By BARRY WILNER AP Pro Football Writer
A team considered a strong Super Bowl contender will be at Lambeau Field on Thursday night. It’s not — at least right now — the visiting Eagles.
Philadelphia was among the early favorites in the NFC. Then injuries and sloppiness struck. Now, the Eagles (1-2) are scrambling to get their season headed in the right direction before unbeaten Dallas slips away.
To change their course against the Packers is a hefty order. Green Bay (3-0) has displayed an impressive defense led by newcomers Preston Smith and Za’Darius Smith, and is waiting for its Aaron Rodgers-guided offense to take off.
“Yeah, they’ve added some really talented pieces up front, certainly one on one those guys are pretty dangerous,” Eagles offensive coordinator Mike Groh says. “So we’re very mindful of those guys. They’ve got a talented defense.”
Rodgers is thrilled with the perfect record — Green Bay has allowed an NFC-low 35 points — and not so happy with his own play as the Packers have scored just 58 points.
“I want to play better,” he says. “I want to score more points. I mean, obviously you love having a defense, but I don’t take any satisfaction in having an ‘oh, OK’ performance. No, I want to have greatness out there.”
No. 5 Green Bay is a 4-point favorite over No. 16 Philadelphia. Have to go with Cheeseheads over Cheesesteaks
KNOCKOUT POOL: Dallas did the job last weekend vs. Miami. Did you think we’d leave the Dolphins Debacle behind this week? Go with LA CHARGERS.
No. 24 Oakland (plus 7) at No. 13 Indianapolis
Raiders aren’t worst mess in NFL, but getting closer to it.
BEST BET: COLTS, 30-16
No. 8 Minnesota (plus 3 1-2) at No. 14 Chicago
Tempted by several underdogs this week. Like Vikes most.
UPSET SPECIAL: VIKINGS, 20-16
No. 2 Kansas City (minus 4) at No. 15 Detroit
Lions can prove they are for real here. We know Chiefs are.
No. 1 New England (minus 7) at No. 11 Buffalo
Patriots’ opponents are 0-9, Bills are 1-8. Tom Brady doesn’t lose to Bills.
No. 4 Dallas (minus 3) at No. 7 New Orleans
Drew Brees means that much in spread? Guess so with how Cowboys are playing. Still …
No. 19 Cleveland (plus 3 1-2) at No. 6 Baltimore
Not sure what Browns are yet. Neither is Freddie Kitchens.
No. 21 Jacksonville (plus 3) at No. 27 Denver
Rocky Mountain low for Broncos so far.
No. 22 Carolina (plus 4) at No. 12 Houston
Texans and Colts will battle for division title all season.
No. 29 Washington (plus 3) at No. 23 New York Giants
As impressive as Danny Dimes-led comeback by Giants, Redskins’ prime-time showing was as unimpressive.
No. 17 Los Angeles Chargers (minus 16) at No. 32 Miami
Just what Dr. Anthony Lynn ordered for his sputtering Chargers.
No. 20 Tennessee (plus 3 1-2) at No. 18 Atlanta
Both teams looked so ugly last week. Falcons a different squad at home.
No. 26 Tampa Bay (plus 9 1-2) at No. 3 Los Angeles Rams
Is Bruce Arians wondering yet why he bothered coming back to coaching?
No. 10 Seattle (minus 3) at No. 28 Arizona
Desert should be a relief from rainy Seattle for Seahawks.
No. 30 Cincinnati (plus at 4) at No. 25 Pittsburgh, Monday night
How excited is ESPN about 0-3 vs. 0-3? Steelers have to get one soon.
Last Week: Against spread (9-7). Straight up (11-5)
Season Totals: Against spread (27-20-1). Straight up: (31-16-1)
Best Bet: 2-1 against spread, 3-0 straight up
Upset special: 2-1 against spread, 2-1 straight up