September 20, 2019
On Sunday, the Philadelphia Eagles will host the unbeaten Detroit Lions at Lincoln Financial Field as Doug Pederson's team looks to avoid falling below .500 this early in the season for the first time since Pederson and Carson Wentz took over in 2016.
In order to keep that from happening, the Birds will have to beat the Lions without at least one of their top offensive playmakers (DeSean Jackson has already been ruled out) and possibly more (Alshon Jeffery and Dallas Goedert are both questionable) after injuries ravaged the roster in last week's loss in Atlanta.
On the other side of the ball, the Eagles will have to deal with Matthew Stafford and the Lions, who played to a tie with the Cardinals in Week 1 and then upset the Chargers last week at home. Jim Schwartz' secondary doesn't have to face the likes of Julio Jones again, but Kenny Golladay, Marvin Jones and Co. can still give defenses fits.
The good news is, the Eagles are favored by about a touchdown in this one, depending on where you look. And if they can avoid getting off to another slow start, they should be able to handle their business in Week 3. At least that's the consensus among those offering up predictions for Sunday.
We've broken down the injuries, given you some matchups to watch and offered our own predictions for Eagles vs. Lions. Now, as we do every week, it's time to take a look around the nation to see how various experts, both local and national, see Sunday's matchup playing out.
• PhillyVoice staff: All six of our writers picked the Birds to beat the Lions on Sunday, including Eagles beat writer Jimmy Kempski, who is picking Philly in a close one, 24-23...
Before the season began, I think we all looked at this matchup, quickly penciled in a W without any thought, and moved onto the next game. Now, ehhhhh, it's not such a no-brainer pick.
The Lions have quietly assembled a quality group of skill position players, an offensive line that has some continuity under its belt, and a decent enough defense with good players at each level, including an elite corner in Darius Slay.
If there's a major positive to take away from the Eagles' loss last Sunday to the Falcons, it's that Carson Wentz, after some early struggles, put the team on his back, and nearly carried them to a W on his own. He just didn't get enough help from his teammates.
Ultimately, I like the Eagles to overcome a mess of injuries on Wentz's back, at home, where they currently have a four-game winning streak. That said, I'll take the Lions +6.5 all day.
• ESPN staff: Nine of their 10 experts are picking the Eagles bounce back and beat the Lions.
• Tim McManus, ESPN.com: Eagles 23, Lions 20
• Vaughn McClure, ESPN.com: Eagles 24, Lions 20
• Gregg Rosenthal, NFL.com: Eagles 20, Lions 19
Even the Eagles aren't injury-proof. One of the deepest skill-position groups in football doesn't look so fearsome after losing DeSean Jackson, Alshon Jeffery and backup tight end Dallas Goedert in one week. Combine that attrition with a running game that didn't have a gain over 5 yards in Atlanta, and it's fair to expect Lions coach Matt Patricia to slow down this offense more than he did in Super Bowl LII. The Eagles are also missing three key defenders (Malik Jackson, Tim Jernigan and Kamu Grugier-Hill), shrinking the once-large talent gap between these two rosters. In short: Don't expect the Jim Schwartz Revenge Game to be one-sided.
The Eagles have a lot of key injuries to monitor in this one, but does it matter? The Lions haven't lost yet, but this is a tough road game that will show who they are as a team. I think it shows the Eagles are much better.
PICK: Eagles 30, Lions 20
• OddsShark: After almost perfectly predicting the outcome of the Eagles' Week 2 loss to the Falcons, OddsShark is back with another bold prediction for this Sunday, predicting the Birds blow out the Lions by 18 points.
• Mike Florio, ProFootballTalk: Eagles 27, Lions 20
The Eagles have plenty of injured players, but Carson Wentz is healthy and that’s good enough to make the difference.
• Michael David Smith, ProFootballTalk: Eagles 10, Lions 7
The Lions’ defense has played seven good quarters this season, although wearing down against the Cardinals in Week One caused them to tie a game they should have won. I think Carson Wentz is going to struggle, but Matthew Stafford will struggle too against an Eagles defensive coordinator who knows him well, Jim Schwartz. This is a low-scoring game that the home team takes with a late field goal.
• Bleacher Report, NFL staff: Eagles 24, Lions 21
The Philadelphia Eagles are in tremendously poor health following an injury-riddled loss to the Atlanta Falcons, yet they're still laying nearly a touchdown against the unbeaten Detroit Lions.
