The Detroit Lions face off against the Philadelphia Eagles on Halloween, looking for their first win of the season. Given how the Eagles have played so far, this could be Detroit’s best chance to get their first win this year.
This isn’t the same Eagles team that shocked the world by winning the Super Bowl in 2017. Out are Doug Pederson and Nick Foles. In are Nick Siriani and Jalen Hurts. While neither of these teams are likely playoff contenders, the battle of these two rookie head coaches should make for an exciting game.
Here are three things the Eagles do well that the Lions should watch out for.
Run the Ball with Hurts
Hurts isn’t just a threat with his arm, he’s dangerous on the run. While Hurts primarily looks to pass, make no mistake, he is more than willing to tuck the ball and scramble. This season, Hurts leads the Eagles in attempts (66), yards (361), and scores (five). On top of all that, Hurts also has Philadelphia’s longest run of the year (27 yards).
The Eagles likely are without starting running back Miles Sanders this weekend, so we could see Hurts carry the ball more than usual. The Lions have already faced a quarterback with elite mobility in Lamar Jackson. They should look back to the way they played against the Baltimore Ravens to keep the game close.
Although the Eagles are coming off a rough week where they allowed 323 yards through the air, their pass defense, specifically their pass rush, is a strength of this team. This season they lead the NFL in team pass-rush win rate at 54%. That’s 2% above the Cleveland Browns, Carolina Panthers, and Los Angeles Rams. Even though the Eagles have one of the best win rates, they haven’t been able to get home to the quarterback. They only have 11 sacks on the year.
Brandon Graham and Fletcher Cox were integral pieces in Philadelphia’s Super Bowl run. However, the leader of their team’s pass rush has been defensive tackle Javon Hargraves. He leads the Eagles with six sacks this year. Hargraves is the joint leader in pass-rush win percentage as a defensive tackle with 24%, tied with Aaron Donald.
Keeping Goff clean should be Detroit’s priority this week. To do that, Evan Brown will need to replicate how he played last week and shut down Hargraves.
Despite losing key pieces on their offense since the Super Bowl run, the Eagles’ offensive line has continued to be very good. Jason Kelce remains a steadying force in the middle. He can get to the second level in the run game while having a solid anchor in the passing game.
Left tackle Jordan Malaita has justified his massive offseason extension. He’s only allowed two sacks and 12 pressures while going up against some of the premier pass rushers in the NFL. He also is no slouch in the run game, posting an 86.3 grade. Since returning on the right side, Lane Johnson has played very well with zero sacks and just eight total pressures allowed.
If the Lions are looking to get their first win this weekend, they will need to post more than just the 10 pressures they had last weekend.