NFL: Greg Frank picks the Philadelphia Eagles at Green Bay Packers in a must-win for the Birds on Thursday Night Football
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(Greg Frank's Pick Below.)
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Eagles (+4) @ Packers (46.5)
Pick: Eagles +4
As much as I like to back home teams in these short weeks on Thursday nights, that hasn’t quite been the right move early on in the 2019 NFL season. The road team has won outright in two of these three Thursday games and the underdog is also undefeated on Thursday nights so far. It doesn’t get much bigger than this for a late September game for the Eagles. A loss puts the Birds at 1-3 with undefeated Dallas getting the Saints sans Drew Brees this weekend in the Big Easy. The good thing for Philadelphia is that it’s starting to get healthy as wide receiver Alshon Jeffery, tight end Dallas Goedert and linebacker Kamu Grugier-Hill were all full participants in practice on Tuesday and are expected to play tonight in America’s Dairyland.
Now let’s look at the Green Bay side of the equation. The Packers are 3-0 and already have two divisional wins under their belts, one of which came on a Thursday night earlier in the season in Chicago. This would have the makings of a flat spot for Matt LaFleur’s team. With head-to-head victories over the Bears and Vikings, the Packers already have a nice early-season cushion in the NFC North. LaFleur, a first-year head coach has to be on cloud nine with the way things have started. It’s no secret Doug Pederson is known to take risks and be an aggressive play caller. LaFleur’s offense has largely been held in check and Green Bay has been winning games early on thanks to its defense. We like Pederson to come out aggressive on Thursday in a huge game for the Eagles and for Philly to win this game outright.
Not only is it a coaching mismatch, but it’s an obvious motivational mismatch. I don’t think I’ll need the points here, and I probably wouldn’t take them if this number were below three, but it hasn’t gotten there yet, so I’ll take the safety net with the points and play this at standard juice rather than take a flier on the moneyline even though that would be a worthwhile investment as well. The bottom line here is that if you’re going to bet the side, take the dog and then decide how lucky you’re feeling when it comes to the spread or the moneyline.