Why the Detroit Lions Should Be Favored Against the Philadelphia Eagles

Brandon Alisoglu@@BrandonAlisogluCorrespondent INovember 25, 2015

ARLINGTON, TX - JANUARY 04:  Cornerback Darius Slay #23 of the Detroit Lions reacts after breaking up a pass to wide receiver Terrance Williams #83 of the Dallas Cowboys in the first quarter during the NFC Wildcard Playoff Game at AT&T Stadium on January 4, 2015 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

In times of peril, the onus is on the courageous truth-seekers to bring the important issues of our day to light.

For instance, how is it possible the Detroit Lions aren't favored at home against the Philadelphia Eagles on Thanksgiving? It's a travesty that goes against everything Vegas stands for: dignity, honesty and proper gambling lines.

Vegas Thanksgiving lines: Eagles -1 to -1.5 vs. Lions; Cowboys -1.5 over Panthers; Packers -8 to -9 over Bears. Home team parlay, anyone?

— Mike O'Hara (@MikeOHaraNFL) November 23, 2015

That is not the proper line here. Thankfully, Odds Shark now has the game listed as even, or a "pick'em," but you must remember that the home team gets three points for home-field advantage.

Unlike a presidential candidate, there's a responsibility here to back up a claim with a few facts and the thoughts that build the foundation of an assertion. Let's start this righteous journey.

Philly's Vaunted Defense Is Reeling

The Eagles have a lot of talent in their defensive front seven. This will obviously be a concern for a Detroit offensive line that has yet to string together two strong performances in a row.

Philadelphia's Pass Rush
PlayerSacksQB HitsHurries
Fletcher Cox6431
Vinny Curry2316
Connor Barwin4621
Brandon Graham5424
Pro Football Focus
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But the Tampa Bay Buccaneers exposed said defensive unit last week.

Eagles defense allowed 356 yards in the first half. FIRST HALF!

— Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) November 22, 2015

Rookie quarterback Jameis Winston threw five touchdown passes, while Doug Martin ran for 235 yards. The Bucs raised their scoring average by almost 2.5 points per game on the strength of their 45-point outburst.

That could have been a fluke performance. It could also be the case of a defense getting fed up with carrying an offense that hasn't lived up to the Chip Kelly hype (22.9 points per game, 20 turnovers).

Whatever the case may be, that meltdown at least casts some doubt on the unit's ability to perform, especially only four days later.

Mark Sanchez or a Banged-Up Sam Bradford Is the Starting Quarterback

PHILADELPHIA, PA - NOVEMBER 15: Quarterback Sam Bradford #7 of the Philadelphia Eagles looks to pass to Riley Cooper #14 against the Miami Dolphins during a football game at Lincoln Financial Field on November 15, 2015 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Phot
Rich Schultz/Getty Images

Sam Bradford was supposedly head coach/general manager Chip Kelly's broad stroke of genius this offseason. Bradford threw for 11 touchdowns and 10 interceptions before suffering a concussion and a busted shoulder a couple of weeks ago.

He missed last week's game, which opened the door for Mark Sanchez to steal the show by posting two passer ratings in the mid-to-high 60s with twice as many picks (four) as scores (two).

As of publication, Bradford's status for Thursday was complicated at best:

Sam Bradford said that his shoulder is the hurdle at this point when it comes to playing. He does not know who will start on #BirdDay

— Eagles Insider (@EaglesInsider) November 24, 2015

The Eagles do boast a competent running game (119.2 yards per game), but they're dealing with multiple injuries on that front too:

Few Eagles injuries to watch: TE Ertz (concussion), C Kelce (knee), RB Matthews (concussion/groin) no practice Tues. QB Bradford limited.

— Tim Twentyman (@ttwentyman) November 24, 2015

Detroit's defense has keyed the last two victories by limiting Green Bay's and Oakland's running games to 48.5 yards each. The Lions are also completely healthy save for those players who are already on the season-ending injured reserve list, according to Kyle Meinke of MLive Media Group.

Detroit's Secondary Is Playing Well

Duane Burleson/Associated Press

If Detroit's strength in the front seven can continue to lock down the opposition's running game, that will leave either Sanchez or the aforementioned banged-up Bradford to win the game against the Lions' suddenly emerging secondary.

Well, that might be too bold of statement considering it's been a couple of weeks. However, Nevin Lawson and Quandre Diggs were pressed into action the last two weeks by injuries to veterans, and they've combined to allow only 136 yards despite being shelled with 38 targets, per Pro Football Focus.

And there's not much need to discuss Darius Slay's dominance. He's becoming known for shutting folks down, and the Internet has taken notice.

Darius Slay has allowed just 15 yards receiving over the last 3 games. Amari Cooper and Aaron Rodgers among opponents.

— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) November 23, 2015

Now, none of the above is meant to say that you should plunk down your hard-earned cash—or even ill-gotten gains—on the Lions' money line. Philadelphia still has that furious pass rush that could be dangerous to Matthew Stafford's health, and we must balance the Lions' solid play as of late against the first eight games of the season.

However, too many advantages lie with Detroit for Philadelphia to have opened this game as a favorite. Not to mention that the Eagles have now proved to be as untrustworthy as their holiday hosts, which is why the home-field field-goal advantage should push this game in Detroit's favor from a spread perspective.

All advanced stats are courtesy of Pro Football Focus.

Brandon Alisoglu is a Detroit Lions Featured Columnist. He also co-hosts a Lions-centric podcastLions Central Radio. Yell at him on Twitter @BrandonAlisoglu.