We’ve made it. Meaningful football is back after seven long months of waiting. Or eight months, if you immediately tune out once the Detroit Lions’ season is over. Sunday, the Lions have a shot at redemption against the Philadelphia Eagles, a team that completely annihilated them last year by a score of 44-6. I was at that game with a couple of Eagles fans. It was not fun.
This year should be different, though. The vibe in the building has changed, and if you’ve been watching “Hard Knocks,” you may have heard this quote from defensive coordinator, Aaron Glenn: “The 2022 Detroit Lions will compete every game.” This game is the perfect opportunity to prove that to be true, because they definitely didn’t compete against the Eagles last year. We’ll see how much one year makes a difference.
The Eagles are expected to be a pretty good football team this year. Vegas has them at over/under 9.5 total wins, meaning they’re expected to compete for the NFC East title and a shot at the playoffs. The Lions are going to need some standout performances if they’re planning on competing and potentially defeating the Eagles.
Today’s Question of the Day is...
Which Lions player(s) will exceed expectations against the Eagles?
The first player that comes to mind for me is Aidan Hutchinson. I don’t know where exactly his expectations are for Week 1, but I’m expecting a massive game from him. You could tell when watching “Hard Knocks” that training camp was a bit of a drag and an unwelcome formality to him. That doesn’t mean that anyone is going to outwork him during camp, but you know this is exactly what he’s been waiting for ever since he was drafted. A chance to make some noise during the real action. I know the Eagles will be focused on stopping him, but I still expect a big performance out of him (multiple sacks perhaps?).
On offense, I’m going with Josh Reynolds. The Lions are going to give DJ Chark every opportunity, but it’s likely that he’ll have Darius Slay hounding him all game. I’d also expect the Eagles’ defense to have a good game plan to limit the damage from Amon-Ra St. Brown. This could leave an opening for Reynolds, who already has a great rapport with Jared Goff.