The Philadelphia Eagles 2015 regular season football schedule continues this week with a game against the Detroit Lions. The Eagles can maybe keep their season alive with a win on Thanksgiving. In advance of this game, I reached out to our friends over at Pride Of Detroit. The great Alex Reno (@alex_reno) kindly took the time to answer my questions about the upcoming matchup. Let's take a look at his answers.
1) The Lions got off to a pretty bad start this year but they’ve won their last two games. Why the sudden success?
It’s difficult to pinpoint exactly what triggered this recent turnaround (if you can call it that yet). Firing Joe Lombardi was a definitely a step in the right direction for this team, although I would have preferred that the decision be made much earlier in the year. His replacement, Jim Bob Cooter, has done a decent job of turning things around in a short amount of time.
The defense has also stepped up in a huge way, particularly in the secondary. Over the past three games, Darius Slay has given up just 15 receiving yards. Defensive coordinator Teryl Austin is a very popular man in Detroit.
2) Detroit made some firings but somehow Jim Caldwell has a job … for now. Are the Lions going to keep him? And what does the future hold for Matt Stafford?
The problem with firing Jim Caldwell is that you really don’t have anyone to replace him. At least not right now. Teryl Austin is a possibility, but firing nearly your entire staff mid-season is just going to create more problems. The popular belief amongst the fanbase is that Jim Caldwell is likely gone once a new general manager is hired.
Stafford’s situation is a bit more polarizing. The problem with him is that he’s never had a coaching staff able to get him over that hump to lead the team to a playoff win. Many, including myself, believe he’s just an average to above-average QB that will probably never live up to his massive contract. I think his future will lie in the hands of our new management.
3) Who is one player you’d steal from the Eagles’ roster to put on the Lions?
This is a tough one because of the difference in schemes, but I’d have to go with Fletcher Cox here. The Lions have a tremendously difficult time creating pressure off of a four-man rush and the only way they’re able to get pressure on opposing QBs is with Austin’s creative blitz packages. If Cox is as good in the 1- or 3-tech as he is in the 5-tech, then he would be a huge upgrade over our current defensive tackles. Cox has 11 more total pressures than our two starting DTs combined, according to Pro Football Focus. This depresses me.
4) Can you name one matchup that really favors the Eagles?
That’s easy. I think Cooter is going to have his hands full with Cox and the rest of that Eagles D-line when preparing for Thursday’s game. The Lions’ offensive line has been a major issue all year, failing to get any push in the run game and leaving Stafford out there to get killed. Granted, the O-line has looked slightly better as of late, but I expect the Eagles to give them fits all game long.
5) Let’s hear your predictions for this game. Who wins and why?
My prediction is pain. But seriously, I’m going to go ahead and say the Lions win a close one because it only makes sense for them to start winning games when the season is all but lost. Lions win 21-20 on three touchdowns, a field goal and three missed extra points from Matt Prater.