The Detroit Lions could possibly wrap up the division in weeks 15 or 16, should they beat the Philadelphia Eagles this Sunday (with Bears and Packers losses).
The Lions face a hot Eagles side this Sunday on a 4-game win streak. Wins over Oakland, Green Bay, Washington and Arizona have got Philly fighting hard for the divisional title. Expect a pumped-up home crowd, excited for their team’s success.
Athough facing a team with a 7-5 record obviously deserves respect from the Lions, wins over the Raiders, Redskins and a Rodgers-less Packers are not overly worrying. Last week’s victory over the Cardinals was impressive, however. The Eagles trumped a Cardinals side also playing for a post-season berth.
The Detroit defense will face one of their toughest tests at the QB position in Nick Foles. Foles enters week 14 with a stunning 19 TDs and 0 INTs. Combine this with one of the NFL’s most versatile backs in LeSean McCoy with 1088 rushing yards and DeSean Jackson with 1021 receiving yards, and Gunther Cunningham has a lot to plan for. Detroit’s stingy rushing defense (they held Eddie Lacey to a mere 16 yards on Thanksgiving) should limit McCoy, leaving just the coverage of Jackson a concern. Expect double teams on Jackson.
What will work in the favour of the Detroit D is that the Eagles has allowed 35 sacks (compare this to the Lions only allowing 15). We could see another high sack total against the Eagles, the Lions having registered 7 last week.
Its up to the defense to take the crowd out of the game.
Matthew Stafford will take the field Sunday against an Eagles D ranked 31st in yards allowed (412 per game). What has been troubling in the recent month of Lions play has been the turnovers. Stafford had 3 last game including his fumble (at one point in the 1st quarter against Green Bay, I did think the best 1st down option was to punt!). Detroit played the second half error-free and explosive against Green Bay. Here’s hoping the Lions can continue that pattern at Lincoln Financial Field this Sunday.
The Lions need to keep playing solid football to put themselves in the best possible position down the stretch.