Kind of a no-win scenario for the 2-5 Eagles who are facing the 0-7 Lions in Detroit… If you beat the Lions you will be criticized for only beating bad teams… and if you lose to the Lions, you will be ridiculed.
Of course it didn’t help that Nick Sirianni compared his team to a growing flower this week. Reportedly the players are okay with the analogy, but it sets up a floral backlash by fans and media if things go south in Detroit.
In fact, except for the broken quarterback that Jared Goff has become, the Lions are quite capable of giving the Birds a lesson in gardening.
John McMullen is now with SI.com, and he gives us a few warnings about the garden party upcoming:
“Call it Flower Power vs. Biting Kneecaps as two rookie head coaches look to stave off the mob with the only thing that can satiate those with the torches and pitchforks: a win. For the Lions’ Dan Campbell, it would be his first in Detroit while Sirianni is trying to fend off the growing portion of the fanbase that believes he’s overmatched.”
Here’s what you should know about the 0-7 Lions, a group that has been competitive in five of its games but has yet to learn how to win with a number of younger players in key roles…
“Lions running backs Jamaal Williams (312 yards rushing, 99 receiving) and D’Andre Swift, a Philadelphia native and St. Joe’s Prep alum, (262 rushing, 391 receiving) are one of three NFL tandems to have at least 250 rushing yards and 95 receiving yards through Week 7.
“They are the first Lions pair to total these numbers through the first seven games of a season since RBs Dexter Bussey and Billy Sims in 1980. Overall, the dynamic duo is responsible for 1,064 of Detroit’s 2,341 net yards (45.5 percent) and seven of Detroit’s 12 touchdowns (53.8 percent).
“[Swift] gets the ball a lot of different ways,” Eagles safety Rodney McLeod said. “They like to get him on the perimeter on perimeter runs and also get him out in space. Giving him check-downs and screens.
“Every way they can find ways to get him the ball, they do and he does a good job and he’s very talented and so, one we have to rally to the ball. We gotta tackle well in space against him and he’s a guy that’s grabbed our attention on film.”
RACKING UP YAC
The Lions receivers aren’t big names but Jared Goff’s occasional accuracy will make tackling on the back end for the Philadelphia defense very important.
Of Detroit’s 1,790 passing yards on the season, 1,096 have come after the catch (61.2 percent), the second-most in the NFL. The 61.2 percent of the total receiving yardage is tops in the NFL.
Tight end T.J. Hockenson and receivers Kalif Raymond and Amon-Ra St. Brown, a rookie, are the biggest threats.
“Nick Sirianni has placed a lot of the Eagles’ offensive struggles on the lack of efficacy on first- and second-downs. The Lions, meanwhile, have held opponents to 911 yards on 192 first-down plays this season, the sixth-fewest in the NFL.
“Teams are averaging only 4.74 yards gained on those 192 first-down plays, the third-lowest average in the NFL through Week 7.”
EDGE ON THE EDGE?
“A week after Yannik Ngakoue and Maxx Crosby looked like world-beaters, Jordan Mailata and Lane Johnson may again have their hands full again with Trey Flowers, Julian Okwara, and Charles Harris.”
The Lions’ edge rushers have combined for 230 pass-rushing snaps, generating 55 total pressures and 38 quarterback hurries. The advanced numbers say the Lions edge players have won 33.5 percent of their individual matchups at the line of scrimmage, the sixth-most efficient rate in the NFL.
JOHN MCMULLEN (6-1, 5-2 vs. the spread): This should be about two mistake-prone teams with young players in key positions battling over who makes fewer mistakes over 60 minutes.
Many in Detroit feel this is the week a Lions team which has been close in a number of games gets over the top against an Eagles club trying to halt the outside noise that will be turned up to a Spinal Tap-like 11 if the Eagles lose.
“Figure on Philadelphia winning a close one because the Lions usually invent ways to lose. Maybe a long Jake Elliott field goal at the final gun is the difference.”
INJURY REPORT TWO DAYS BEFORE GAME:
Eagles—- Wide receiver DeVonta Smith (headache) was a full participant after missing Wednesday’s practice. Same goes for defensive tackle Fletcher Cox who rested on Wednesday. Starting left guard Landon Dickerson was added to the injury report on Thursday as a limited participant with a hip injury. Here is the full breakdown:
• DE Ryan Kerrigan (Groin)
• CB Zech McPhearson (Hamstring)
• RB Miles Sanders (Ankle/Foot)
• WR J.J. Arcega-Whiteside (Back)
• OL Landon Dickerson (Hip)
• DT Javon Hargrave (Shoulder)
• S Anthony Harris (Thumbs/Groin)
• C/G Jack Anderson (Hamstring)
• DT Fletcher Cox (Rest)
• T Lane Johnson (Rest)
• C Jason Kelce (Foot/Rest)
• WR DeVonta Smith (Headache)
Lions add RB Jamaal Williams to the injury report…
Two Lions did not participate in Thursday’s practice – cornerbacks Jerry Jacobs (illness) and AJ Parker (neck) – but Detroit added running back Jamaal Williams to the injury report as a limited participant with a thigh injury. Two of the Lions’ top offensive weapons – tight end T.J. Hockenson (ankle/knee) and running back D’Andre Swift (groin) – were limited for a second straight day.