The Matchup: Eagles Vs. Lions

THE BIG PICTURE

The Eagles have won four in row and are tied atop the NFC East with the Cowboys at 7-5. They host the Lions before traveling to Minnesota in Week 15. Then it’s a home date with the Bears and the season finale in Dallas. The Cowboys take on Chicago Monday night.


The Lions are coming off a Thanksgiving Day win and are at 7-5 atop the NFC North.

Here is how the Eagles' offense matches up with Detroit's D:

 
Yards Per Play
Points Per Game
DVOA (FB Outsiders)
Eagles Offense6.1 (3rd)25.0 (8th)18.2% (3rd)
Lions Defense5.6 (22nd)23.9 (18th)-1.7% (15th)

And the Eagles' defense against the Lions' offense:

 
Yards Per Play
Points Per Game
DVOA (FB Outsiders)
Lions Offense6.1 (5th)27.2 (4th)5.4% (13th)
Eagles Defense5.5 (20th)23.4 (16th)7.6% (25th)

Note: Click here for an explanation of DVOA.

***

EAGLES RUSHING OFFENSE

 
YPC
FB Outsiders (DVOA)
Eagles Rushing Offense4.7 (2nd)18.4% (1st)
Lions Rushing Defense3.7 (4th)-27.6% (2nd)

The Eagles added some wrinkles to the run game last week that better suit Nick Foles' skill set. Teams were crashing down on McCoy on all zone-read plays, so the Eagles mixed in a sift block with the tight end to account for the unblocked defender.

McCoy carried 19 times for 79 yards against Arizona and is the league's second leading rusher with 1,088 yards. Detroit uses the Wide-9, but ranks second in the league against the run, per Football Outsiders. It all starts in the middle with Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley. The Eagles have started the same five offensive linemen every week, but Jason Kelce, Mathis and Todd Herremans will have their hands full.

Middle linebacker Stephen Tulloch is the Lions' leading tackler.

***

EAGLES PASSING OFFENSE

 
Completion Percentage
YPA
20+
FB Outsiders (DVOA)
Nick Foles63.3% (11th)9.14 (1st)*61 (1st)*26.7% (6th)
Lions Passing Defense60.4% (15th)7.7 (24th)40 (15th)13.8% (22nd)

* Team stat, not individual stat.

Nick Foles needs two touchdowns to become the only quarterback in NFL history to start a season with 21 TDs and zero interceptions. There's no doubt that he got some lucky bounces last week. Foles had an INT called back because of a Cardinals holding penalty, and he tried to flip the ball forward on a couple occasions where defenders had him in their grasp.

The numbers speak for themselves. Foles leads the NFL in yards-per-attempt (9.14) and QB rating (125.2). But he'll need to be especially careful with the ball when the Lions pressure him.

In addition to Suh and Fairley, rookie Ziggy Ansah is coming on strong for Detroit. Rushing off the edge, he leads the Lions with seven sacks overall, including four in the past two games. Lane Johnson has had some growing pains as a rookie and faces a big challenge. Herremans has had issues in pass protection also. Jason Peters has played well.

The Lions like to rely on their front four to get pressure and don't blitz a lot. Linebacker DeAndre Levy leads the league with six interceptions.

At cornerback, veteran Chris Houston did not play last week because of a foot injury and has been limited in practice. Rookie corner Darius Slay has been limited with a knee injury. The Lions also have veteran Rashean Mathis.

DeSean Jackson had a tough time getting free against Patrick Peterson last week, but should have his opportunities in this one. The Lions rank 28th against opposing No. 1 receivers, per Football Outsiders. Detroit has good veteran safeties in Louis Delmas and Glover Quin.

***

EAGLES RUSHING DEFENSE

 
YPC
FB Outsiders (DVOA)
Lions Rushing Offense4.2 (15th)-8.9% (24th)
Eagles Rushing Defense4.1 (14th)-5.6% (14th)

The Lions feature Reggie Bush and Joique Bell in the backfield. Bush has played well, averaging 4.7 YPC (854 total). Bell has 435 yards and six touchdowns.

