The Detroit Lions will be hoping to remain undefeated when they visit the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field on Sunday afternoon.
Detroit is 1-0-1 following a tie against Arizona and win over the Chargers. The Lions picked up the pace–at least on defense–from their 27-27 deadlock with the Cardinals to edge the Chargers 13-10 in Week 2. L.A. gained 424 total yards but turned it over twice and made only one of three field-goal tries.
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The Lions’ defense is 11th in the NFL in points allowed per game (18.5). Their pass defense is 10th, while they come in at 12th against the run. Unlike last season, Detroit boasts some legitimate talent in the form of edge rusher Trey Flowers and cornerbacks Justin Coleman and Rashaan Melvin. This team used four of its first five 2019 draft picks on defenders. A major reason for the Lions starting the season with a respectable 1-0-1 mark is the play of their lines on both sides of the ball. The o-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–good for eighth in the NFL and, for example, four more than the Eagles.
“It’s a team that’s going to be well prepared, that’s always going to be [head coach Matt] Patricia’s style,” Philadelphia head coach Doug Pederson commented. “He learned from the best and it’s going to take great preparation on our part, as well.”
Pederson did get the better of Patricia in 2017 when the Eagles took on the Patriots. Patricia was the defensive coordinator for New England as his team fell, 41-33 to give Philadelphia their first Super Bowl title.
“For us it’s all about this year, just like I’m sure it is for him,” Patricia said. “It’s all about this year and the team that he has and the team that we have and trying to prepare our teams to go play well Week 3 in September. So it’s always a little bit different from that standpoint. But I think it’s just, I have a lot of respect for him and what he’s done there and like I said the coaches that are there. Those are guys that I know really well and I know how hard they work, so I know it’s going to be a big challenge for us.”
The Eagles (1-1) have split a pair of competitive contests, beating NFC East rival Washington 32-27 before falling at Atlanta 24-20 this past Sunday night. Quarterback Carson Wentz is off to a fine start, with 544 passing yards, four touchdowns compared to two interceptions, and an additional score on the ground. But it was not enough to beat the Falcons, as Philadelphia squandered a late lead at Mercedes-Benz Stadium to lose a back-and-forth thriller.
Keeping players fresh was the top priority Wednesday as preparation for Week 3 began.
— Philadelphia Eagles (@Eagles) September 19, 2019
Adding insult to injury, or vice versa, the Eagles are so riddled with physical problems that they cancelled practice on Wednesday and held a walk-through instead. They could be without starting receivers DeSean Jackson and Alshon Jeffery in addition to key backups at tight end (Dallas Goedert), running back (Corey Clement), and on the defensive line (Timmy Jernigan) against Detroit. Patricia, however, is preparing as normal.
“(It’s) not really uncommon for coaches to…it’s called cancel practice…but they’re still walking through, they’re still preparing, they’re still getting ready to go,” Patricia noted. “We did the same thing last year for Carolina, walked through on Wednesday and then practiced Thursday and Friday and then we played, so not really an uncommon thing. Something that I know, knowing Pederson and the job that he does to get his team ready to go and ready to play, they’re working…. So are we, and we’re just all trying to do the same thing, get better and hopefully give us a chance to go win on Sunday.”
The Detroit Lions are:
- 4-1 ATS in their last five September games
- 6-2-1 ATS in their last nine games on grass
- 4-1 ATS in their last five games against Philadelphia
The Philadelphia Eagles are:
- 2-6 ATS in their last eight home games
- 0-5 ATS in their last five September games
- 1-4 ATS in their last five games after allowing at least 350 yards of total offense in their previous game