By CBS3 Staff

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A short week isn’t ideal for the Eagles after a sloppy Week 3 loss to the Detroit Lions. The Birds are heading to Green Bay for a Thursday night matchup against the Packers at Lambeau Field.

Injuries and slow starts continue to plague the 1-2 Birds heading into Week 4 and changes must be made for the Eagles to have a chance at beating the 3-0 Packers.

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CBS3’s football experts have your weekly breakdown and predictions for Week 4.

Sloppy play, mental miscues, dropped passes, an injury-riddled roster and a lack of a pass rush are already defining the Eagles’ season. What must they do to turn this around?

Sports Director Don Bell: Basically the Eagles have the NFL right where they want it. Quick quiz: Name the last Philadelphia team that had preseason championship hopes and actually delivered?

The answer is the 2009 Phillies and they lost to the Yankees in the World Series.

My point is every team here takes on the DNA of the city. Top dogs? Never. Underdogs? PERFECT!

They’ll scuffle through the first half of the season and find their stride in November. Let’s chat then.

Sports Anchor Lesley Van Arsdall: Three words — WIN THURSDAY NIGHT. Beating the Packers will cure everything.

Reporter Dan Koob: There’s not a ton of time to turn things around so I’d imagine the main talking points from Doug Pederson will just be about execution. The offensive line has underwhelmed and the pass rush has been nonexistent. Things could be better.

Reporter Pat Gallen: As Doug Pederson said, “Just catch the ball.” If they had done that, they would be 3-0 and we’d be looking at this team much, much differently. Alas, they didn’t, so now they’ve got to just play more crisp and efficient.

Sports Producer Andy Wheeler: They continue to work. It’s clear that this team isn’t as good as we all thought but the amount of mental errors and lack of execution can be fixed with some good old-fashioned hard work.

Even though it’s only Week 4, is this a must-win situation for the Eagles?

Bell: If they want a first-round bye, yes. If not, no. The rest of the NFC contenders are in full flex mode. If they lose this game, it doesn’t mean their postseason hopes are doomed, but it does mean their path to playoff success will look nothing like how they envisioned.

Van Arsdall: I hesitate to call a September game must-win. People love to throw that term around. But to me a must-win means if you lose, you are out of the playoffs. Your season is done. So MUST win? No. But it is it an incredibly important game? Yes. If the Eagles lose does the their path to the playoffs become very difficult? Of course. But must-win? Nope, not yet.

Koob: Actually, yeah. Weird to say in Week 4 but the Eagles can’t start 1-3 with three NFC losses. Playoff tiebreakers are impacted by conference losses and they could potentially be three games back of Dallas in the division. Plus, the schedule before the bye is brutal.

Gallen: I’m just going to say from now until further notice, every game for the Eagles is a must-win, especially with the Cowboys starting fast.

Wheeler: I want to say no but if they lose this game that’s an awfully large hole to dig out of, so yes. A loss that could haunt them for the rest of the season.

Carson Wentz can’t do everything. Who on the offense will be able to step up if DeSean Jackson and Alshon Jeffery still aren’t 100%?

Bell: How about Pederson? His receivers aren’t talented enough to create separation on a consistent basis. It’s time to start scheming guys open on money downs and show an earlier commitment to running the ball. The goal-line pick play that resulted in a Agholor touchdown vs. the Lions was brilliant. This offensive gameplan needs to rely more on brains than brawn.

Van Arsdall: The offensive line. They’ve got to be better, much better. That means better protection for Wentz and better run blocking. If DeSean and Alshon are out again, Wentz will need time to find open receivers and they will need to establish the run. That all comes down to a better performance by the O-line.

Koob: Everyone else. The Eagles scored Sunday to cut the Lions lead to 20-17, then the defense immediately gave up a 75-yard drive for a touchdown. The offense followed that up with a three-and-out. It’s a team game.

Gallen: Agholor has stepped up, in a sense. He’s been open, he has caught big passes. It’s just the ones he has dropped have been massive. Aside from that, Miles Sanders again will be the focal point, especially after the fumbles. They are your two main weapons without D-Jac and Alshon.

