The Philadelphia Eagles (1-1) and Detroit Lions (1-0-1) are set to play at Lincoln Financial Field on Sunday afternoon. In order to preview this Week 3 game, I reached out to our friends over at Pride Of Detroit. The magnanimous Mike Payton (@POD_Payton) kindly took the time to answer my questions about the upcoming matchup. Let’s take a look at his answers! (Also, don’t forget to check out my side of the Q&A exchange over at POD.)
1 - So, what’s the deal with this team. They had a big lead on the Cards and blew it. Then they narrowly beat the Chargers. Are the Lions actually any good?
That’s what we’re trying to figure out. So far the Lions defense has played 7 1/2 really good quarters of football. They’re getting pressure on opposing quarterbacks and causing turnovers. Most of all, they’re keeping points off the board. What happened in Arizona feels like a fluke at this point. The Lions coaching staff nearly cost them the game after calling a timeout in the middle of a play that went for a first down. That play would have ended the game. Moments later the Cardinals blocked a punt and put themselves on their side of the field. A move that allowed them to tie the game. I can’t fault the defense for that too much.
Offensively there are moments when this team looks like it can be unstoppable. Then there’s moments where you want to jump off a bridge. I don’t know if they’re still trying to figure out the new offense, or if they’re bad. Either way, Matthew Stafford has been on the first two weeks. He’s completed 65% of his passes and has looked like this mix of the old air it out Stafford and the newer protect the ball Stafford.
At this point Lions fans are just hoping this continues.
2 - I saw an article on Pride of Detroit titled: “Matt Patricia is bad at his job.” Do you agree? Why or why not?
It’s really hard to say at this point. There are so many things that Patricia has done since coming to Detroit that point to him in fact being bad at his job. Including that timeout in Arizona that I mentioned earlier. Obviously he has time management issues as well. But to be fair, that’s probably the most popular fan complaint for every coach in the league. I’m sure there’s Eagles fans that feel that way about Pederson.
Where it gets hard is when you talk to players. Every player I’ve spoke with about Patrica has nothing but glowing things to say about the guy. Defensive lineman Mike Daniels even said he’s a genius. While that doesn’t necessarily mean he’s a good coach, it’s proof that the team is bought in. We’ll see if things stay that way.
3 - What is the Lions’ biggest strength? Where do they have the biggest edge in this game?
It has to be the passing game. Right now the Lions are sixth in the league in passing yards per game. Darrell Bevell has Matthew Stafford throwing the ball everywhere. In the first two games he’s completed 49 passes to 10 different receivers. I still don’t understand why so many thought this offense was going to be run first.
This gives the Lions the edge because only one team has allowed more passing yards than the Philadelphia Eagles. There’s also only one teams that’s allowed more passing touchdowns than the Eagles too. The Eagles are also struggling to get to the quarterback as well. They’re 28th in sacks right now.
I know it’s only been two weeks. But based on all of that, the Lions have the edge there.
4 - What is the Lions’ biggest weakness? What concerns you the most about the Eagles?
The Lions linebacking corps is scary in the sense that I have nightmares about it. This is where the Eagles can definitely hurt the Lions. If I were Carson Wentz I would just chuck it over the middle all day long. The Eagles have the players to make that happen too. I would strongly consider playing Zach Ertz in your fantasy leagues if you got him. He could have a big day. Darren Sproles and Jordan Howard could have a good day too. The Eagles don’t need to go deep to beat the Lions. They can just dink and dunk all day.
5 - Who wins this game and why? Score prediction? And what are your expectations for the rest of this Lions season?
I’m not trying to be a homer I swear. But I’m going with the Lions winning this game. Between the Eagles major injury questions and the Eagles defense struggling to stop the pass, I think that’s just enough for the Lions to come to Philly and pull out a win. It certainly won’t be easy though. The Eagles will keep it close.
As far as the rest of the season goes, I’m still in the same group with the rest of the Detroit beat writers. This is a 10-6 team that’s more than likely heading for a wild card berth. Dear god I hope we’re all right.