The Detroit Lions are in danger of imploding, something we’ve certainly heard before from this team. Head coach Jim Caldwell is trying to grab these guys and bring them together, but they still look like the same dysfunctional Lions, going back to the Joey Harrington era in Detroit. They aren’t as bad as they were then, mind you, the Lions made the playoffs since then and put a competitive product on the field. But too many times we are left thinking that it’s the same old Lions. Last week defined what it means to be the same old Lions.
They blew a chance to get back on track against the Bears last week in Chicago. Instead of acting like a real team, they looked like a bunch of lifeless scrubs who didn’t want to be playing. The most glaring mistake of the game was a late interception from Matthew Stafford as he looked for Golden Tate on an out pattern. Tate ran straight towards the end zone on a go-route, while Stafford was looking for the out to the boundaries. End result: an easy interception for the Bears.
It wasn’t completely clear who was in the wrong, but Tate seemed to get benched, so the smoking gun was pretty clear for everyone to see. The only explanation I have for the play is that Tate missed an audible call and ran the wrong route. The Lions’ problems have gone beyond this one play, though. There are depth issues all over the field, from the defense to the offense.
I don’t know how you go from a top defense a couple years ago to one of the worst in such a short amount of time, but the Lions have made it happen. The life was sucked out of the defense after Ndamukong Suh departed for Miami. Cliff Avril was another sizable loss at the defensive end position. Offensively, the Lions have no running backs.
All it took was an injury to Ameer Abdullah to put an end to their depth in the backfield. With Abdullah gone for the year, it immediately put Theo Riddick in the starting role. Riddick is a great change of pace back, but no way is he a starter. Leon Washington, a rookie, has been the second option for Detroit. Couple this with a bad offensive line, and the Lions still haven’t had a dominant run game since Barry Sanders. The Eagles are coming off a big win against the Pittsburgh Steelers. They will look to avoid the trap game this afternoon in Detroit.
Philadelphia Eagles vs. Detroit Lions NFL Betting Odds:
vs. Lions +3.5(-110)
Odds provided by Bovada.lv
Eagles vs. Lions Pick:
Carson Wentz had his first statement game two weeks ago against the Steelers, a 34-3 clobbering at home in Philadelphia. I told you in August that Wentz is an NFL quarterback and Jared Goff is a good college quarterback. We’ll still have to wait a few years to see if that prediction holds, but Wentz looks like a franchise quarterback, and Goff has yet to crack the field. Wentz had a coming out party versus the Steelers, as he passed for 301 yards and 2 touchdowns.
The running game also got into the act, rushing for 2 touchdowns and 126 yards. Wentz hasn’t thrown an interception yet. For a rookie quarterback, no interceptions through the first three games is rare. You look for rookies to make rookie mistakes, yet Wentz has been able to avoid the mistakes.
The Lions have had issues forcing turnovers, picking opposing quarterbacks of only once this season, which is tied for second last in the NFL. It appears to get to Wentz a mean pass rush is needed. The Lions do not have that anymore, outside of Ziggh Anzah on the edge. Detroit is 26th in the NFL with regards to total team defense, allowing 387 yards per game.
The Eagles presented a hard test for Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers. They were ready for them, and completely nullified anything they attempted to do. They are 3rd in yards allowed per game and 1st in points allowed. Philadelphia has surrendered just 9 points per game in 2016. The Eagles were fortunate enough to get a bye following the Steelers win. If not, this would have been a classic letdown spot. However, because they had an extra week to sit back and relax, the Eagles should be ready to go against the Lions. They shouldn’t have any problems shutting down this offense, which suddenly has plenty of holes in it. I expect a 27-17 Eagles win this afternoon in Detroit.
PICK: EAGLES -3.5 (-110)