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Mike's Mid-Week Chat: Who will be the biggest challenge Sunday in Philly?

Senior writer Mike Spofford answered fan questions in his live chat

Philadelphia Eagles linebacker Haason Reddick
Philadelphia Eagles linebacker Haason Reddick

Hey everybody, happy day before Thanksgiving. Hope all is well. Thanks for logging on. Go ahead and start sending in your questions and I'll get started shortly.

What do the viewership numbers say regarding Amazon games? Do you think the straming age is here to stay? I long for the days of yore when you had Sunday ticket, and only 2 legendary uniforms.

I haven't seen a lot of viewership numbers posted, but Amazon shelled out a large amount of dough for a long-term rights contract with the NFL, so those games aren't going anywhere. The streaming age is going to evolve, but it's not going to go backwards.

When do you think Romeo Doubs will be back?

Great question. We'll see if he practices this week but I honestly don't know. The Packers didn't put him on IR after the injury in the Lions game, so that would indicate they expected him to possibly be back before missing four games. He's missed two so far.

They gotta play the game, but it just makes sense with this season that we beat PHI Sunday Night - because nothing has made sense all season, last two weeks help proving that point.

The Eagles have shown they're not the juggernaut their 8-0 record two weeks ago suggested. It's a long season for everybody. I do think the Eagles are really good, but I don't think there's a dominant team in the NFC. Line up and play.

Is De'Vondre Campbell coming back soon?

Again, we'll see. The first practice this week is in a couple of hours. Campbell is another player who wasn't put on IR, and he's missed three games so far.

So where do you plan to get your cheesesteak from?

I haven't even looked to see where we're staying and if the hotel is anywhere near the Pat's/Geno's intersection. With so much time in the city before the night game, I'd love to try one Saturday night and the other for lunch on Sunday.

I'm not sure if I'm just realizing it these past few years, but it seems that the NFL is all about matchups. "Bad" teams can beat "good" teams. The key is playing consistent football over the course of a season. The packers have done that the past couple years and ran into not ideal opponents. This year there is just no consistency. Would you agree?

Matchups are a big part of this league. Certain team's strengths vs. other team's strengths/weaknesses. But there's also a lot of preparation that goes into every game and teams know what to expect. But yeah, you have to find a level of consistency, a level of play that can reliably be reached on a weekly basis to help smooth out all the other unpredictable, week-to-week stuff. When you can't do that, winning is even harder than it normally is.

Mike, read your comment this morning in the Inbox about the great lineup of games tomorrow. Couldn't agree more. Earlier in the season I was not so hopeful. Funny how things turn out.

You never know. 5 of the 6 teams playing tomorrow are above .500, right? And the only one that's not is on a three-game winning streak. It should be a great day/night of football. The intrigue in the NFC East and seeing how Minnesota bounces back from that trouncing will have my attention for sure.

I don't get why coaches keep saying that so-and-so needs to see more action and then they don't put them in the game hardly ever. If that's what they know needs to happen, then do it! (i.e. Toure)

I'm not privy to any of the coaches' plans and don't know anything about specific players, but when things aren't going well and there's a bye (or in this case mini-bye) and they have time to think about playing time and personnel usage, this is the kind of week some changes can occur.

Eagles will be in their all black "Black-Out" uniforms for anyone who'd like to know.

I heard that. I would expect the atmosphere at the Linc to be pretty intense. That's an intense fan base anyway, but now they're 9-1 with Aaron Rodgers coming to town.

Hi Mike - Favorite and least favorite Thanksgiving food?

I'm vowing to leave more room for dessert this year because I think we're going to have two different pies at the table tomorrow night.

Mike, what injured player do you think could help the most at this point?

Getting Doubs back would be really big for the offense now that Watson is starting to make some noise. Right behind would be De'Vondre Campbell, though, with facing running QBs like Hurts and possibly Fields the next two games.

Its best to take a buddy (or co-worker named Hod) with you to the intersection, order one from each, split both and do the side by side comparison!

Not a bad idea, except Wes doesn't like cheese, so he would want just the meat and bread. Not gonna work for me.

Mike, and please share this with Wes, if you want to have the most incredible food experience of your life while in Philly, and this place is fast and not hard to get to from where you will be, go to the Reading Terminal Market. It is basically the equivalent of an enormous mall food court with every possible type of delicious hot food you can imagine, including of course the best cheesesteak you'll ever eat. And if you go, please share your experience in Inbox. You're welcome and Happy Thanksgiving!

I actually heard Wes talking about that yesterday and I think he's going to visit. I'll have to check in with him on that.

I still don't really know how Wes doesn't like cheese with where he ended up. At least he's a wonderful person so we can forgive him.

Yeah, that's always been a mystery to me, but I don't hold it against him.

Mike, do you have a shorter work day tomorrow with the holiday?

Wes and I are splitting office time. He's going to come in a little later than normal, I'm going to try to leave earlier than normal. Our family meals are at different times so we're trying to work it all out.

Are you expecting significant changes in the secondary personnel this week? It sounds like MLF will be changing reps based on the repeated mistakes?

The comment he made at the end of his presser on Friday, which I included at the end of my story before I left for the weekend, got my attention. We shall see.

Who is the better cook and bigger eater between you and Wes?

I'd have to give him the nod on both counts probably. I don't have much cooking skill, and his youth allows for larger consumption when called for.

Your assessment of Devonte Wyatt at this point?