The Eagles' run defense has been solid for much of the year. DeMeco Ryans is sixth in the NFL with 105 tackles. Mychal Kendricks had one of his best games of the year as a run-stopper against Arizona, finishing the game with 14 tackles, according to team stats.

***

EAGLES PASSING DEFENSE

 
Completion Percentage
YPA
20+
FB Outsiders (DVOA)
Matthew Stafford63.3% (12th)7.65 (8th)*52 (3rd)*20.6% (11th)
Eagles Passing Defense61.0% (19th)7.2 (16th)46 (25th)16.7% (25th)

In all likelihood, this is the area where the game will be won or lost. When he's on, Matthew Stafford can look like an elite talent. But he will turn the ball over, as seen by his 14 interceptions (fifth-most).

The Eagles are healthy at cornerback with Williams and Bradley Fletcher. Nate Allen has played well, but Patrick Chung has struggled.

The only plan for Calvin Johnson (72 catches for 1,299 yards and 12 TDs) is to pay a lot of attention to him. Both corners will get matched up against Johnson depending where he's lined up. Johnson has lined up in the slot 26.2 percent of the time, according to PFF. The Eagles will almost certainly put multiple defenders on him in those situations.

Aside from Johnson, Stafford spreads the ball around. Five other receivers have at least 25 catches. The linebackers will have to handle Bush coming out of the backfield. Tight end Brandon Pettigrew has 38 catches. And tight end Joseph Fauria has six touchdowns, second on the team.

Up front, the Eagles have gotten seven sacks from their outside linebackers (Cole, Brandon Graham and Connor Barwin) in the last two weeks. Detroit has only allowed 15 sacks all season, tied for fewest in the league. A lot of that is because Stafford gets rid of the ball quickly.

***

THE ESSENTIALS

Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. EST on FOX. Kevin Burkhardt and John Lynch will have the call with Erin Andrews on the sideline. According to Sports Insights, the Eagles are 3-point favorites. And the money is nearly split right down the middle; 51 percent is on the Birds to cover.

Follow Sheil Kapadia on Twitter and e-mail him at skapadia@phillymag.com.
Become a fan of Birds 24/7 on Facebook.

1 2 3 < PreviousView as One Page

Be respectful of our online community and contribute to an engaging conversation. We reserve the right to ban impersonators and remove comments that contain personal attacks, threats, or profanity, or are flat-out offensive. By posting here, you are permitting Philadelphia magazine and Metro Corp. to edit and republish your comment in all media.

  • Tom wL

    Big difference from last week is that Detroit does not have a strong defense and actually has a horrid pass defense. I would compare their overall defense to the bucs … Strong dline play followed by a very weak secondary. If we don’t beat ourselves on offense, we should be able to put up atleast 31 pts on these guys fairly easily (if wind isn’t a major factor). Lions will score some points but we should win the turnover battle and field position battle and penalty rate. Lions are not a well coached team so I believe that is another strong advantage for us. If we get up early which we have consistently done all season, we should be able to dictate the pace. Stafford will cough it up and we will score. Wrs will have big games for the birds.

    • Aran

      I don’t anticipate a game in the coming weather to be a high-scoring affair, and Shady won’t be able to cut for his yards on that field through the #3 run D. Bush wasn’t cutting in practice yesterday, but they do have Bell.

      • Tom W

        Ehh.. mid 30s light snow and light wind … not that bad overall. vegas still has the total around 53.5 …. While i think it goes under, I could see us winning 27-24 or 30-21

    • Dr Rick

      Good points. I think this is a game where the up tempo will be particularly effective, and think CK will really use it. The more plays we can get in against the Lions’ D the better we will do. We need to keep Stafford off the field as much as possible. On D, just not giving up anything cheap should keep us in position for a turnover or 3, and get the O back on the field.
      Go Birds!