With DeSean Jackson, Alshon Jeffery, Dallas Goedert and Timmy Jernigan all dealing with fresh injuries, our analysts agree unanimously that's too much. ...
That [Detroit] defense held the high-flying Los Angeles Chargers to just 10 points in Week 2. And with a lot of new parts, they're likely to improve going forward.Put it all together and Detroit should hang in Philadelphia.
• The Athletic: National football writer and former Eagles beat guy Sheil Kapadia picks against the spread each week. And if you listened to him last week, he probably won you some money. Here's what he had to say about Sunday game against the Lions...
The Eagles are banged up at wide receiver, and their offensive line did not play well last week. Assuming Alshon Jeffery and DeSean Jackson are out, the key will be whether backups like Mack Hollins and JJ Arcega-Whiteside can get open vs. the Lions in man coverage. One thing I like about Matthew Stafford so far: He’s being aggressive. Through two weeks, 21.52 percent of his passes have traveled 20 yards or more downfield. That’s fifth highest among qualifying QBs. Detroit hits on some big plays, but the Eagles score late for the cover.
The Pick: Eagles (-6)
• SBNation staff: Nine of their 10 experts are picking the Eagles over the Lions, including Good Dog of the Week, Bennett.
• Bleeding Green Nation staff: For the second week in a row, eight of their nine writers are taking the Eagles.
• Inquirer.com: All three of their beat writers picked the Eagles to come away victorious on Sunday. Here's what Jeff McLane, who predicted a 27-17 win for the Birds, had to say...
When I hear any coach talk about winning with defense and running the football, I assume they’ll become just another example of Jerry Glanville’s long-ago saying that the NFL stands for “Not For Long.” Matt Patricia hasn’t exactly sold that bill of goods to the Lions, but that’s the kind of team he’s built and I imagine he’ll end up like most former Bill Belichick assistants: Not head coaches for very long.
Which brings us to Doug Pederson and his current predicament. He’ll be down his top two receivers Sunday, which has brought out the ball control dinosaurs who insist the best way the Eagles can win against Detroit is to pound the football and win time of possession. Hey, I’m all for some ground attack, but I don’t want to take the ball out of Carson Wentz’s hands too often, especially when he still has Zach Ertz and Nelson Agholor on the field...
• NJ.com staff: Five of NJ.com's seven writers picked the Eagles over the Lions, including beat writer Zack Rosenblatt...
The Eagles are in a tough spot, without three of their most important offensive players. It helps that this is a home game against one of their lesser opponents on the schedule, but the Lions aren’t a Giants-level pushover either. If Carson Wentz wants to be an MVP-level player, this is how he can do it — by succeeding without his best players available to him. Ultimately, this game might come down to how the Eagles’ offensive line holds up. They did an extremely poor job against the Falcons last week, and the Lions have some talented pass rushers. This is by no means a ‘gimme', but the Eagles will also be in a lot of trouble if they come out of Week 3 with a 1-2 record, especially with a quick turnaround to a road Thursday night game against the Packers in Week 4.
PICK: Eagles 20, Lions 13
• Adrian Fedkiw, Philly Influencer: Eagles 27, Lions 16
I think the Eagles take advantage of their running backs in this one in the passing game with Jackson and potentially Jeffery both being out. This could be the game where Miles Sanders breaks out. I think he eclipses 100 total yards, Sproles will be a factor as well and the Eagles take this one by 10-plus.
• Todd Haislop, Sporting News: Eagles 23, Lions 17
This is a tricky spot for the Eagles, another team dealing with a troubling amount of early-season injuries. The Lions proved last week they're no pushover, with an apparently improved defense finally complementing the offense in a way that has the potential to lead to more consistent victories. The home team, though, is better where it matters most: at the line of scrimmage and at quarterback.
• Vinny Iyer, Sporting News: Eagles 30, Lions 23
The Lions will go in confident and aggressive with Matthew Stafford and Matt Patricia as an unbeaten (1-0-1) team. The Eagles look like they’ll be shorthanded in the receiving corps, and they won’t find much rushing success, but Carson Wentz will be ready to throw the ball around on short, intermediate and deep routes. Once Philadelphia has a late lead, defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz, Detroit’s former coach, will bring a late blitz that secures the win.
Eagles win 30-23 but fail to cover the spread.
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