Philadelphia Eagles vs. Detroit Lions: What to Watch For

Vince Quinn@TheWooderCoolerCorrespondent IOctober 12, 2012

NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 07:  Calvin Johnson #81 of the Detroit Lions catches a pass for a touchdown in the second quarter against the New Orleans Saints during their 2012 NFC Wild Card Playoff game at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on January 7, 2012 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

This is a big matchup for both teams heading into Week 6.

For the Philadelphia Eagles, this is an important game, as they hope to maintain first place in the NFC East. In Detroit, the Lions look to come out firing on all cylinders after their bye and begin the climb out of the basement in the NFC North.

The Lions have lost their last three games, with their only win coming in Week 1 against the St. Louis Rams.

Now for the good stuff!


Calvin Johnson vs. Eagles Secondary

While Megatron isn't putting up two touchdowns every week like he was at this time last year, he's still arguably the best receiver in the NFL. Through four contests, Johnson has 29 catches for 423 yards and one touchdown.  

There are a few factors that make this the most important matchup of the game.

First, Johnson is the Lions' best player, hands down. Considering their inconsistency and injuries in the backfield, the Lions need to keep Johnson involved if they want to win.

Second is how the Eagles handled the other best receiver in the league, Larry Fitzgerald. In their contest against the Arizona Cardinals, the Eagles allowed Fitz to record seven catches for 105 yards and a touchdown in one half.

You have to figure that Detroit's coaching staff has watched that game one or 15 times.


Lions Secondary vs. Eagles Passing Attack

The Lions defensive backs are banged up. Chris Houston has played well so far in his two games this season, allowing only seven catches for 34 yards on 14 targets. The rest of the secondary, however, is questionable.

Veteran Louis Delmas doesn't seem likely to play due to a nagging injury, which means that career backup John Wendling will replace him and play alongside starter Erik Coleman. The Lions will also be starting a rookie in the speedy Bill Bentley on the outside. 


Houston and Bentley will have their hands full as they try to contain Jeremy Maclin and DeSean Jackson. Expect the Eagles to throw a number of deep balls this week and give Damaris Johnson more reps in an attempt to break some big plays in front of the home crowd.


Ndamukong Suh vs. Dallas Reynolds

Since Jason Kelce's injury, there has been a steep decline in the Eagles' offensive line play. The screen game has struggled, and the line has seemed just generally confused.

In their matchup against the Pittsburgh Steelers, there were too many occasions where defenders came through untouched. As center, Reynolds needs to do a better job of making calls for the line.

He'll also need to contain the former Defensive Rookie of the Year. Not an easy day for him.


Kyle Vanden Bosch

Whether King Dunlap or Demetress Bell is starting at left tackle for Philadelphia, the important thing is that they will be facing Kyle Vanden Bosch.

At age 33, it appears that Vanden Bosch is slowing down. According to Pro Football Focus, Vanden Bosh is listed as the second worst 4-3 defensive lineman in the entire league.

The Eagles have had success running the ball on the left side and will likely exploit that weakness with LeSean McCoy.


Brent Celek

Celek is one of the better tight ends in the league. He has great hands, is an above-average blocker and almost always beats the first tackler.

With Vanden Bosch struggling and Todd Herremans blocking the right side, Celek should see more targets; and when Celek is involved in the offense, this team is deadly. 


Special Teams

Both of these teams are bad on special teams.

The Eagles have constantly been shuffling the last linebacker position in an attempt to shore up the unit. Brian Rolle was released for Adrian Moten, and now Moten has been released for Jason Williams. We'll see what type of impact he makes on Sunday. 

For the Lions, their special teams has been miserable. In four games, they have allowed four touchdowns—two on punt returns and two on kickoffs. If I play my cards right, maybe they'll give me a call.

So, for this pillow fight of a matchup, it will come down to who stinks the least in allowing these powerful offenses quality field position. The Lions have the third-best offense in the league, averaging 412.2 yards a game and 25 points. The Eagles, ranking 11th, average 383.4 yards and 16 points a game. 


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