Here’s a look at a key matchup heading into the Packers' wild-card game against the Eagles in Philadelphia next Sunday afternoon:
Packers WR Greg Jennings vs. Eagles CB Asante Samuel
It’s quite likely a handful of encounters involving these fellow Pro Bowlers could go a long way toward determining the outcome of this Week One rematch. In the season opener, Jennings came out ahead, catching five of the 10 passes thrown his way for 82 yards, including a huge 32-yard TD catch that gave the Packers a 27-10 lead before a strong bullpen effort by Michael Vick narrowed Green Bay's margin of victory.
Samuel had only three tackles and one pass breakup in Week One but went on to have another strong campaign, finishing the regular season with an NFC-high seven interceptions one year after finishing in a four-way tie for the league lead with nine picks.
The Eagles’ defense really struggled when Samuel was sidelined with a knee injury for a spell late in the year.
Samuel likes to play off receivers and bait opposing quarterbacks, but that’s easier said than done against Jennings, who has been effective lining up all over the field this season and is extremely deceptive in his own right.
Even though Samuel has established himself as one of the league’s better playmaking cornerbacks, he does give up catches from time to time. He also sometimes freelances too much and will come up short in run support on occasion. Samuel will have to be ready to make sure tackles against Jennings, who has been excellent gaining yardage after catches, seldom going down on initial contact.
Jennings finished the regular season with 1,265 yards receiving, the fourth-most in the league, and tied Lions WR Calvin Johnson as the NFC leader in TDs with 12. But as good as Jennings has been while replacing the injured Jermichael Finley as the Packers’ premier passing weapon, he has dropped a few sure TD catches this season, including one last week against the Bears.