Aaron Rodgers and Mark Sanchez had the two most memorable quarterback performances of Week 10, as one player had a historic first half and the other had maybe the best game of his career. In Week 11, the two signal callers will compete in a game that will have a significant impact on the NFC playoff picture.
The Green Bay Packers will host the Philadelphia Eagles, following a 55-14 win over the Chicago Bears, led by six touchdown passes from Rodgers in the first half. Philadelphia is coming off a 45-21 victory, in which Sanchez threw for 332 yards and two scores in his first start since 2012.
Rodgers hadn’t thrown for more than four scores in a game this year, but his Week 10 performance was just a continuation of his MVP-caliber season. His 120.1 passer rating is the best in the NFL, and he’s thrown 24 touchdowns and two interceptions since Week 2. Rodgers has posted a passer rating of 138.7 or better four times in 2014.
Philadelphia ranks 22nd in passing defense, and they’ve allowed their fair share of big passing performances, but they’ll do their best to put pressure on Rodgers. After sacking Cam Newton nine times on “Monday Night Football,” the Eagles are second in the league with 32 sacks. Linebacker Connor Barwin is first in the conference with 10.5 sacks.
A six-touchdown performance is no guarantee for success in the following game. Ben Roethlisberger threw six scores in Week 9, and followed it up with one touchdown and two interceptions against the New York Jets, who had allowed the highest opposing passer rating of any NFL team.
Sanchez could have trouble against the team that ranks sixth in opponents’ passer rating, though it looks like the Eagles can have success with anybody at quarterback. Philadelphia went 6-2 with Nick Foles as the starter, even though he ranks 25th in passer rating. Sanchez posted over 300 passing yards and better than a 100.0 passer rating in one start under Chip Kelly, a feat he accomplished just once in 62 games with New York.
It’s hard to imagine that Sunday’s contest will be anything but a shootout. Philadelphia and Green Bay rank fourth and fifth, respectively, in scoring, and neither has put up fewer than 20 points since Week 4. The over/under at Las Vegas casinos is 54.5 points.
Green Bay will have a distinct advantage at home, considering both teams are unbeaten in front of their own fans. The Packers have been dominant at Lambeau Field, never winning by fewer than seven points and beating their opponents by an average of just over 25 points per game. The Packers are favored by six points.
The Packers are more in need of a win, since they are currently out of the playoffs with a 6-3 record. The Eagles sit atop the NFC East at 7-2, and could find themselves tied for the final wild card spot with a loss on Sunday.
PREDICTION: Green Bay over Philadelphia, 34-27