8:30 p.m. on ESPN
For the third time in 2016, Carson Wentz and the Eagles take center stage on prime time, hosting Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers for some Monday Night Football at Lincoln Financial Field.
Following last week's loss in Seattle, the Eagles are back to .500 with a 5-5 record. They'll try to get their playoff hopes back on track against a 4-6 Packers squad that's currently in turmoil.
Packers in a downward spiral
These are not the Packers we're used to. Green Bay hasn't endured a losing season since 2008, Rodgers' first year as the starter, but is well on its way to another at this rate.
The Packers arrive at the Linc losers of four straight, and the last two have been particularly ugly — 47-25 at Tennessee and 42-24 at Washington. While head coach Mike McCarthy has the built-in excuse of rampant injuries to key players and at important positions, that hasn't stopped rumblings that his job might be on the line.
McCarthy has a track record of success that includes a Super Bowl, but the Packers have gone from being among the class of the NFC to rapidly deteriorating. Another loss on Monday would all but eliminate their already slimming shot at the postseason, and even a win might simply delay the inevitable.
Rodgers still dangerous
One of the biggest mysteries in Green Bay is what in the world is wrong with the quarterback. Sure, the protection hasn't been very good, and wide receiver Jordy Nelson has been injured or not himself, but Rodgers' efficiency numbers are down going back to last season (although not as much in 2016) and not at all emblematic of the two-time MVP.
Of course, Rodgers' decline is relative. While his 63.2 completion percentage and his 6.7 yards per pass attempt in particular are down significantly from his career totals, he's still thrown 25 touchdowns to just seven interceptions. Defenses also still have to watch Rodgers doesn't hit the big play over the top — he has six completions this season of 40-plus yards.
In other words, don't count out a five-time Pro Bowler. He may be on the verge of turning 33, and his supporting cast is not what it once was, but Rodgers remains one of the most dangerous quarterbacks in the game.
Opportunity to open up the offense
Few teams have experienced more trouble with downfield passing than the Eagles. Fortunately for them, few teams have been worse at defending the pass than the Packers, which means there should be plenty of opportunities for a much maligned receiving corps.
The Packers have run out of bodies at the cornerback position. Sam Shields is on injured reserve with a concussion. Demetri Goodson is out for the foreseeable future with an ugly knee injury. Damarious Randall is questionable to play Monday, but even if he suits up, he hasn't played since Week 6.
The result of all those absences is an opponents' passer rating of 105.5, second highest in the NFL. The Packers have also allowed 37 completions of 20 yards or more and nine of 40-plus — only five teams have surrendered more.
The Eagles haven't had much success going vertical this season, with only 29 passing plays of 20-plus yards and just four over 40. The opportunities should present themselves on Monday though, provided the receivers can catch and hang on to the football.
If the Eagles are healthy enough themselves
That might be much easier said than done, seeing as the Eagles' offense will be down a few bodies as well. Lane Johnson's replacement, Halapoulivaati Vaitai, has been ruled out with a knee injury, forcing left guard Allen Barbre to kick out to right tackle and Stefen Wisniewski to play LG.
Ryan Mathews is out with a knee injury as well, which could also have implications in pass protection.
It's clear that losing Vaitai hurts the Eagles. After a rough debut, the rookie has settled in nicely. Now the line is further shaken up with Barbre's move outside, especially considering he's more comfortable on the interior.
Mathews' absence likely means bigger roles for Darren Sproles and Wendell Smallwood, and while Sproles is an excellent pass blocker, Smallwood is very much a work in progress in that aspect. If the rookie misses an assignment, it could result in a pass-rusher getting a free shot at the quarterback.
How those personnel changes affect or limit the Eagles' passing attack is key. With pass-rushers like Julius Peppers, Clay Matthews and Nick Perry, protecting Wentz was going to be difficult enough. Now it could be a serious problem.
No more margin for error
Could the Eagles lose on Monday and still make the playoffs? Theoretically, yes, but that would be a tough road to navigate. Even with a victory, they would be behind Washington for the sixth and final playoff spot, with the same record as Tampa Bay and Minnesota. A defeat would be a huge setback to say the least.
Is this a must-win in the most literal sense? Technically, no, but they can only afford to drop so many.