He's learning the pro game, making an impact here and there when called upon, and earning more snaps in the process. He didn't set the world on fire right away as a first-round pick, but not all of them do. There's plenty of talent there to work with.

Mike... are you a Turkey or Ham guy... or maybe Fried Fish?

Turkey on Thanksgiving for sure. Has to be turkey or it doesn't feel right. I'm open to all sorts of options for other holiday meals.

Favorite past Eagles Packers memory?

Definitely the wild-card playoff game in '10. We did things on the website very differently back then, and I left the press box early to catch the end of the game from the field. I was standing right at the end of the tunnel about 20 feet away from where Tramon made the pick in the end zone to seal the win.

What players is going to be y'all biggest challenge going into Sunday?

Hurts is turning into a do-it-all quarterback, so he's a major challenge. With him, they can try a number of different things offensively if one thing or another isn't working well. Defensively, these guys have 33 sacks and 13 picks. They have a bunch of playmakers on that side of the ball. Hard to pick who's the biggest challenge there. Reddick, Hargrave, Gardner-Johnson ...

Big Play Slay has been balling this season. I remember Davante getting him quite a bit. Has he been playing one side, or has PHI utilized him against the top receiver? I remember him having his way with the young Justin Jefferson, but haven't watched too many Eagles games in stretches to see how they were utilized.

Can't say I've seen enough Eagles games this year to know. But he's not a one-man show in that secondary. CJGJ and Bradberry are playing well, too. I don't think the Eagles will feel the need to "match" one guy on, say, Watson for instance, but we'll see.

Freddie Mitchell...4th and 26. That nightmare will always haunt us packer fans for those who were around for that one.

I remember seeing it on TV. That was three years before I came to work here.

Hi Mike, What side of the ball for the 2022 Packers has been more disappointing to you, offense or defense? I have a hard time watching 3rd downs on defense, so I'll say defense.

I don't like to make excuses, but the offense has definitely dealt with more hardship with the O-line injuries early, the ongoing WR injuries, Rodgers' thumb, etc. Losing Campbell and now Rashan Gary hasn't helped the defense, but the unit was disappointing before that. It continues to have stretches every game where they make life really difficult for the opponent, but in the same game there's a stretch every week where the opposing offense just moves the ball and scores with ease. It's been mystifying frankly.

If you had to pick a primary reason why the secondary has had so many issues staying with receivers this year, what would it be? (excluding any injuries)

I honestly don't know. I can't answer that. I've said all along something has been lost in translation with this defense most of the season.

Mike, I'm a West Coast Packer fan, local TV guys and golf buddy's are all crying 'gloom & doom' for the Packers. Any words of wisdom for me? Happy T Day!

Words of wisdom? Bad years can happen to anyone at anytime. That's this league. If they don't get it turned around then we'll learn a lot about thoughts, plans, what/why things went wrong with how they go about their offseason.

People talk about covering Hurts as a runner, but they forget how deceivingly big and strong Hurts is. You gotta get multiple guys on him or it is guaranteed he is going forward.

He is not easy to tackle, no.

Who do you think is going to step up this week?

I'm curious to see if a few extra days of rest for the thumb help Rodgers. Playing on a short week was definitely not ideal while managing that injury.

Do you see it as viable to approach the game offensively as run first, even if the Eagles stack the box early?

The Packers are going to have to do whatever it takes to move the ball. Dallas came into Lambeau with a fierce pass rush and the Packers stuck with the run all the way along, even down 14 points in the fourth quarter. They limited that pass rush. I think the same approach applies here, but it'll be harder to do on the road where the Philly defense gets the crowd noise advantage.'

Mike, I liked your comment regarding the Packers draft of Lacy and Franklin back in 2013 regarding their potential. I'm old enough to remember when Ivery and Atkins got drafted and the potential there.

I remember watching Ivery and Ellis as a kid and that was a special duo, but they weren't drafted the same year. Lacy and Franklin had the chance to be a really dynamic duo. All the signs were there until Franklin hurt his neck. So sad, but a great guy who was headed for bigger and better things in life.

I can hardly wait for Doubs to be back on the field with a comfortable Watson. That scramble drill that Watson had for the TD was nice because it was a "just go up and get it ball" which he did with that defender all over him.

They haven't even played a full game together this year, I don't think. The free play TD was nice, but the others that were within the framework and timing of the offense were more important for Christian Watson. They're different styles of receivers and I think the offense can play off of their strengths when they're out there together.

What is your assessment of Sammy Watkins' season? He seems to be not in sync at all with AR?

Things haven't worked out as hoped. Him getting hurt didn't help, but that was a risk the Packers knew they were taking given his history. Since he returned from the injury, I think everyone expected more, including Watkins himself.

Besides winning, what can Packers do to get things turned around?

They just have to seize the momentum in a game when the opportunity presents itself. If the defense gets a big stop, the offense needs to go out and get something going. If the offense scores, it's time for the defense to get them the ball right back. Momentum has been fleeting and temporary all season because they haven't been able to do those things.

Mike, do you think y'all are going to rush or pass more?

I think the Packers would love to get the ground game going and set up play-action to keep the pass rush honest and give Rodgers time to look downfield. If Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon can do what they did against the Cowboys, the Packers can be productive.

All right folks, I think with that I'll call it a chat. LaFleur is headed to the podium in less than 15 minutes so I've got to get downstairs. Happy Thanksgiving to all. Take care. Best, Mike.

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