2020 Dynasty/Fantasy Week 13 Game Analysis: Packers 30, Eagles 16
I take notes during the live watch. I re-watch the game on tape looking for hidden clues to report on. Here are my notes/takes on what I saw and how it related to FF 2020. I write anywhere from 1,000-3,000+ words on each game, and I must move fast to get to all of them through the week…so, please forgive any typos/grammar.
No one was surprised by the Packers winning here, but there was some surprise that Carson Wentz got benched and was (finally) replaced by Jalen Hurts. That move is all there is to talk about from this game – and whether there is an official change happening or not. We’ll get to that.
As far as the game goes, here is what happened…
Aaron Rodgers constantly threw to Davante Adams, and defenses are still surprised by that and cannot stop it…as Adams scored 2 more TDs in an easy Green Bay victory.
End of summary.
The Packers led 23-3 early 4th-quarter. Game going as expected/like these teams have shown in recent weeks…the Eagles defense put up some fight, but the offense could barely produce as Carson Wentz’s descent into a bad/bust quarterback continued with him afraid to throw the ball, missing reads, getting hit, throwing into danger and so on. So, Jalen Hurts finally came in for a spark…and instantly provided said spark. A TD pass on his first drive to cut it to 23-10 GB. Then a quick three and out by the Philly defense on the GB offense, followed by Jalen Reagor returning the ensuing punt for a TD and suddenly it was just 23-16 GB with 6:30 to go.
If you watched this game with the sound off and just watched the Eagles team the entire game…it was a depressing ‘march of the dead’ for three quarters of play. No life in any of the players. Playing with no hope or care. Instantly defeated…especially on offense. A lot of slow jogging off the field after failed drives, a stoic sideline, etc. BUT then Jalen Hurts brought some life to the team with his first TD. Then Jalen Reagor’s punt return had the Eagles looking like they had just won the Super Bowl.
How Doug Pederson turns away from that change in mood/team unity/hope as ‘the manager’ of this business…I have no idea? But he probably will. Again, we’ll discuss the QBs in a moment.
Green Bay got a somewhat lucky long TD run to put it away – the kind where the defense is desperately selling out to stop the opponent to try and get the ball back with time evaporating and they got caught and Aaron Jones stole back all the momentum, and the win…and blew the Eagles backdoor cover.
The Packers are now (9-3), chasing (10-2) New Orleans for the #1 seed. Green Bay has four winnable games ahead. They probably won’t win those 4 games. I’m not sure which one they’ll blow but note that had the Eagles somehow found a way to win this game in the end…the Packers would be (4-4) in their last 8 games…a lucky-to-win beat of Jacksonville away from being under .500 in that span. The Packers feel overrated to me again.
The Eagles are now (3-8-1) and suddenly 1.5 games out of first place in the NFC East with NYG’s big upset of Seattle this week and then Washington’s shock win to put them (5-7). If Philly can win three of their next 4 games, they got a shot at 6 wins (with their tie) being good enough to win the NFC East, but the Giants are holding all the cards in this race now. It’s highly unlikely the Eagles can win three of 4. We project them (4-11-1) in the end.
Fantasy Player Notes…
-- Will Doug Pederson change to Jalen Hurts (5-12 for 109 yards, 1 TD/1 INT, 5-29-0)?
My logic says he will.
My NFL logic says he absolutely will not.
The logical case for a change is obvious – beyond everyone calling for it the media. Hurts brought a spark, but more importantly Hurts looked good. He didn’t look overwhelmed. His first long pass play completion to Jalen Reagor was a thing of beauty…lofted down the field in perfect stride, in a perfect spot. He capped that first drive with a 4th & 18 play, buying time, seeing something develop and throwing a perfect anticipatory 30+ yard pass to Greg Ward on the button for a TD.
One beautiful throw could be lucky…two of them on the same drive – get ready, because Hurts can throw the ball. He knows what he is doing. He didn’t throw for 32 TDs/8 INTs, 69.7% Comp. Pct., and 275.0 passing yards per game at Oklahoma in 2019 because he is ‘just a runner’.
FYI, he also ran for 1,298 yards and 20 TDs to go with all that last season in college.
Hurts is a rock-solid character, a leader, and he’s not the type to get overwhelmed by the moment. Oh, AND he’s better than Tua Tagovailoa (sorry, Nick Saban). Hurts is as ready, mentally (calm and cool and hits the ground running) as any of the high-end QB prospects/Justin Herbert-Joe Burrow types walking into the NFL.
Hurts is not as talented a thrower as Herbert-Burrow, no doubt. But Hurts bring an X-factor to the table that they don’t – Hurts is built like a 1st-round draft pick running back playing QB. He has 4.5+ speed but is all muscle, a notorious workout/body builder type – he runs the ball in a physical manner that would put some RBs to shame. When he gets loose from the pocket or runs on purpose – he will produce on the ground, and probably mow some defenders over with his physique.
Hurts is as ready as any rookie who was kept away from ‘the 1s’ all season could be – Justin Herbert didn’t miss a beat with that. Hurts certainly can’t be any worse than what Carson Wentz has been doing the past few weeks (dying in front of our eyes).
Hurts is the best QB to play if Doug Pederson wants to win. One-part, Hurts is ‘ready’. One part, Wentz is so awful they can’t go back there.
However, NFL Logic is different from our human logic.
You see, they (NFL head coaches) know football better than anyone on the planet (so they believe) and the fans are dumb and will not bully NFL head coaches, who are treated like football gods, into doing something they don’t want to do. And Doug Pederson does not want to make a change off his buddy Carson Wentz…for loyalty reasons, and perhaps because he never wanted Jalen Hurts. Benching Wentz for Hurts is probably an admission that Pederson was wrong, and the GM was right.
