For the Packers, the first team defense, now with S Atari Bigby starting in place of S Marquand Manuel, played very well in the preseason and should continue to build off a tremendous final four game run from 2006. The pass offense looked sharp in the preseason with a revitalized TE Bubba Franks and a strong start from rookie WR James Jones, however injuries to WRs Donald Driver and Greg Jennings have put somewhat of a cloud over it. The run offense didn't blow anybody away this preseason, but rookie RB Brandon Jackson looked like a promising runner and receiver, while rookie RB DeShawn Wynn showed some promise as a power runner. The special teams should improve with rookie K Mason Crosby, but the return game is in neutral with promising KR/CB Will Blackmon sideline for kick return duties while recovering from a broken thumb.
For Philadelphia, the game might come down to the return of QB Donovan McNabb. Will he have a loss of mobility from his knee injury? For the second season in a row, he has lost one of his leading receivers. Will he have good chemistry with free agent WR Kevin Curtis? He played very well last season with RB Brian Westbrook and WR Reggie Brown, so unfortunately the veteran QB is just as likely to step right back and play at a high level this season, but it doesn't help him that veteran TE L.J. Smith might be out for this game with an injury.
Philadelphia's defense is another story because they have gone through a number of changes. Gone is leading tackler LB Jeremiah Trotter in a revamped linebacker unit. S Brian Dawkins and CB Lito Sheppard anchor what should be a solid secondary. DE Jevon Kearse returns to the defensive line, but the top 3 returning players in sacks are defensive ends too, and there shouldn't be enough spots for all of them. Plus they traded away their top interior pass rusher in DT Darwin Walker which might force blitz happy defensive coordinator Jim Johnson to take even more chances. With a number of changes in their defensive front seven, this could be a group that struggles in week 1.