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Eagles shouldn't look past the Detroit Lions

Eliot Shorr-Parks
September 19, 2019 - 8:38 am

The Eagles certainly could use an easy win. 

Only two games into the season, they are already so banged up they couldn’t hold a normal practice on Wednesday. Their injury report included a whopping 13 players, only one of which was a full participant, third-string quarterback Nate Sudfeld. 

When their 2019 schedule first came out, it seemed like their Week 3 game against the Detroit Lions would be exactly what they needed — a home contest against a bad team. 

Two weeks into the season that might not be the case. 

There is no denying the Eagles have a more talented roster than Detroit, but so far, the Lions are not looking like the pushover that many expected them to be. 

Through two games Football Outsiders has the Lions as the 14th best team in the NFL (per DVOA) ahead of teams like the Minnesota Vikings, Houston Texans, New Orleans Saints and the team that just beat the Eagles, the Atlanta Falcons. The Lions are coming off of a win over the Los Angeles Chargers, a team considered one of to the best in the league coming into the season. The Lions were not especially impressive in the win, but a win is a win, and it was a sign that Detroit is definitely capable of beating a quality team. 

This isn’t to say that the Lions are going to be a playoff team, but according to Football Outsiders, they have been pretty good at almost everything. 

Football Outsiders has the Lions offense as 13th best in the league, and the numbers back that up, as they are eighth in yards-per-game and 17th in points. The unit definitely has some talent with receivers Marvin Jones, Joey Golladay, Danny Amendola and Jermaine Kearse. Rookie tight end T.J. Hockenson already looks like one of the best receiving tight ends in the NFL. Running back Kerryon Johnson has also proven to be dangerous and quarterback Matthew Stafford, although inconsistent, has one of the best arms in the NFL. 

The Lions’ defense, ranked 11th by Football Outsiders, is also 11th in points allowed per game, giving up an average of just 18.5 points. Their pass defense is ranked 10th, their rush defense is 12th. Unlike last season the Lions have some legitimate talent on their defense now, adding edge rusher Trey Flowers, cornerbacks Justin Coleman and Rashaan Melvin this past offseason. They used four of their first five picks in the 2019 NFL Draft on defenders. 

A major reason for the Lions starting the season 1-0-1 is the play of their lines on both sides of the ball. The Lions’ offensive line has been great so far, allowing only three sacks in two games, and ranking seventh in pass protection overall. Their defensive line has been just as impressive, totaling six sacks in two games, four more than the Eagles, and a number only seven teams in the league have topped through two weeks. 

The only real issue the Lions have had so far is on special teams, a unit that had four penalties, a muffed punt and a blocked punt vs. Arizona in Week 1. They followed that up by fumbling a punt in Week 2, but it was negated because of a flag. Kicking has also been an issue as they missed a PAT and field goal vs. the Chargers. 

So no, the Lions aren’t perfect. They are not going to be a top-10 team in the NFL and they might not be a playoff team. 

What they are, however, is perhaps the best team the Eagles have faced so far this season — and they are definitely not going to be an easy win this Sunday. 

You can reach Eliot Shorr-Parks on Twitter at @EliotShorrParks or email him at esp@94wip.com!