Deadspin NFL Over/Under Bet of the Week: December Lambeau football setting hosts Wentz

Illustration for article titled Deadspin NFL Over/Under Bet of the Week: December Lambeau football setting hosts Wentz
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Philadelphia Eagles at Green Bay Packers

Over/Under: 49

Kickoff: 4:25 p.m. ET

TV: CBS

Oh, Carson Wentz.

These days, that once illuminating brand name doesn’t exactly evoke positive thoughts anymore. Try to digest all of this.

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Wentz is ranked 29th of 32 qualified quarterbacks with a pitiful 73.4 passer rating. Unlike the two signal-callers below him (Drew Lock and Sam Darnold), he’s played every week. If that continues and his QB rating hangs around there, Wentz would own the worst such mark by any quarterback in the last seven years who started all 16 games of the season.

Since 2007, only three quarterbacks that suited up in each game finished with a lower rating: Geno Smith (66.5), Eli Manning (69.4), and Joe Flacco (73.1). Maybe not the best company to be in!

He’s also on pace for the lowest passer rating by an Eagle since Rodney Peete’s 67.3 offering in 1995. Rodney Peete!! Additionally, Wentz’s eight games with a rating below 80.0 are the most the franchise has seen through the season’s first 11 games since current head coach, Doug Pederson, did it in 1999. Though to be fair, Pederson pulled off this feat in nine weeks before being benched.

A quick glance at the interceptions leaderboard reveals the former No. 2 overall draft pick “comfortably” sitting on top with 15. That’s the most picks thrown by a Philadelphia QB at this stage of the campaign since 1977, when former ESPN great Ron Jaworski had chucked 19 picks.

Look who’s been on the receiving end of the most sacks, too — Wentz, of course.

Having been taken down 46 times in the backfield, the 2017 Pro Bowler is on pace to be mauled by 67 sacks, which would solidify him as the third-most sacked quarterback behind only David Carr and Randall Cunningham (credit to Eagles insider Reuben Frank for these tidbits).

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See, a lot to digest. The point is we know he isn’t this bad and that some upswing has to be on the horizon. Traveling to Lambeau in December isn’t ideal, yet now actually might be an opportune time for Wentz to get it together. Arguably his best pass-catching option, Zach Ertz, is back, and should help unlock a better version of Wentz; the one that recorded the 10th-most efforts (17) with a triple-digit passer rating from 2016-19. Not only does Ertz provide a much-needed jolt in the passing game, his presence will allow Pederson to deploy a lot more 12- and 13-personnel packages.

Such game planning is what fueled Philadelphia to success in recent years. With the Mega Powers-esque tag team of Ertz and Dallas Goedert not having joined forces since Week 3, the Eagles have been forced into a lot of 11-personnel. Obviously, the offense wasn’t responding.

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Providing Wentz some familiarity will make a huge difference, not just for chemistry reasons but also due to pass protection.

That would be nice considering we know what to expect from the other side. Green Bay enters Sunday’s slate as the NFL’s No. 1 scoring offense, plating 31.7 points on a weekly basis. They’re fourth in yards.

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Aaron Rodgers is one of the most dependable constants across all professional sports, no surprise there. The 37-year-old is even enjoying one of his finest seasons to date that may result in him collecting his third MVP.

The Eagles do boast a talented pair of corners in Darius Slay and Avonte Maddox, but again, it’s Aaron Rodgers. And it’s the future Hall-of-Famer from his preferred office setting, getting ready to showcase his stylings at Lambeau Field. Rodgers’ career passer rating at home (108.2) is actually nearly 10 full points higher than when he’s on the road (98.8).

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Being a December game emanating from the Frozen Tundra, cold temperatures are in expected (hovering above 30 degrees) but don’t let this shy you away from either QB.

Rodgers, of course, is used to these conditions, having racked up 47 games with temperatures ranging from 21-40 degrees. In those outings, he compiled a 105.6 passer rating, and in the process, crafted an absurd 105-16 TD/INT ratio.

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His counterpart, meanwhile, also has some experience battling these elements. And it’s OK experience, as Wentz has a satisfactory 86.2 rating in such cold weather. The striking item to me is that he completed 67 percent of throws, a handful of points higher than when in warmer conditions. Considering his career-low completion percentage (58.1 percent) right now, maybe this will be good for him.

His lone previous trip to Lambeau, which came a season ago in late September, apparently was good for the fifth-year quarterback. In addition to beating the Pack, 34-27, Wentz notched the 11th-highest-rated game (113.2) of his career.

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Philly bringing it on the offensive side of the ball is the difference-maker here. That’s because defensively, they allow 27.5 points on average when not facing one of their trash NFC East rivals, and thus, we can anticipate a typical output from the league’s highest-scoring club. Rodgers is a huge constant and even more so at home, where the Packers have been hanging up at least 25.9 points per game in each of the last four seasons with him starting. This year that number is sitting at a very healthy 33 per.

Unfortunately, the total has gone up a few ticks since I bet it on Thursday at 46.5 (-110). For record-keeping purposes, I am buying a full point off the current number and hoping it doesn’t land on exactly 47. It’s still good as is if you don’t want the extra insurance.

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The Bet: OVER 48 (-130)

The Record: 7-4-1, +2.6 units

Last Week: Saints-Broncos Under 37 (WIN)

*Each bet graded as if it were to win 1 unit