  • Andy124

    The better team doesn’t always win. If the better team wins on Sunday, the Eagles will be on a 5 game winning streak.

  • Adam

    These quotes about players feeling the best they have in their career this late into the season gives me a quarter chub. I love you so much, Mystery Man Shaun Huls.

    • G_WallyHunter

      And those two assistants that Tim revealed yesterday, again, supposed to be classified..

      If multiple teams have similar programs in place next year ill be pointing my finger at u know who, the guy who basically published a blueprint

      • Adam

        Unless we keep the same 53 man roster and coaching staff for the next 10 years, I’m not sure it’s going to stay a secret for long.

        • anon

          Exactly, Im sure Issac already talked to bellichik about it

        • G_WallyHunter

          Ya unfortunately, I just hope no other teams can organize a program as effective as this one, as I said in previous post, of course teams will get inside scoop on what it is exactly that they do, the facts, methods, tweaks. The challenge is putting it all together as well as Huls and co have. On another note, lets hope this staff is loyal and sticks around for a while, especially if they keep this up (then again, if they keep this up they’ll be getting calls, so hopefully they don’t take the bait)

        • TNA

          Unless other teams know how Huls is crunching the numbers to come up with the customized treatment/recovery/diet/workout plan, that stuff will remain an Eagles secret unless Huls is hired away. The lifestyle changes, the players can keep and good for them – it’s stuff they should’ve been doing anyway.

          If everybody in the league starts measuring players’ sleep habits and gets guys to sleep 8-10 hrs a night, and the quality of play across the league starts to go up, and there are less late-night NFL-player related PR disasters, the NFL should thank CK and give him a job if he wants it after his coaching career is over.

    • BlindChow

      Clones! IT’S ALL CLONES!!

  • knighn

    Google Jim Schwartz and the picture from this article comes up:
    http://www.chicagonow.com/chicago-tough/2011/11/jim-schwartz-totally-that-douchebag-coach-from-80s-movies-trying-to-stop-attractive-quarterback-from-living-basic-high-school-life/

    Bottom line: whether the Big Blue Pussies win or lose, Jim Schwartz is a Douchebag.

    • Adam

      Oh god, what a doucher. He looks like Drew Rosenhaus.

      • knighn

        They need to change their names:
        Drew Rosenhaus —> Douche Rosendouche
        Jim Schwartz —> Douche Sharts

  • EaglePete

    anyone notice Celek make that first down catch last week then get this…..not make the 1st down hand motion…looked at sidelines and lined up for the next play. Loved it.

    • BlindChow

      Instead, he now does the motion every time he beats a stoplight.

    • EaglefaninAZ

      No time for that when you’re not huddling.

  • G_WallyHunter

    Dammit not john lynch again, I’d rather put the game on mute. I believe he did the SD game and I remember how much he sucked. Too many concussions make for some hilariously repetitive comments and name mix-ups

    • bentheimmigrant

      Anything’s better than last week.

      • G_WallyHunter

        ya lol moose is almost as bad

        • bentheimmigrant

          Almost? Those guys were freaking out because we lined up with 25 seconds on the play clock. They didn’t even consider that we might not snap it straight away.

          • G_WallyHunter

            Ya that was comical, they were going pretty crazy, critiquing it as usual. “I’ll tell ya moose, I just don’t understand what these Eagles are doing, why are they snapping it with over 10 seconds on the clock?” .. wouldn’t shut up about it.

            John Lynch sucks, listen for name screw ups on Sunday, he loves them.. or lines like “The thing about this offense is that it just isn’t effective without effective execution and effectively moving the chains”… he loves stating things like that, as if it’s unique to the team he’s talking about.

  • EaglePete

    Our D line has to get serious pressure on Stafford and force him to throw out of timing, hopefully get some turnovers. Sack fumbles and INTs otherwise it may be a shootout.

    • Mr. Magee

      Agree… I think whichever team gets better pressure on the QB wins the game.