Wheeler: I said it last week and I’ll say it again, but Pederson. If they are missing players it’s on the coaching staff to adjust, not on the players to do more.

The lack of a pass rush is a major issue early in the season. Is there anything the Birds can do to put pressure on Aaron Rodgers?

Bell: Aaron Rodgers has a PHD in thievery. He’ll steal your defensive audibles at the line of scrimmage and make a mockery of your game plan. Unless each individual pass rusher accepts the challenge of elevating their game, they’re in trouble. Oh, and did I mention starting corner Ronald Darby could be out with a hamstring injury? Aaron’s inside thoughts: R-E-L-A-X.

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Van Arsdall: That’s on defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz. He’s not a big blitzer and when he has blitzed this season, the opposing offense seems to see it coming from a mile away and they’ve taken advantage.

My idea: cue up some old video of those Jim Johnson defenses of the early 2000s. Disguise the blitz, throw in a safety blitz. Do something different, anything different. Because what Schwartz is doing now just isn’t working. Use the past to help your future.

Koob: Rodgers is the best quarterback I’ve ever seen. I covered him for four years for NBC Green Bay and can tell you with full confidence he will rip the Eagles pass defense Thursday. If they can’t get to the QB rushing three or four, Schwartz will be forced to blitz more (again) and the secondary will not hold up.

Gallen: The pass rush is a mess, but if the secondary can do their job it might give the Eagles some time to get to Rodgers. It’s a tall task — and basically their best hope is on broken plays where Rodgers tries to extend with his legs. Schwartz has tried to blitz, he’s sent three, four, five guys and nothing has worked. That means it is crucial for the secondary to have a big night.

Wheeler: Nope. They don’t like to blitz and they create other issues for themselves when they do. So unfortunately, what you see is what you get.

The Packers are 3-0 heading into the Thursday night game. Who on the Packers will be giving the Eagles issues?

Bell: I guess this is the part of the segment where I get cute and pick someone not named Aaron Rodgers. Not doing it. Aaron is a problem all day, every day.

*Honorable mention: Jimmy Graham, six touchdowns on TNF, most for a tight end since 1948*

Van Arsdall: Too easy. Aaron Rodgers. He’s never lost to the Eagles. Ever. The Eagles currently have NO pass rush. The Eagles currently have a VERY questionable secondary. The Eagles are currently having nightmares about Rodgers. Aaron Rodgers is THE issue on Thursday night.

Koob: Rodgers is the easy answer, but I’m going with corner Jaire Alexander and defensive coordinator Mike Pettine. Pettine should be a familiar name, but you should get to know Alexander immediately. He was a stud at Louisville — check out this celebration workshop I did with him two years ago — and has already become an impact player for the Packers.

The Packers’ secondary is much better than the Lions. If Alshon and DeSean miss Thursday’s game too, it’ll be trouble.

Gallen: Another week, another massively-talented receiver. Davante Adams is a problem. And even if he’s not on Thursday, it is likely that he’ll open up some space for Marquez Valdes-Scantling. The Eagles have not had an answer for playmaking wideouts thus far. That doesn’t seem likely to change this week.

Wheeler: Aaron Rodgers. If they can’t get to him, he will pick them apart.


Bell: Logistics matter — it’s a short week and the beat up Eagles are traveling to Cheese Country. Meanwhile, the Packers are playing their third straight game at Lambeau.

Rodgers has thrown 26 touchdowns, four interceptions, and has a passer rating of 106 in 12 career Thursday night games.

The Eagles have lost five of the last six in this matchup.

After this week, it’ll be six of seven. Packers 27, Eagles 20.

Van Arsdall: The Packers have never lost on Thursday Night Football at Lambeau. I don’t see that changing this week and I’d LOVE to be wrong. But Eagles lose 34-24.

Koob: The Packers win at home. The Eagles finish the first quarter of the season 1-3.  Green Bay 31, Eagles 20.

Gallen: Not sure if I’m being a contrarian here, but something tells me the Eagles are going to win. That is based on a gut instinct and the fact that they can’t play any worse than they did against the Lions — a  game that they still nearly won.

I think they shock a lot of people this Thursday and pull out a win. Eagles 37, Packers 31.

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Wheeler: Packers 28-10.