goal that came after a Packer interception that capped a less than stellar drive that saw the Packers actually lose yardage, and you have a Packer offense that put together one, count ’em one, decent scoring drive all day (a 13-play, 51-yard drive in the third quarter that resulted in a field goal).

Bottom line, it doesn’t matter if the Eagles have more talent than the Packers; they made mistakes — many mistakes — and the Packers took advantage of them. It’s a big win, especially for a team that in recent years has had problems winning games early in the season.

Next Sunday at 12 noon local time, the Packers visit the Giants, a game I picked the Packers to win. Based on what I saw last night, I feel good about the Packers being able to score against that marshmallow Giants defense. We’ll see.


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