By Kevin McGuire
The Philadelphia Eagles will head to the land of brats and cheese this weekend to take on the Green Bay Packers as close to full strength as they can be at this point in the season. The only starter that will not start, that is not injured for the rest of the season, is quarterback Nick Foles. Only a small handful of Eagles players appeared on Friday afternoon’s injury report in addition to Foles and each participated in a full practice schedule this week leading up to the road game in Green Bay. All systems are a go for what could be a potential NFC playoff preview.
Foles continues to be sidelined with a collarbone injury that was suffered early in the game against the Houston Texans two weeks ago. With Foles out, Mark Sanchez will continue to guide the Eagles offense from under center. Sanchez is coming off a solid performance at home against the struggling Carolina Panthers, but the Green Bay defense should be a more difficult threat to the Eagles offense. Sanchez will remain the Eagles starting quarterback for as long as Foles is out, and some even think this playing time will eventually to lead to a possible quarterback change if Sanchez shows more positive signs on the road against the Packers. The Eagles are 2-0 since Sanchez took over the offense, but this weekend will be the toughest match-up to date.
In the event Sanchez gets banged up in cold Green Bay, the Eagles will have to resort to playing Matt Barkley, who has not impressed much in the few opportunities he has had to take charge of the Eagles offense. Barkley is the only other Eagles quarterback on the depth chart while Foles is injured.
Two other offensive players are on the injury report this week, but neither is expected to missing any significant playing time compared to what they have been seeing. Tight end Brent Celek (ankle) may be the more significant of the two. Celek turned in a good game last weekend, and the hope is that continues because he can still be a valuable part of the Eagles offense. Celek took part in full practices all week, but he is playing through a minor ankle injury.
Wide receiver Jeff Maehl (foot) is also probable this week after a full week of practice. Maehl is a reserve wide receiver, so the impact of a minor foot injury appears to be relatively minimal if Maehl is slowed or bothered by the foot injury. Maehl is listed second behind Riley Cooper, but even if Maehl is not available it looks as though the Eagles will have other receiver options (Josh Huff, Brad Smith) to play with if needed.
On defense the Eagles will continue to use Casey Matthews and Emmanuel Acho in place of the injured DeMeco Ryans. Ryans is done for the season with a torn Achilles’ tendon. Ryans’ protégé Mychal Kendricks is still available though. Kendricks recently returned from a calf injury and is still listed as probable because of it. Once again, Kendricks put in a full week of practice and should be ready to go against the Green Bay Packers. Cornerback Bradley Fletcher (shoulder) also is probable following a full week of practice.
TE Brent Celek (ankle)
CB Bradley Fletcher (shoulder)
LB Mychal Kendricks (calf)
WR Jeff Maehl (foot)
QB Nick Foles (collarbone)
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Kevin McGuire is a Philadelphia area sports writer covering the Philadelphia Eagles and college football. McGuire is a member of the FWAA and National Football Foundation. Follow McGuire on Twitter @KevinOnCFB. His work can be found on Examiner.com.