PHILADELPHIA – Defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh was on his way to spend Thanksgiving with his family at his home as he was a free agent. It would have allowed Suh to relax and watch the three games on Thursday. Instead of Suh playing the role of a spectator, his plans changed when he decided to sign with the Eagles last week, opting to take another shot at getting a Super Bowl ring.
Suh’s coming back last week to even play in the win against the Indianapolis Colts meant that Suh would once again face an old foe: Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers. The Eagles will try to slow down Rodgers and the Packers offense Sunday night at Lincoln Financial Field.
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Suh developed strong feelings about the Packers as he spent five seasons with the Detroit Lions, the Packers’ NFC North rivals. Suh shared his feelings about reuniting with Rodgers on Wednesday.
“I hate the Packers so much,” Suh said. “Whether I play for the Eagles or play with someone else. There is no question that I have a desire to go after that quarterback and cause mayhem for that offense.
The Eagles hope Suh will use those feelings to keep motivating him to create pressure in the middle of the line of scrimmage. The Packers enter the game on the 15th offense in the league, averaging 344.9 yards per game, but averaging the seventh fewest points (18.4).
While Rodgers may not be the same version of himself as he was in the 2010s, he was still effective, completing 64.6% of his passes (243 of 376) for 2,542 yards, 19 touchdowns, and seven interceptions.
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One player starting to emerge in the Packers offense is wide receiver Christian Watson, who the team selected in the second round of this year’s draft. Rodgers has started to look more in the direction of the rookie in the last two games.
In the first six games Watson played, he was targeted 14 times, but Rodgers has thrown 14 in Watson’s direction in the last two games, catching eight passes for 155 yards and five touchdowns. Cornerback James Bradberry said the Eagles need to contain Watson by not letting him go far past their cover.
“Christian Watson is very fast and Aaron Rodgers is a great quarterback who throws it on a dime,” said Bradberry. “We have to stop the run, go after the quarterback, take away the explosive plays. Christian Watson is pretty fast and you want to make sure he’s not about defense.”
Bradberry will have safety Marcus Epps behind him to make that happen. Epps plays well in deep coverage and in run support. Epps said execution would be important in slowing down Rodgers and the Packers attack.
“They have some talented players,” said Epps. “We all know that Aaron Rodgers is one of the greatest of all time. They have some good running backs, a rookie receiver coming up, and some other veteran receivers who are also talented players. We have a job to do and we just have to get it done.
The Eagles also have to worry about Packers trailing Aaron Jones, who has gone over 130 yards in two of his last four games. The Packers were able to turn to Jones early in the game to try to sideline the Eagles offense and weaken the Eagles defense.
Defensive tackle Fletcher Cox knows the importance of getting the Eagles defense off the field to give the forward more chances to score.
“We just have to play team football,” said Cox. “It always comes down to that. Both sides must also play complementary football. The attack must complement the defense and the defense must complement the attack. Special teams must also play a role. It’s just one of those deals.”
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Chris Franklin can be reached at [email protected].