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October 29, 2021

Week 8 NFL picks: Rounding up the experts' predictions for Eagles vs. Lions

Eagles NFL

Fresh off a demoralizing loss to the Raiders in Vegas that put on display all the same warts that have plagued the Eagles all season, Nick Sirianni will lead his team into Detroit on Sunday to face one of the few teams in the NFL who have actually been worse: the Lions. 

The winless Lions traded Matthew Stafford this offseason and replaced him with Jared Goff — and the results have not been what they hoped for. But that's good news for the reeling Eagles, who come in as favorites for the first time all season and are in desperate need of a win. A loss and things could turn really dark in Philadelphia, the dreaded part of a season where fan anger turns to fan apathy and the rallying cry switches from "we must be better" to better luck next year. 

Just halfway through the season, the Eagles are in very real danger of reaching that point — although there's been enough bad from both the coaching staff and the players to keep fans upset for some time to come. 

As we do every week, we've rounded up a slew of predictions from both the local and national media to get a feeling for how the experts see Eagles vs. Lions playing out — including a few against the spread. Let's dive right in... 

• PhillyVoice: It's a pretty even split for our staff, with four picking the Eagles and three taking the Lions. The one constant? Everyone has this as a close game. Here's how John McMullen sees it playing out... 

Call it Flower Power vs. Biting Kneecaps and we all know which one most of the City of Philadelphia would want leading its team but technically neither form of messaging is working just yet for the 2-5 Eagles and the 0-7 Lions. There's a lesson in there in that personnel trumps everything else in the NFL. For what it's worth, though, multiple Eagles sources confirmed that Nick Sirianni's much-ballyhooed flower speech went over like gangbusters behind the scenes, albeit with plenty of F-bombs accentuating what you heard in a public setting. 

When it comes to this week, it's going to be about two mistake-prone teams with young players in key positions battling over who makes fewer mistakes over 60 minutes. Many in Detroit feel this is the week a Lions team which has been close in a number of games gets over the top against an Eagles club trying to halt the outside noise that will be turned up to a Spinal Tap-like 11 if SIrianni didn't find enough fertilizer and water this week to hold off a winless club. Figure on the Eagles winning a close one because the Lions usually invent ways to lose.  Eagles 23, Lions 20

• All three of their Eagles beat writers are going with the Birds, including EJ Smith, who is predicting a 31-28 win for Philly. 

The Eagles can’t cough this one up, can they?

This is a strange case where there’s heightened urgency on both sides. The Eagles, losers of five of their last six games, need to stop the skid and fast if they don’t want the season to devolve like it did last year. The winless Lions’ desperation speaks for itself.

Their record is poor, but it wouldn’t be fair to say this plucky Lions’ team is lifeless, at the very least. They’ve challenged good teams on several occasions so far and first-year coach Dan Campbell is willing to switch things up in search for his first win. Jared Goff’s stock isn’t as high as it once was, but he has still played decently enough to suggest he’ll be able to make plays against this Eagles defense.

It’s a shaky bet, but I’m banking on the Eagles offense keeping pace for the first time in nearly a month. The last time the Eagles’ offense played an encouraging game was against the Kansas City Chiefs, and it just so happens this Lions defense is the worst group the Eagles have faced since that early-October game. By Sunday evening, we’ll know if the offense is salvageable or if things are too far gone. Four of their six writers are taking the Eagles, including both of their Birds beat writers. Here's Mike Kaye's pick... 

The Eagles must win this game to keep the snowball from rolling further down the hill. The Lions are winless, but have played opposing teams hard every week. Detroit hasn’t scored more than 19 points in a game since Week 1 and their defense isn’t particularly good, either. If the Eagles were hoping to inject some sort of positive feeling back into their locker room, this matchup could be a saving grace. It won’t be an easy win though.

The Eagles know they need to make significant changes to the play-calling on offense and defense. In order to beat the Lions, they’ll need to make those alterations in a hurry.

PICK: Eagles 23, Lions 21.

• Bleeding Green Nation: In a huge surprise, the majority of the BGN staff (four of seven) is taking the Lions to win.

• The Athletic: Both Zach Berman and Bo Wulf think the Eagles will hold off the Lions on Sunday. Here's more from Berman, who sees a 20-13 win for the Birds... 

If the Eagles can’t beat a winless Lions team, that will be revealing and raise even more questions about the Sirianni-Hurts combination. There’s been considerable scrutiny of the defense, but I expect them to make life difficult for Goff and play more aggressively against an offense that lacks big-play ability. This will be a redemptive afternoon for that unit. There should be more concern about the offense, which has only surpassed 22 points twice this season. The receivers should be able to get open against an undermanned secondary. Can Hurts consistently deliver the ball on target? I’m not convinced. The Eagles will win this game because they’re the better team, but it won’t be sunny in Philadelphia all of a sudden.