I think NFL head coaches would rather go (0-16) in a season than ever having to admit a GM knew more than they did about anything. Pederson can simply say, “the Saints are playing top defensive ball in the league right now, so I don’t want to throw a rookie into that” as an excuse to give Wentz one more opportunity.
It will say a lot about Doug Pederson when he makes his decision this week. Post-game, he said he was going to evaluate everything. We won’t know until Tuesday or Wednesday, perhaps. If he really cares about ‘team’, ‘family’, ‘winning’…and if he cares about Wentz as a human, he’ll go with Hurts for the betterment of the team and to save Wentz from himself. If he only cares about showing the GM, the city, the world who is in charge of things – he will try and get Wentz one more chance to prove ‘em all wrong.
If Pederson goes with Wentz, they better win out and win a Super Bowl…because Pederson is so fired if he does not make a change right now, and it results in more sadness/ugly losses.
…also, that may be what Pederson wants – to get fired, to get away from Philly because this team is set up for disaster in 2021 with their CAP situation and the weak players they have overall.
-- We know if Wentz returns Week 14, against the Saints…it will be a disaster for all involved. But what would a change to Hurts for now and forever do for the Eagles FF-related things? Let’s talk receivers first…
Answer: We don’t know.
None of us has seen Hurts working with the 1st-team offense under normal circumstances. He was thrown into this situation (a 20-point deficit) and was just looking for anything. He didn’t seem to be discriminating.
My best estimate would be a Lamar Jackson comparison…
Jalen Reagor (1-34-0/1) is his Marquise Brown…and that has been an erratic thing, with spike moments in Baltimore.
Dallas Goedert will be his Mark Andrews…and that has been good for TDs and moderate on everything else.
Running QBs tend to throw for 200 +/- yards in games, more 150-200 yards because of the QB running more, and the success you can find in the overall run game with opponents worried about the QB running off the read option. The passing game FF-results are going to suffer, but not any worse than it was with Wentz.
We just don’t know if Hurts will have a favorite target. Reagor has to be the favorite to be his favorite, and if he is the guy…everyone else will not matter aside from 1-2 catches in games among the WR group.
-- Hurts’ impact on the running game?
Well, it’s probably some help for Miles Sanders (10-31-0) rushing yardage totals, but a killer for his receiving/PPR ways. Lamar Jackson hardly ever throws to his RBs. See, also: Taysom Hill and Alvin Kamara.
The focus/worry about Hurts will help Sanders some as a rusher, BUT I’d really worry Sanders gets beat up/hurt with all the up the middle running.
Also, running QBs tend to take a majority of the rushing TDs. Just ask Damien Harris, the Baltimore-RBBC trio, and Alvin Kamara/Latavius Murray. Hurts is built better to run the ball from the goal line than Sanders.
Jordan Howard (4-19-0) might see some more time too, because (a) he’s built better for the interior pounding, and (b) is a better RB than Sanders…in my opinion, always has been (see: 2019 season in Philly with both for my state’s evidence). However, that’s my vision NOT Doug Pederson’s, who thinks Sanders is a god.
Boston Scott (2-9-0) might as well retire. The Darren Sproles role doesn’t exist with Hurts.
-- TE side note…
Zach Ertz (2-31-0/4) was back and was mostly a non-factor. Dallas Goedert (5-66-0/7) has seized the day for the Eagles, but what that really FF-means for either TE with Hurts at QB is TBD.
-- I said it in the Monday Midday report on the Sunday games: Aaron Jones (15-130-1, 3-18-0/3) would have been a full scale FF panic this week had he not busted off that late game, fortuitous 77-yard TD. Without that capping play…Jones would have had 53 yards rushing, 18 receiving, and no TDs again.
You have to play Jones every week, but his numbers are weakening the last few weeks. Without that 77-yarder, Jones would have rushed for less than 75 yards in seven if his last 8 games. Jones, without that TD, would have 4 TDs his last 8 games as well. Not bad numbers, just not ‘top RB1’ type numbers.
-- Allen Lazard (3-50-0/4) has 2-4-3 for catch counts since his return from core surgery. Takeaway the game where Davante Adams was out (Week 3) and in 5 games Lazard has played with Adams/Rodgers, his targets in games has been: 4-5-4-6-4 (4.6 per game).
Likely never will be until Adams doesn’t exist…and Lazard will probably be gone before Adams in this organization.
-- Who the Eagles QB is going forward not only affects the various Eagles’ weapons, but also the DST projections on the units facing them.
Facing Wentz might be the best thing to attack in all of the NFL now, given his spiral + terrible O-Line.
Facing Hurts makes a pause in the opposing DST enthusiasm. Hurts bring different elements to the table, etc.
You’re starting the Saints-DST Week 14 regardless, but you really want Wentz.
I like Arizona ahead because of Week 15 vs. Philly but not near as much if it Hurts. I go from ‘excited play’ on the Cardinals-DST to ‘pause’ if Hurts is in.
Week 16 vs. Dallas…it would be something if facing spiraling Wentz, but it’s a no go if facing Hurts.
Snap Counts of Interest:
54 = Davante
46 = MVS
42 = Lazard
40 = A Jones
21 = Jamaal W
52 = Goedert
27 = Ertz
44 = Reagor
44 = Ward
35 = Jeffrey
25 = Fulgham
35 = Sanders
16 = Scott
11 = JoHo
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