Lions travel to Philadelphia for first place matchup
Following a 10-day break and their first Thanksgiving win in a decade, the Detroit Lions will take on the Philadelphia Eagles Sunday afternoon in a matchup between 7-5 teams.
The Eagles, who currently sit at a tie for first place with the Dallas Cowboys atop the NFC East, are riding a four-game winning streak capped off by a 24-21 victory over Arizona in week 13. Chip Kelly's Eagles struggled at home in the first half of his first NFL season, but have won their last two games in Lincoln Financial Field after starting 0-4. The team's recent hot streak has been in large part due to the play of quarterback Nick Foles, who took over the starting job on November 3rd.
On the season, Foles has thrown 19 touchdowns and zero interceptions, clearly the best ratio in the league. Since gaining the starting job, the 24-year old has completed over 60 percent of his passes in every contest and thrown for an average of over 292 yards per game.
Foles will go up against a Lions defensive line that throttled Matt Flynn and the Packers to the tune of seven sacks on Thanksgiving. First-round draft pick Ziggy Ansah led the charge with two sacks and DeAndre Levy added a league-leading sixth interception en route to the 40-10 dismantling of a reeling Green Bay squad. Now the defense will have to keep up with a high tempo Eagles offense that likes to score quickly.
On the other side of the ball, Detroit is looking to cut down on mistakes. Though the offense recorded 40 points, the Lions still turned the ball over four times against the Packers and continue to shoot themselves in the foot. Quarterback Matt Stafford had two more interceptions, giving him six in the past two weeks. Reggie Bush also lost a fumble after vowing not to do so for the remainder of the season. Stafford and Bush touch the ball more than any other players on the Lions' offense, so ball security will need to be more of a priority for this team to take the next step.
Detroit featured a more balanced attack last Thursday, using both Bush and Joique Bell to establish the ground game. The two running backs combined for 211 yards and two touchdowns on 39 carries in week 13. Though the Eagles rank last in the NFL in opponent passing yards, it will be important for Bush and Bell to remain a factor and give the Lions a chance to run the clock and give the defense a break from Kelly's offense.
These two teams last met in Philadelphia on October 14th of 2012, when the Lions kicked a field goal with three seconds on the clock to send the game into overtime. Jason Hanson also won the game just four minutes into the extra period with a 45-yard field goal.
Kickoff is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. Eastern Time.