By Brandon Pemberton
The Eagles suffered a tough loss last week vs the Steelers, 16-14 and now stand at 3-2. They face the Detroit Lions today here in Philadelphia before the bye week. The Lions are in the top 10 in yards per game offensively and yards given up per game, but they are 1-3 and are a desperate team. Today’s game should be a good one.
The Philadelphia Eagles scored only 14 points last week, Mike Vick fumbled the ball twice and turned it over both times. This is an ongoing trend with this team and it lays solely on the quarterback. The Eagles have an huge advantage vs the Lions weak defensive backfield, especially with the cornerbacks. Hopefully Andy Reid doesn’t get pass happy and completely scrap the run because the Lions best part of their defense is the defensive line, and they do a great job getting to the QB.
If the Eagles continue to feature Shady McCoy, use the short passing game, protect Vick, and value the ball, they can score more then enough points to win this game. Also, I really would double team Ndamukong Suh as much as possible, he has the ability to dominate a game.
The Detroit Lions are an explosive team, Matt Stafford has the talent to make all the throws, and he has a array of targets to pass the ball to, led by Calvin Johnson aka Megatron. Johnson is arguably the best WR in all of football. Because of his size/speed combo, he can line up anywhere on the field and do serious damage. Because of all of the attention he draws, it allows Nate Bureleson, Titus Young, and Brandon Pettigrew to flourish. Running Back Mikel Leshoure has added a dimension running the ball inside the tackles that they didn’t have last season.
The Lions will need a good run/pass balance vs the Eagles as we all know the Eagles front four loves to rush the passer. When teams have been committed, they have had some success running right at the Eagles and then using play action passes. If I were the Lions coaches, this would be in my gameplan.
The Eagles are only allowing teams to score 19.8 per game, not bad compared to how bad they were last season. They have a huge job on their hands with Calvin Johnson lining up opposite of them. You have to double him, put a safety over the top and that leaves single coverage on the other WR’s and tight end Brandon Pettigrew. The opposing teams have dropped back 94 straight times and the Eagles haven’t recorded a sack. I watched those plays on the coaches film, and the Eagles are not getting pressure up the middle from the defensive tackles.
Putting pressure on Stafford is a must, he is a good QB, but he’s also known to throw some INT’s when under pressure. The Eagles must force turnovers today, and make them a one dimensional team. Stop the Lions running game, Mikel Leshoure is a tough, big , downhill runner and teams have had success running at the Eagles.
The Lions are built to play from ahead, their defensive line is good and great at rushing the passer. On paper the defense looks good, but bonehead penalties and mistakes have killed them. They must play with discipline, especially in the run game because we all know Shady McCoy loves to make cutback and the Lions must maintain the backside. Also when rushing Vick, maintaining the proper rush lanes is key. Expect the Lions to go after the ball early and often, Vick has been a turnover machine and teams all around the league knows he’s been careless with the ball.
My Prediction: Eagles 27 Lions 24
The Eagles win a close one at home, goes into the bye week at 4-2 and get ready to face the Atlanta Falcons in two weeks.