The Eagles go into Sunday's matchup against the Detroit Lions off the back of a poor showing against the Las Vegas Raiders. The Eagles offense was making costly mistakes, and the defense allowed Derek Carr to enjoy target practice. It was an ugly showing all around. They travel to Detroit in the hope of showing positive signs of growth. However, the Lions are hungry for their first win. Not just of the season, but for passionate Head Coach Dan Campbell. It could easily be a trap game, but if the Eagles were ever going to show signs of improvement, now is the time.
Season so far
As mentioned above, the Lions have started the season 0-7, but they have remained competitive throughout. They somehow made a game of their Week 1 defeat to the 49ers but fell on the final drive of the game. They were an NFL record away from defeating the Baltimore Ravens, but in true Lions fashion Justin Tucker broke the NFL field goal record with a bounce off the crossbar as the Lions lost 19-17. Greg Joseph's final second field goal broke Detroit hearts again just two weeks later as Dan Campbell was brought to tears because of the manner of the defeat. It is fair to say that the luck of the draw has not been on their side to date. The Lions have only broken 20 points once all season, and that was in Week One. There will be no excuse for Jonathan Gannon to play soft.
The Biggest Threat- D'Andre Swift
The lone bright spot for the Lions offense this season. Swift has burst onto the scene after a rocky first season in the NFL and looks set to break that Detroit running back curse that has lingered since Barry Sanders retired (No, I am not comparing, I am just saying the Lions have had no luck at the position since his retirement). Despite being on the injury report for this weekend, Swift is expected to play and will likely be leant upon again. In what is a low powered offense, Swift has been expected to do it consistently in both the run and passing game. The Eagles have been dreadful against the run this season, and that will be the area that the Lions will hope to exploit by getting Swift plenty of touches. He has the most targets for a running back this season, and if the Eagles want to play soft coverages, the Lions offense will be licking their lips at the thought of Swift being in the open field with the ball in his hands.
What to Target- The Lions offense
The Lions offense averages 18.3 points per game, and with Jared Goff at quarterback, they have struggled to take control of games. That is in part due to their lack of weapons. Outside of Swift and TJ Hockenson, there is no one of note. It is well documented that Goff struggles when he is under constant duress, and the receivers that the Lions will put out should not scare the Eagles. Half of the Lions roster is on injured reserve with Frank Ragnow, Taylor Decker, Quintez Cephus and Tyrell Williams all on it. Their offense is without vital pieces, which has played a role in their offensive struggles.
If Kalif Raymond, KhaDarel Hodge, Amon-Ra St Brown and Geronimo Allison are enough to convince Jonathan Gannon to play his corners 10-15 yards off the line of scrimmage, then all hope is lost. Darius Slay, Steve Nelson and Avonte Maddox are all good enough to be playing in their faces and trying to lock them down. If they allow Goff quick and easy five-yard completions by playing scared. It will be another ugly week in Philly. Gannon must be aggressive and try to disrupt Goff. He needs to trust the cards he has been dealt with and let it rip. What he is doing right now is far from acceptable.