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Packers-Eagles matchup of the day: Wednesday

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Dan Arkush
Executive editor

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By Dan Arkush

Here’s a look at a key matchup heading into the wild-card game against the Eagles in Philadelphia this coming Sunday afternoon:

Packers CBs Charles Woodson, Tramon Williams and Sam Shields vs. Eagles WRs DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin and Jason Avant

Green Bay’s corners are coming off an excellent collective effort in their playoff-clinching win over the Bears. Woodson was a double threat, providing tight coverage as well as a relentless blitzing presence from the slot. Williams and Shields, meanwhile, did a superb job harnessing the Bears’ Johnny Knox and Devin Hester, respectively. The Packers' CB corps also did a very good job defending the Eagles’ high-powered WR corps in Green Bay’s 27-20 victory at Philadelphia in Week One, particularly Williams, who had three pass breakups, three tackles and a fumble recovery.

With his great speed and change of direction and rare elusiveness, Jackson is one of the NFL’s most dangerous game breakers. Williams and Woodson will have to guard against an overly aggressive approach against Jackson because once you whiff on him, he is off to the races. Eagles QB Michael Vick has shown a knack for going deep to Jackson early in games, but Jackson also can disappear for prolonged stretches, as was the case in the Week One game against the Packers, when he had four catches for 30 yards.

Maclin (4-38 with an 11-yard run in Week One) is as good as it gets as far as No. 2 wideouts go. He could be a No. 1 guy for a handful of teams and is a superb intermediate route runner who is only a step slower than Jackson and very hard to bring down when he gets a head of steam going.

Avant (4-41 in Week One) is a normally very effective slot receiver with really good hands. But he has had his share of costly drops this season, according to daily team observers.

The fleet-footed Shields needs to improve his pursuit angles and trust his speed more, but he did an impressive job defending Jay Cutler’s back-shoulder passes last week.

With the Eagles having their share of protection problems as of late, look for Vick to possibly focus on more quick-hitters under coverage to Jackson and Maclin, with the intention of both of them wreaking havoc with their outstanding yards-after-catch ability.

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