November 10, 2003. The Eagles were three games into a nine-game winning streak in a season that would vault them to the NFC’s top seed and their third straight NFC Championship Game. Philadelphia visited Lambeau Field on a rainy Monday Night and went back and forth with the Packers in a defensive struggle. With less than two minutes left in the game, Donovan McNabb found Todd Pinkston in the back of the end zone to give the Eagles a gritty 17-14 win to vault the team to 6-3.
November 10, 2013. Exactly one decade later, the Eagles travel to Lambeau Field with a record of 4-5 and a golden opportunity to get to 5-5 facing a Green Bay Packer team missing arguably the best quarterback in the league, Aaron Rodgers. A win could put the Eagles tied atop the division (C’mon Saints) and in the thick of things in the NFC East and NFC in general.
The Eagles have seemed to be one of the league’s unluckiest teams in the league the past two or three years, but that seems to be changing at least for the moment. The Eagles put it all together in a dominant effort in Oakland led by Nick Foles’ seven touchdown passes. The next night, Aaron Rodgers went down with an injury and the Eagles seem primed to make a move in the playoff picture.
This brings up topic of Nick Foles. Who is he? With a win this Sunday at Lambeau, where the Packers have not lost consecutive games since 2008, it is time to seriously consider him as the quarterback of the present and future. Foles has officially passed the Bobby Hoying test. After his miserable, forgettable performance on October 20 against Dallas, Foles would have been immediately linked to the infamous Hoying had he fallen flat on his face in Oakland. The question was to see how Foles would respond to that game. He responded with a perfect passer rating and by tying the single-game touchdown pass record. With 13 touchdowns, 0 interceptions, and enough pass attempts to qualify for the league’s leaders, Foles ranks among the best in the game.
The sample size of Foles’ 2012 performance with a depleted team and now his 2013 production has been remarkable enough to the point where the Dallas game can be viewed as a anomaly. The time is now for Foles to not necessarily replicate last week’s performance, but display excellence on a week-to-week basis. The Eagles are in search for a franchise quarterback, and franchise quarterbacks win tough road games in November and December. This is the golden opportunity for Nick Foles to prove to coach Chip Kelly he is the real deal and drafting a quarterback next April is not a top priority. He can do just that by winning in Lambeau and leading the Eagles on a playoff chase.
Without Rodgers, the Eagles need to key in on Eddie Lacy, the excellent rookie running back who leads all NFL running backs in yardage since Week 5. Seneca Wallace is unlikely to beat an Eagles defense that has not allowed more than 21 points in a game since Week 4 and has not allowed a passing touchdown in the last two games. Bill Davis’ much improved unit will undoubtedly focus on the Green Bay running game to hold the Packers enough to let Foles and the offense take over.
This Sunday, I think Foles will throw his first interception of the season, maybe even two. However, I think he continues to do the little things representative of a franchise QB and puts up enough points on the scoreboard. The Eagles will do enough on defense to keep Eddie Lacy and James Starks from taking over the game, and grind out a tough road win to get to 5-5. Also, for the sake of it, they reverse the outcome of the 2010 playoff game in Philadelphia and win by the same score Green Bay did.
Prediction: Eagles 21, Packers 16