The Detroit Lions are coming off of their first Thanksgiving Day victory in a decade and remain in first place in the NFC North. The Lions (7-5) will look to continue its winning ways when they travel to Philadelphia to face off against the Eagles. The Eagles (7-5) are tied with Dallas for first place in the NFC East and will rely heavily on its offense if it hopes to come out on top. It should be an offensive slugfest on Sunday, where kickoff is scheduled for 1 p.m. and will be broadcast on FOX.
What to watch for
Both teams feature high-powered offenses that are capable of putting up lots or yards and lots of points very quickly. For the Lions, Matthew Stafford comes in with the second-most passing yards in the NFL, trailing only Peyton Manning. Calvin Johnson leads the NFL in yardage and is a matchup nightmare for any defense, especially one as bad as the Eagles.
Philly’s struggles defensively have come mostly when defending the pass. They have allowed nearly 300 yards in every game they have played in. That spells trouble for the Eagles, as Stafford and Co. aught to be licking their chops heading into the game. Johnson, along with other targets in Nate Burleson, Kris Durham, Reggie Bush, Brandon Pettigrew and redzone specialist Joseph Fauria. The Lions offense racks up 425 yards per game, including over 300 through the air.
The Eagles also give up around 150 yards per game on the ground, so the Lions should look to get Reggie Bush going early and often. They are a lot better team when Bush and Joique Bell can run the ball effectively. If the Lions can get both its passing game and running game in sync, then I don’t see how the Eagles can keep up.
The Eagles offense has been pretty good as of late as well, however. The Lions have a tough matchup against one of the bigger surprises in the NFL in quarterback Nick Foles. After Michael Vick’s injury, Foles has stepped in to put up some monster games. The Eagles’ main offensive weapon is LeSean McCoy, who has already rushed for over 1,000 yards and 400 yards receiving. DeSean Jackson is the team’s top receiver, coming in with over 1,000 yards and seven touchdowns.
The Lions will need to limit the big plays and contain McCoy, who is one of the most dangerous running backs in the league. Defensively, the Lions have been stout against the run, holding opponents to 83 yards per game on average. Its woes, just like the Eagles, come when defending the pass. If they allow Foles to tear them apart like he has been doing for a few weeks now, we could be in for a shootout.
Notable stats, news
In last year’s game, the Lions came back to beat the Eagles in overtime, 26-23. Stafford led his 8th game-winning drive of his career that ended with a 45-yard Jason Hanson field goal.
With three touchdown passes, Stafford will reach 30 touchdowns on the season and will become the first quarterback in Lions history to record two separate seasons with at least 30 touchdowns.
Reggie Bush is 98 yards shy of 1,400 yards on the season. Calvin Johnson is 101 yards short of 1,400. When the duo reaches these mark, they will be the first running back and wide receiver pair in Lions history to do so.
The Lions need three wins to guarantee their spot in the playoffs.
This game should be an offensive shootout, where a lot of points are scored. It really comes down to which quarterback plays better and I like Matt Stafford in this one. When he’s on, the Lions are tough to be stopped. If he can find open receivers and avoid turnovers, then the Lions should come out of Philly with their eighth win of the season. Lions win 34-24.