This week's guest to help break down the Lions and Eagles is Mike Kaye. He wears many hats, including as the editor and feature writer for Bleeding Green Nation. Mike also covers the NFL at large for SB Nation as a news-desk contributor.
You can follow him on Twitter at @mike_e_kaye, and I can tell you firsthand he's a wonderful and insightful guy with whom to talk some football.
What Is the Biggest Key to the 4-Game Winning Streak?
The quarterback play of Nick Foles and defense have been terrific over the last four weeks. The defense has been holding opposing offenses under 22 points for the last eight games and Foles is 5-1 as a starter (you can argue he won a sixth game against the Giants in Week 5 as he played the entire second half).
The key in all of this has been turnovers, as the defense has caused multiple turnovers in every game throughout the streak, and Foles simply has made smart decisions and has fumbled only once (and that play needed to be reviewed).
Foles has been very good, but I zeroed in on the turnovers. The Philadelphia offense doesn't give the ball up, while its defense is improving at taking it away. That's simple football math, and it works.
What Is One Thing the Eagles Do Well That Doesn't Get Enough Publicity?
The aforementioned defensive turnaround. They have collected 15 interceptions (No. 6 in NFL), forced seven fumbles (No. 6 in NFL) and had 29 sacks (tied for No. 21).
If you haven't followed the team since Jim Johnson passed away in 2010, then you are unaware how awful the defense has been over the last several years. They do allow the most passing yards in the league, but that is likely a skewed stat because of their performances against the Chargers and Broncos earlier this season.
I agree the defense has improved, but what really stood out to me in watching the Eagles is how well they block along the offensive line. Detroit fans know good run-blocking from watching the Lions this year, so they will appreciate the work of Evan Mathis, Jason Peters and Co.
What Scares You the Most About These Lions?
Clearly, wide receiver Calvin Johnson. The Eagles held "Eagles Killer" Larry Fitzgerald in check for most of Week 13's win, but Johnson is literally a whole different animal. The Eagles have big cornerbacks, but neither are fast enough to run in stride with Johnson. He will likely determine the game.
No matter who I ask this question, the answer is always either Calvin Johnson or Reggie Bush. With Bush a little gimpy, I think Megatron is the correct answer once again. I do think Joique Bell can have a lot of success against the Eagles defensive front, however.
Who Wins, and Why?
I think you will see a lot of turnovers from the Lions, just because that's how it is with Detroit as of late. However, I think the Lions win 27-24, because the Eagles have a habit of building leads and then having offensive lulls.
I want to pick the Eagles, because at this point, they are frankly the better team, but I don't like how they have finished games in the last two weeks.
Mike is prescient with his reference to the offensive lulls once the Eagles get a lead. I think Detroit's exceptional run defense will only help facilitate a late Lions comeback.
The key will be to not give away opportunities, and that is a troubling aspect. Too troubling, in fact. I think the Eagles hold onto a 33-30 win.
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