PHILADELPHIA, PA –
The Philadelphia Eagles will travel home after a tough, late-game loss against the Atlanta Falcons to take on the Detroit Lions. The Lions are fresh off an impressive victory against the Los Angeles Chargers, and they will look to make it two in a row. The Eagles will be looking to get back to their winning ways, and this game has major implications for both sides. Here’s what to watch for tomorrow:
1 – Get and stay healthy: Health was a major story coming out of the Eagles week two loss to the Falcons. Multiple players including Carson Wentz, Alshon Jeffery, DeSean Jackson, Timmy Jernigan, and many more spent time out of the offensive and defensive rotations due to injuries. The Eagles saw how detrimental injuries were last season, and health is one of the major factors that could stand between them and another Super Bowl trip. The Eagles need to walk away with a victory against the Lions, but more importantly, they need to emerge healthy.
2 – Who steps up: In conjunction with the injury dilemma, who will make that leap forward? Nelson Agholor made strides forward, but he also missed a key catch late. Mack Hollins played well, but wasn’t enough of a catalyst. Who will step up and make the big plays necessary for victory? Hopefully, Jackson and Jeffery stay healthy and are able to make a major dent in the Lions’ defense, but if they are limited again, who will be the x-factor? The Eagles need someone to be that difference maker; it can’t just be the stars. I would look to see if JJ Arcega-Whiteside or Mack Hollins will be that extra push offensively.
3 – Shutdown Stafford: Matthew Stafford will be looking to air the ball out early and often. Stafford has multiple targets including Kenny Golladay T.J. Hockenson, Danny Amendola, and Marvin Jones Jr. I believe the Eagles will have great success defensively if they are able to set the tone immediately by being a stout team in the secondary. The Eagles’ secondary didn’t look impressive against Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley, and they will get a chance to rebound nicely in this match-up.
4 – Run for the Hills: Regardless of the health of Carson Wentz, the Eagles need to get the running game going. The Eagles haven’t had a RB go for over 100 yards this season, and they haven’t even had 100 total rushing yards in a game. Miles Sanders needs to effectively hit holes and get north-to-south, not as much east-to-west. Jordan Howard didn’t look as impressive week two, but the talent and ability is definitely still there. The Eagles need to address the run game and early, and a successful run game will get the whole offense going. The Eagle should also utilize Darren Sproles, but in a limited role.
5 – History: The Eagles lead the all-time series against the Lions 16-15-2. Recently, the Lions have won three of the last four match-ups against the Eagles, with the Eagles winning the 2013 “Snow Bowl” contest. Can the Lions keep their winning ways going, or will the Eagles end their winning streak and get back on track with a victory? Also, the last match-up was decided by just one point, so this game could be closer than many people expect.