MORE: Eagles vs. Lions: Predictions, betting odds and more

• Gregg Rosenthal, NFL.comEagles 24, Lions 20

The Lions' death-by-a-thousand-cuts offense matches up well on paper against an Eagles defense that loves nothing more than giving up a 7-yard pass. The problem is that the Lions never live in the end. They are well-coached, but their No. 1 wide receiver, Kalif Raymond, was essentially sixth on the depth chart when he was in Tennessee. It's the rare game where the Eagles are the more talented team, and things could start to unravel in Philadelphia if they can't win this one.

• ESPN: Just three of their 10 experts are taking the Eagles. Yikes.

• Tim McManus, ESPN: Eagles 20, Lions 20

• Eric Woodyard, ESPN: Lions 21, Eagles 17

 Pete Prisco, CBS Sports: Eagles 28, Lions 23

The Eagles are playing consecutive road games, which is a challenge. They didn't look good on the road against the Raiders. The Lions are coming off a tough loss to the Rams. They played well, but I think the Eagles are still the better team. Jalen Hurts will bounce back and play well. 

• CBS Sports: Just three of their eight experts see an Eagles' win on Sunday, and just one (Prisco) thinks the Eagles will cover the 3.5-point spread.

• ProFootballTalk: Michael David Smith has Philly handing the Lions their eighth loss to start the season, while Mike Florio thinks the Eagles lose on Sunday. Here's more from Smith, who sees a final of Eagles 17, Lions 10.

I like how hard Dan Campbell has his team playing, but right now he just doesn’t have the personnel. They’ll play hard but come up short. Again.

• USA TODAY Sports: Four of their seven writers are picking the Eagles.

MORE: All of Jimmy Kempski's Week 8 NFL picks

• Bleacher Report: Eagles 24, Lions 23 (NOTE: While they're picking the Eagles to win, just one of their six writers believes Philly covers the spread.)

Speaking of unworthy hooks, a Philadelphia Eagles team that hasn't won by more than three points since Week 1 is laying 3.5 on the road Sunday against a Detroit Lions squad that is 0-7 overall by 4-3 ATS. 

Our crew isn't remotely interested in the favorite. 

"Enough is enough for these Lions already," O'Donnell said. "Arguably the most winnable game of their season has arrived and I'll gladly take these points at home. Dan Campbell's group isn't a good football team, but they play hard and they're due a break.

"The Eagles aren't a good team, either. In fact, they have scored a touchdown in the final five minutes in every one of their losses. This is a bad football team whose final score lines don't reflect how bad they actually are. The 'garbage time' wonders are exactly that: garbage. The Lions should break through for a much-deserved W this Sunday, but even if they get their hearts broken again it won't be by more than three points."

Almost everyone agrees. 

Sheil Kapadia, The Athletic: Sheil picks games against the spread every week, and this week he thinks the Lions cover, adding that he wouldn't be surprised to see them pick up win No. 1 against the Birds..

Here’s what I think about the Eagles’ defense after having reviewed the film from last week’s loss to the Las Vegas Raiders. 

As for the Lions, I loved how Dan Campbell coached against the Los Angeles Rams. Detroit executed two fake punts and an onside kick. They tried to make the game weird and didn’t play scared. That’s precisely what teams should be doing when they’re 15.5-point underdogs.

The Lions’ roster entering the season was one of the NFL’s worst, and they’ve been decimated by injuries. But they play hard and they try stuff. I wouldn’t be surprised if they got their first win here. And if you think I’m taking this Eagles team to cover 3.5 on the road against anyone, you’re mistaken.

The pick: Lions (+3.5)

• Bill Bender, Sporting News: Lions 20, Eagles 19

The Eagles are a hot mess right now. They have allowed an average of 310 passing yards the last two weeks, and Detroit has two one-score losses at home. The Lions just can't score. Perhaps that changes at home against Philadelphia, which needs to find a running game to support Jalen Hurts. Dan Campbell savors his first victory as a NFL head coach. 

• Vinny Iyer, Sporting News: Eagles 31, Lions 24

The Eagles have been one of the league's most disappointing new-coached teams with Nick Sirianni working with Jalen Hurts. Unlike Smith in Atlanta, Sirianni cannot find the right mesh between passing volume for his dynamic QB and the right support from the traditional running game. That might change by simplifying the attack with a lot of DeVonta Smith, Dallas Goedert and Kenneth Gainwell. The Lions don't have that luxury beyond D'Andre Swift and T.J. Hockenson and it's causing Jared Goff to hit a wall.

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MORE: Week 8 NFL odds: Point spread and total for every game

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