Oct 14, 2012, 12:09 PM EST
As the Eagles get set to host the Detroit Lions, we are struck by the stark difference between being either 4-2 or 3-3 heading into the bye week.
Even if the Birds lose today, a 3-3 record isn’t exactly bad. When we made our preseason predictions, that was actually right where we expected this team to be after six games. They can still win around 10 games, sneak into the playoffs, make a run — all that stuff. The road is going to be a lot harder, that’s all.
Should the Eagles win on Sunday instead though, not only does 4-2 lend slightly more credence to their previous victories, which weren’t necessarily very convincing. A ‘W’ here certainly could do wonders in terms of energizing the fan base, but more importantly, Philly will find itself climbing into the driver’s seat, controllers of their own destiny.
Of course, it’s entirely possible the Eagles could be the only squad to come out of this stretch at four wins, which at that point, then they’re in really good shape obviously.
As far as the Lions are concerned, this is certainly a winnable game. Detroit was a trendy pick to reach the postseason last season, and they did just that, going 10-6 before falling to the Saints in the Wild Card. However, they’re off to a 1-3 start this season, and as we discussed in our Opposition Beat Q&A earlier this week, this team has some problems.
Priority number one will be Juan Castillo and Todd Bowles figuring out how to contain Calvin Johnson, but the Lions’ offense is a one-trick pony. They haven’t been able to run the ball effectively, and the rest of their options in the passing game are unable to exploit all the one-on-ones they see with any consistency. Megatron is almost always going to get his, but if the Eagles can limit his explosive plays force Matt Stafford to look elsewhere just enough, Detroit’s offense can be kept in check.
Their defense, on the other hand, is prone to big plays. Michael Vick and the Eagles should be able to take advantage of a thin secondary with perhaps their most efficient passing attack of the season — provided the protection holds up. Ndamukong Suh and Cliff Avirl lead a scary front four against the Birds’ patchwork offensive line, but if Vick has time, there should be plenty of opportunities for Jackson, Maclin, and Celek to pick apart Detroit’s defensive backs.
And while the Lions are walking into the Linc rested on a bye, defensive tackle Corey Williams is out, while Avril and safety Louis Delmas will play, but were both listed as questionable on the injury report. Translation, this isn’t exactly the same as the Steelers week ago, who were largely back at full speed. Meanwhile, everybody on the Eagles’ 53-man roster is available today.
So we’re feeling pretty good about their chances in this one. The Lions certainly are no pushovers. Their pass rush has the ability to alter the game’s momentum at any given moment with one huge sack, and Calvin Johnson is a human touchdown machine that is always a threat to break out for a huge game — he is literally indefensible by any fewer than three defenders.
Tough matchup, but think about how much better 4-2 would feel for the next two weeks.
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