Darius Slay had an up and down day against Keenan Allen and the Chargers in the Lions’ home opener, but he wiped that from our memories with his game-sealing interception. It was a stark difference compared to Week 1, in which Slay gave up only one catch despite playing the most coverage snaps in the entire league. With the Lions traveling to face a hampered Philadelphia Eagles team on Sunday, expect Slay to return to shutdown form.
Bold prediction of the week: Big Play Slay locks down Eagles receivers, gives up no more than 3 catches on the day
There’s a lot that goes into this one.
If we look back at last week against the Chargers, Keenan Allen has a very unique style of play. He’s ascended to a fairly ubiquitous status as a top-five receiver in the league, largely due to his stop-and-go abilities.
While Allen surely can make contested catches, it’s not that ability that makes him a great receiver; it’s his agility. That being said, stop-and-go routes require time to develop—time the Lions defensive line unfortunately gave Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers for much of the day.
With the Eagles, it’ll be a totally different ballgame. DeSean Jackson, known first for his speed but still likely their most agile receiver, is already ruled out, and seemingly everyone else on their team is banged up to some degree.
That leaves Alshon Jeffery as WR1 for Philadelphia. Well, that did, at least. As of very early Sunday morning, Jeffery is trending towards not playing.
Eagles’ WR Alshon Jeffery, listed as questionable for Sunday due to a calf injury, is unlikely to play vs. the Lions, per source.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) September 22, 2019
Eagles TE Dallas Goedert, also nursing a calf injury, looked surprisingly better at Saturday’s practice and is now considered a pregame decision.
That leaves Nelson Agholor as the Eagles’ number one receiver heading into Sunday’s game, with rookie JJ Arcega-Whiteside as number two. Expect Slay to tag along with Agholor for much of the day and have plenty of success. Agholor lacks the size of Jeffery at a shade over six feet, and Slay can make up with his speed. At the end of the day, there’s a reason why Agholor hasn’t lived up to the WR1 expectations in Philadelphia, and a star corner like Slay should have a field day against him.
The cherry on top? The elimination of Jackson and Jeffery as the Eagles’ premiere deep threats means Slay will have all kinds of safety help over the top, too.
Look for Big Play Slay to have a big day against the Eagles. A hungry Lions team should be licking their chops with an injury report this long, and it should be a fun game to watch as a Lions fan Sunday.