Week 8: Eagles Preview & Prediction: At Lions

Date and Time: October 31st – 1 p.m. ET

Location: Detroit, Michigan – Ford Field

Network: Fox

  • Eagles Injury Report
    • OUT
      • Miles Sanders
      • Zech McPhearson
    • DOUBTFUL
      • S Anthony Harris
    • QUESTIONABLE
      • J.J. Arcega-Whiteside
  • Lions Injury Report
    • QUESTIONABLE
      • CB Jerry Jacobs
      • CB A.J. Parker
      • OLB Trey Flowers
      • RB D’Andre Swift
      • RB Jamaal Williams

Matchup Preview

The Philadelphia Eagles travel to Detroit to take on the 0-7 Detroit Lions. The Lions have lost 12 straight games dating back to last season. The Eagles have lost 5 of 6, including a 2 game skid.

Last week, the Eagles offense started out with flow, with a healthy dosage of Miles Sanders on the ground and incorporating the play action passing game into that. However, Sanders went down early, and so did the Eagles chances against Las Vegas.

The defense seemed to be behind the 8 ball from the very first snap and it continued all game.

The same issues that’ve plagued the defense all season, plagued them in last week’s contest. Jonathan Gannon refused to pressure Derek Carr, instead choosing to play soft 2 high coverages and he picked Gannon’s unit apart because of it.

Meanwhile, though winless on the season, the Lions have competed in most of their games. Including last week against the Rams, when up until the 4th quarter, it was a tight game.

They’re a young bunch, lacking talent in a few areas, but this Lions team fights. Dan Campbell has done a good job of motivating his players and getting them up for games.

Statistically, the Lions possess the NFL’s 26th ranked offense (16th – passing, 22nd – rushing). Defensively, they rank 28th across the NFL (25th – passing, 22nd – rushing).

3 Things to Watch for the Eagles

1) The performance of the defensive line

The Eagles can pressure Lions QB, Jared Goff in this game. Goff has been pressured the 4th most times in the NFL and has been sacked the 17 times (9th in the NFL).

The Lions passing attack has the lowest intended air yards per pass attempt. Jared Goff has never been a threat to throw the ball downfield, and he in fact ranks last in the NFL with just 7 completions of throws over 20 yards.

The front 4 has to get after Goff. That means possibly blitzing.

DT Fletcher Cox voiced his displeasure with the Jonathan Gannon’s play-calling after the loss to Las Vegas.

“When you’re so used to playing so aggressive the last however many years I’ve been playing, it’s just change. You can’t be as aggressive. You gotta play what’s being called,” Cox said.

Gannon acknowledged Cox’s comments and stated that he needed to do a better job scheming to his All-Pro defensive tackle’s strengths.

Will Gannon allow his unit to be more aggressive? That remains to be seen.

2) Nick Sirianni’s offensive strategy

As stated, after Miles Sanders went down with an injury, the Eagles offense was never able to find it’s footing. Partly, because they were rarely on the field, due to the opposing offense having such long and sustained drives.

Nevertheless, Sirianni failed to throw a counterpunch yet again. It’s become a bit of a routine for Sirianni. When his initial plan doesn’t work, he appears to be a deer in the headlights.

Against a defense that possesses the 9th highest blitz rate in the NFL, Sirianni must have his unit ready.

Jordan Howard will likely be called up from the practice squad for Sunday’s gave. Rookie Kenny Gainwell will most likely receive the bulk of the carries and Sirianni will need to utilize the running game to make QB Jalen Hurts comfortable early on against a Detroit defense that ranks 9th in blitz rate.

3) The play of the Eagles wide receivers

As stated, Detroit ranks 25th against the pass. Their top corner, Jeff Okudah is on IR. Amani Oruwariye and Jerry Jacobs, who is questionable, are the outside starting corners in this game.

Oruwariye has allowed 15 yards per completion and a 98.4 passer rating when in coverage. Jacobs has allowed 13.1 yards per completion and a 121.2 passer rating when targeted in coverage.

This is a winnable matchup for DeVonta Smith and Jalen Reagor. Now, this doesn’t mean 4 verticals all game, but mixing in the intermediate game and allowing the deep shots to come organically is likely the best strategy. Of course, it’s all predicated on Jalen Hurts seeing the field well and hitting the throws, but against this defense he should be able to.

X-Factor

Dallas Goedert is my X-Factor in this game. The Lions implore a heavy amount of cover 3 looks. Cover 3 is a middle of the field closed look. The seams should be there for the taking for Goedert. Tight ends have had success against Detroit as they rank 28th in DVOA against tight ends.

Prediction

Pick: Eagles 31, Lions 17

The Eagles cannot lose this game. If so, it’ll be complete rock bottom.

The Eagles defense could turn in a game similar to the one they did in their first matchup of the season against Atlanta. Jared Goff is a sitting duck in the pocket. The Eagles have to seize the opportunity they have to get off the snide and pick-up a win or their season could spiral.

Bold Prediction: Darius Slay snags 2 interceptions, including a pick 6 in his return to Detroit

Author: Pierrot Baptiste Jr.

I am the creator of The Philly Blitz and I am committed to delivering innovative and interesting coverage on both the Eagles and Sixers. Contact Information: Twitter - @pierreb3_ Email: pierrotjr3@gmail.com

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