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|Photo Courtesy: Philadelphia Eagles|
This game wasn't supposed to be as good as it is. The Eagles were supposed to have five or six wins at this point in the season, while the Lions were supposed to be third in the division, behind the Packers and the Bears. It's funny how things work out. With just four weeks to go in the regular season, both the Lions and Eagles are fighting for a division title. You could bring up the argument that both teams are seemingly lucky to be in the position their in, what with Aaron Rodgers and Jay Cutler spending time with injuries and the Cowboys, Giants, and Redskins under-performing. That doesn't matter at this point. With a win, the Eagles would improve to 8-5, having possession of a five game winning streak (including three at home). This is easily the toughest remaining game on the Eagles schedule. If they win, they're a playoff team. If they don't win, they may need some help from other teams eventually.
The Last Time They Met: October 14th, 2012- Lions 26, Eagles 23
|Hanson reacts after his game-winning field goal.|
Photo Courtesy: SB Nation
There were just over three minutes to go after Matthew Stafford's TD pass to Nate Burleson, but the Eagles proceeded to go three-and-out, allowing the Lions to tie it as time expired.
The Eagles got the ball first in overtime but failed to do anything. Vick was sacked twice and the Eagles were forced the punt the ball out of their own endzone. The Lions started at midfield, and made it to the 32 yard-line, where Jason Hanson converted a 49 yard field goal attempt, ending the game.
The loss was the second consecutive late loss for the Eagles; one week earlier fans had to witness the Steelers chew up over six minutes of clock en route to a field goal by Shaun Suisham as time expired.
Vick started slow but finished with 28 completions on 46 attempts for 311 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. His favorite target was Maclin, who hauled in six passes for 130 yards and a touchdown. LeSean McCoy had a rough day, rushing for only 22 yards on 14 attempts.
Stafford finished with 22 completions on 45 attempts for 311 yards, one touchdown and one interception. His favorite target was, of course, Calvin Johnson, who caught six passes for 135 yards. Unlike Vick, Stafford had a run game to work with, as Mikel Leshoure carried the ball 15 times for 70 yards.
Eagles Offense vs. Lions Defense
|Two of the best d-linemen in the league.|
Photo Courtesy: Sports Illustrated
Despite the conditions not being as favorable as they were last week, it's safe to say that the Eagles offense can't possibly perform worse than they did during the second half against the Cardinals. The forecast is calling for snow, rain, and temperatures in the mid 30's, so LeSean McCoy and Bryce Brown will need to get going early. That's not going to be an easy task. The Lions run defense is allowing only 82.7 rushing yards per game, which is good for third in the league. They're led by a strong defensive line highlighted by Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley. The linebackers have contributed as well; Stephen Tulloch and DeAndre Levy lead the team with 97 and 95 total tackles, respectively, and are forces in the run game. Levy also leads the team in interceptions, with six.
|Foles will give the Eagles the best chance to win on Sunday.|
Photo Courtesy: Sports Illustrated
Lions Offense vs. Eagles Defense
|Stafford plus Bush plus Johnson equals overkill.|
Photo Courtesy: freep.com
|Cox is a budding superstar for the Eagles.|
Photo Courtesy: eagledelphia.com
Special Teams Battle
Remember when I said Connor Barwin might have been the best free agent signing the Eagles made last spring? Donnie Jones might be giving him a run for his money. Jones seemingly pins the opposition deep in their own territory punt after punt, and even has a couple NFC Special Teams Player of the Week awards to boot. Overall, he has a net average of 41.2 yards (with a long of 70) while 29 of his 65 punts have landed inside the 20. Alex Henery has made 18 of his 23 field goal attempts (with a long of 48). Damaris Johnson, Brandon Boykin, and DeSean Jackson are the main return men.
There's a familiar face on Detroit's ST unit: David Akers. Akers makes his second and most likely last return to Philadelphia. He's converted on 15 of 20 attempts with a long of 53. He's on the decline, and it's possible that he'll be without a job after this season is over. Punter Sam Martin has also been excellent: he has a net average of 41.5 (with a long of 72), while 13 of his 48 punts have landed inside the 20. Micheal Spurlock and Jeremy Ross are the main return men.
Prediction: Eagles 27, Lions 23
This is a game that many expect the Eagles to lose. To be honest, if this game was being played a couple of months ago, they would lose. However, the offense has been clicking under Nick Foles, the defense has been outstanding, and the special teams unit has greatly contributed. Sure, Stafford, Bush, and Johnson are a dangerous threesome to have to contend with, but the Eagles will be up the task. The Eagles will improve to 8-5, and by the end of Monday Night, they'll have sole possession of first place in the NFC East.