It seems like for a month now, Detroit Lions fans have been pointing at Halloween as the game where the Lions could get their first win of the Dan Campbell era. The Eagles are in pretty rough shape this season. They’re 2-5 and have lost their last two games. But much like the Lions, they appear to have been in just about every game they’ve lost.
With that in mind, I did pick the Lions to win this week, but I can’t help but feel like this is a trap game for a team that hasn’t won a game. Don’t ask me how that works. It works.
How do Eagles people feel about this game, though? To answer that question we reached out to our friend Brandon Lee Gowton of Bleeding Green Nation for answers. Here’s what he had to say about the Eagles:
1. For some reason, Lions fans have been circulating this game on the calendar saying this is the one the Lions can win. Why is that not true in your opinion?
“Well, you’re asking the wrong person! I’m with those Lions fans.
But if I HAVE to make the case for the Eagles? Even though I don’t really believe strongly in what I’m going to present?
We’ll start with the obvious. The Lions lack talent right now. Key injuries (Frank Ragnow, Taylor Decker, Jeff Okudah, Ifeatu Melifonwu, etc.) have only further depleted their roster. No one should mistake the Eagles for having one of the most talented rosters in the league but they at least have a little more than the Lions are currently working with.
Detroit’s defense might be bad enough that a struggling Jalen Hurts can take advantage. He had success against the Atlanta Falcons in Week 1 and the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 4. The Eagles even had a good opening drive against the Las Vegas Raiders last week before the game got out of control.
Philadelphia’s defense has made life entirely too easy for non-terrible quarterbacks. The bad ones, though? They haven’t fared as well. [Defensive coordinator] Jonathan Gannon was able to effectively limit the damage that Matt Ryan (six points), Jimmy Garoppolo (17 points), and Sam Darnold (18 points) were able to do. One can’t merely assume that Jared Goff will wreck this defense the same way that Dak Prescott, Patrick Mahomes, Tom Brady, and Derek Carr did. Not exactly in the same category as those dudes.”
2. What are the Eagles strengths?
“The offense is really good!
In garbage time.
Seven of their 18 touchdowns this season were scored after the Eagles trailed by 19 points in the second half (h/t Rob Maaddi).
As for a more sincere, less cynical answer? It sure doesn’t feel like much.
Javon Hargrave has been having a pretty great season. He’s been kept quiet in the box score over the last two weeks (0 sacks, 1 QB hit) but he did help to force one of just three Derek Carr passes that weren’t completed in Las Vegas (an interception by Avonte Maddox). Hargrave picked up six sacks, nine quarterback hits, and one forced fumble in his first five games. He might be able to terrorize the Lions’ interior offensive line and cause a lot of issues for Goff and the offense as a whole, especially with Ragnow out.
Then again, Hargrave missed Wednesday’s practice with a shoulder injury. Perhaps he’s cooled off as of late because he’s playing significantly less than 100%.”
3. What are their weaknesses?
“Hurts is a rootable player and has some positive flashes. But he just hasn’t inspired confidence as a franchise quarterback. He’s really struggled with accuracy issues, seeing the field well, and holding on to the ball for forever. It’s impossible to say Nick Sirianni has done an amazing job at trying to maximize Hurts at every turn. Still, there are throws to be made each week and Hurts just isn’t getting it done. Too many plays are being left on the field.
The Eagles’ defensive strategy might sound good in theory. Don’t give up the big play, force the offense to go 10+ plays to score. Keep doing that over and over and eventually they’ll make some mistakes. As previously noted, it’s worked against some lesser quarterbacks. But the better ones have been able to consistently drive down the field by taking what the Eagles are giving them. It’s a toothless defense that has players frustrated; look no further than Fletcher Cox’s postgame comments following the Raiders loss.
On the whole, this very young coaching staff appears to be in over their heads. Could be a big mismatch against a Lions staff that has a lot of experience, be it coaching and/or playing in the league.”
4. If the Eagles held open tryouts like they did in Invincible, does Brandon make the team?
I’m 6’9” so I could be a specialist. And I’m not talking about contributing as a kicker, punter, or long snapper.
Jump ball target from the 1-yard line? I’ve got it.
Need me to block a field goal? I’m your man.
In reality, I’d be useless out there. But I might be more useful than the average person? I’ll allow myself that lie, at least.”
5. Who’s winning this thing?
Home game for Detroit. Players hungry to get Dan Campbell his first win. Duce Staley (and Dave Fipp) revenge game.
The Lions simply feel due. They’re not a team that deserves to be 0-8.
The Eagles, meanwhile, very much deserve a loss in this spot. I think losing this game might actually be what’s best for a franchise that hasn’t been completely honest with themselves. Jeffrey Lurie seems to think the Eagles simply need to take their lumps this year before they come out clean on the other side. He implicitly trusts Howie Roseman, who very much has the Eagles in decline since winning Super Bowl LII, to get this organization back on the right track.
The reality is that the Eagles need to wipe the slate clean. New general manager, new coaching staff, new quarterback. Maybe losing to the Lions would serve as a wake-up call? Hardly a guarantee. But one could hope.
Back to the matchup itself, I think Goff could have success checking down all day and taking what the Eagles’ soft defense gives him. Detroit could also be able to run the ball with some success considering the Raiders had the league’s worst rushing attack and moved the ball on the ground effectively against Philly. Hurts will make some mistakes that prove to be costly.
Lions 27, Eagles 17.”