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  • December 30, 2019
    Only one team in the Super Bowl era — the 2001 New England
    Patriots — started the season 1-3 and rebounded to win it all.Despite that
    fact ,
    the Philadelphia Eagles (1-2) aren't panicking after back-to-back losses."You
    know, we're not really looking at this as a bad spot," Eagles quarterback Carson
    Wentz said. "We're 1-2, yeah, but, you know, we have a lot of the season left.
    (There are) little things here and there in each game that we know we're going
    to get corrected and we're going to be in a good spot. And like I said, we're
    excited Thursday night to go show what we can do and get going back in the win
    column."Wentz and the Eagles will head to Green Bay to face the Packers (3-0)
    for the first Thursday night meeting between the two teams.Philadelphia lost its
    past two games by a combined seven points, but help is on the way with Alshon
    Jeffery. The former Pro Bowl receiver is expected to play after missing all but
    six snaps over the past two weeks with a calf injury."I miss it a lot, man,"
    Jeffery said. "One or two plays, we're still in the game. At the same time, it's
    good to face adversity. One and two is not where we wanted to start, but that's
    where we're at. Hey, I'm up for the challenge."WHERE'S DAVANTE?Another receiver
    looking to make an impact on Thursday is Packers wideout Davante Adams. After
    grabbing a career-high 13 touchdowns last
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    , the two-time Pro Bowler has yet to cross the goal line this
    season. But Adams hasn't been thinking much about his lack of scoring, as he and
    his wife, Devanne Villarreal, welcomed baby girl Deija Leigh Adams on Sept.
    20."It's been a lot, but now I'm playing for a stronger purpose than I was
    before," Adams said. "So it's a great feeling. It's something that you've just
    got to feel. It's tough to talk about."Adams has five touchdown receptions in
    seven Thursday games, including four in his past five Thursday matchups.WHERE'S
    THE RUSH?The Eagles only have two sacks in two games and none from their edge
    rushers. One came from safety Andrew Sendejo on a blitz. The other was from
    tackle Tim Jernigan, who is out with a broken foot. Veteran Brandon Graham got
    $27 million in guaranteed money to remain in Philly after only getting four
    sacks last season. Michael Bennett, who had nine, was traded to New England.
    Chris Long, who had 6½, wasn't brought back so he retired. Derek Barnett, a 2017
    first-round pick, had no hits on quarterback Matthew Stafford last week."I know
    how the sacks go," Graham said. "It's a long season and you never know how stuff
    ends. There's going to be some funny stuff that will be happening and I'm hoping
    we're on the good side of it. The only thing I'm worried about is to make sure
    that we don't separate from each
    other Marquez
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    , which I doubt we'll do."DEFENSE FIRSTWhile the
    Eagles are struggling to get to the passer, the Packers are having very few
    issues defensively. Green Bay's four interceptions and 12 sacks are each tied
    for third most in the league. Preston Smith and Za'Darius Smith combined for
    eight total tackles, six quarterback hits, five sacks and a forced fumble in the
    Packers' win over the Denver Broncos on Sunday.AARON WANTS MOREGreen Bay enters
    with the 28th-ranked offense. That's not good enough for the Packers' two-time
    MVP quarterback."We've never wanted to just manage the football game around
    here, so the standards are very high for us," Aaron Rodgers said. "We gotta play
    a lot better on offense. We've played some good defenses, no doubt about it, but
    the standard and the expectations are very high here and we haven't met them on
    offense. ... At some point, we can't expect our defense to shut everybody down.
    They have been. But at some point the offense is going to have to wake up and
    start making some plays."DROPPED PASSESWentz had eight of his passes dropped
    against the Lions, including a deep ball to J.J. Arcega-Whiteside that could've
    been the go-ahead score in the final minute. A week earlier, Nelson Agholor
    dropped what could've been a go-ahead 60-yard TD with under two minutes left in
    a 24-20 loss at Atlanta."It's part of the game. Guys are going to drop passes,"
    Wentz said. "We're going to put the ball on the ground. I'm going to throw
    picks. We're going to miss reads. Things happen. Guys make mistakes. Any time
    somebody drops a pass or something like that, I make sure I go right up to them
    and tell them it's coming their way the next time and just try to keep building
    them up. Staying positive. Again, it's frustrating. No one wants to make
    mistakes but there's nothing you can really do about it. Just have to keep
    building those guys up."Follow Keith Jenkins on Twitter: Last Week: 6-7Weeks 1 through 8: 54-58-4Home
    teams shown in bold. Odds taken from Odds Shark.Washington (-2) vs. AtlantaThis
    one should be close. The Falcons are coming off of a bye week, and the Redskins
    have won three straight since being blown out by the Saints on Monday Night
    Football.With an abundance of weapons to choose
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    , I think Matt Ryan continues to play at an MVP-type
    level here. The Falcons take it and keep their slim playoff hopes
    alive.Pick: Atlanta (+2)Chicago (-10) vs. BuffaloNathan
    Peterman is starting for the Buffalo Bills. Poor Nathan Peterman. Poor
    Bills.Pick: Chicago (-10)Minnesota (-5.5) vs. DetroitI know
    Minnesota got beat pretty solidly on Sunday Night, but they’re still a good
    football team. This game has all the ingredients of a bounce-back win for the
    Vikings.Pick: Minnesota (-5.5)Kansas City (-8.5) vs.
    ClevelandAt long last, the Hue Jackson era is finally over in Cleveland. Gregg
    Williams, he of the “11 head coaching offers” has assumed duties as lead man.
    This is a tough first game for him and the Browns.I’ll take Pat Mahomes and the
    Chiefs here.Pick: Kansas City (-8.5)Miami (-2.5) vs. New
    York JetsThe Dolphins are 3-1-1 ATS vs. the Jets since 2016, and I just think
    they’re the better team in this matchup. Plus, playing in Hard Rock Stadium
    doesn’t hurt, either.Pick: Miami (-2.5)Baltimore (-2.5) vs.
    PittsburghRavens’ defensive coordinator Don Martindale said this week that there
    are a lot of stats that show the Steelers are better with Le’Veon Bell. True or
    not, James Conner is playing really well in his absence. In a
    classic Steelers-Ravens game, the visitors manage to pull it out
    late.Pick: Pittsburgh (+2.5)Carolina (-6) vs. Tampa BayCam
    Newton and the Panthers offense should have a field day in this one, and
    FitzMagic won’t have the firepower to keep up.Pick: Carolina
    Denver (-1) vs. HoustonHouston is winners of five straight and
    coming off a mini-bye after defeating the Dolphins on Thursday Night Football.
    Deshaun Watson has a new toy in Demaryius Thomas, and I think he contributes
    right away. Texans win.Pick: Houston (+1)Seattle (-1) vs.
    Los Angeles ChargersBoth teams are coming into this game rolling, and this one
    should be one of the better games of the week. It’s a bit of a coin flip, but I
    like the Chargers here.Pick: Los Angeles Chargers (+1)Los
    Angeles Rams (-2) vs. New Orleans The Rams didn’t play very well against Green
    Bay last week and were still able to come away with a victory. They come out
    much more sharper here and stay undefeated.Pick: Los Angeles Rams
    New England (-5.5) vs. Green BayAaron Rodgers vs. Tom Brady. The
    winner of this is the undisputed GOAT. That’s how it works,
    right??Pick: Green Bay (+5.5)Dallas (-5) vs.
    TennesseeDallas is a 3-0 at home and 0-4 on the road. They are a whole different
    squad at Jerry’s World.Pick: Dallas (-5)