PHILADELPHIA – Being a free agent, Ndamukong Suh was ready to spend Thanksgiving at home with his family. That would give the Waters a chance to rest and watch Thursday’s three games. Instead of playing the role of a spectator, Suh’s plans changed last week after he decided to sign with the Eagles and make another run to buy a Super Bowl ring.
Suh returned last week, and even playing in the win against the Indianapolis Colts meant Suh would once again face an old foe: Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers. The Eagles will look to slow down Rodgers and the Packers offense Sunday night at Lincoln Financial Field.
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Suh developed his strong feelings for the Packers as he spent five seasons with the Packers’ NFC North rivals, the Detroit Lions. Suh shared his feelings about seeing Rodgers one more time on Wednesday.
“I don’t really like the Packers,” Suh said. “Whether I play for the Eagles or someone else. There’s no doubt in my mind that I want to get after that quarterback and want to be destructive for this offense.”
The Eagles hope Suh will use those feelings to continue to pressure him in the middle of the line of scrimmage. The Packers enter the game with the 15th-ranked offense in the league, averaging 344.9 yards per game, but allowing the seventh-fewest points (18.4).
While Rodgers hasn’t been the version of himself in the 2010s, he’s still been 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 looked more and more like a rookie over the last two games.
He was targeted 14 times in Watson’s first six games, but Rodgers threw 14 times in Watson’s direction over the last two games, catching eight passes for 155 yards and five touchdowns. Cornerback James Bradberry said the Eagles must cover Watson, not let him slip under his coverage.
“Christian Watson is really fast and Aaron Rodgers is a great quarterback who can throw him on a dime,” Bradberry said. “We’ve got to stop the run, get after the quarterback and take away explosive plays. Christian Watson is very quick and you want to make sure he doesn’t go over the top of the defense.”
Behind Bradbury will be safety Marcus Epps. Epps played well in deep coverage and run support. Epps said execution will be key to slowing down Rodgers and the Packers offense.
“They have some talented players,” Epps said. “We all know that Aaron Rodgers is one of the greatest of all time. They have good running backs, an up-and-coming rookie, and other veteran receivers who are talented players. We have a job to do, we just have to do it.”
The Eagles also have to worry about Packers running back Aaron Jones, who has rushed for more than 130 yards in two of the last four games. The Packers will likely turn to Jones early in the game to try to keep the Eagles’ offense at bay and wear down the Eagles’ defense.
Defensive tackle Fletcher Cox knows the importance of keeping the Eagles defense off the field to give the offense a chance to score.
“We just need to play team football,” Cox said. “It’s always like this. Both sides must play extra football. Offense must complement defense and defense must complement offense. Special teams must also play a role. This is just one of those deals.”
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Chris Franklin can be reached at [email protected].