Not many outside of Detroit expected the Lions to pull off the Week 1 upset against the Philadelphia Eagles. The Lions were four-point home underdogs, the majority of our staff picked Philly, and all but two people over at ESPN picked the Eagles
Still, just because the game met our expectations in terms of the outcome doesn’t mean we have to be happy or upset about the results. Maybe players we didn’t expect to play well did. Maybe someone we expected to dominate disappointed. Maybe you’re like Detroit Lions coach Dan Campbell and are already sick of these moral ‘at least we finished within a field goal’ victories.
“If we just take this whole approach where every week it’s like, ‘We lost by three, we lost by three, we lost by three.’ Then, what are we doing?” Campbell said on Sunday. “So, we’ve got to clean this up and we’ve got to be better. We’ve got to be a lot better in all the areas.”
All of those are legitimate feelings. There’s a lot to digest from a three-hour game on Sunday, and not all of it is clear right away. Sometimes it takes a couple viewings before we really figure out if we’re happy or not about a single performance. But now that we’ve had at least about 14 hours to digest the Lions’ 38-35 loss at the hands of the Eagles, let’s examine our feelings this Monday morning.
Question of the Day: Do you feel better, worse, or the same after the Lions’ Week 1 loss?
My answer: I’m actually going to say a little better. If you go back to my On Paper preview, I noted that this was a really good Eagles team from front to back. They had the advantage in all four major phases of the games (pass/run offense and defense). And while on Sunday, they likely proved that they held the edge in three of those matchups, they decisively lost the matchup between their run defense and the Lions’ run offense.
And that revelation could be huge. If the Lions running attack is real—like, for the first time since Barry Sanders real—we could be in for some exciting football in Detroit. So much of their offense will funnel through that run game, and if Jared Goff can just get it together for a full four quarters—yes, a big if—this Lions team is going to score a lot of points. Hell, with Goff playing some of his worst football, the Lions still managed to put 35 points—the third-highest mark of Week 1 prior to Monday night’s game.
There are two obvious questions we still don’t know the answer to. One, how good is this Eagles defense? On paper, they’ve got a lot of really good pieces, and a ton of those players on the defensive line have already proven it in this league. But they’re also getting a bit older, and they were less than the sum of their parts last year. Could that be true again this year?
Secondly, we don’t know if the Lions can keep up this kind of performance consistently. We’ve seen flashes before, and then the Lions rushing attack goes dormant for a month. Consistency is the sign of true talent, and right now we’ve just got one data point. Granted, it’s a very promising data point, but a lot of assumptions we make after Week 1 in the NFL will be proven wrong over the course of the season.
Elsewhere, it’s disappointing—but not surprising—to see this team get gashed on the ground. Goff was certainly performing below expectation in the first half. But I will say I came away a lot more positive about the Lions secondary than I expected to. Jalen Hurts completed just 56 percent of his passes, and Jeff Okudah looked great. DeVonta Smith was kept off the scoreboard completely! Sure, AJ Brown ate, but there aren’t going to be a lot of people that can slow that guy.
So, in total, the Lions hung with a team that I thought was better than them in every facet of the game, and they dominated one part of the matchup. That’s promising enough to make me feel a twinge of optimism this Monday morning.
How do you feel after the Lions’ loss to the Eagles?
This poll is closed
A lot better
A little better
A little worse
A lot worse