Coming off the bye, the Detroit Lions are fairly healthy and need to find a way to snap their losing streak and turn around the season.
Here are five things the Lions (1-3) need to do to beat the Eagles (3-2) at Philadelphia on Sunday.
1. This is SO easy. Special teams cannot, absolutely can not, give up returns for touchdown or even for long gains. They’ve had two weeks to make personnel adjustments, tweak schemes and learn to tackle. No excuses.
2. Tee it high and let it fly. Left guard Rob Sims said this was the motto of the offense last season and they need to get back to that style of play. The consensus feeling is the offense is playing too tight.
3. Get the ball to Calvin Johnson. (Heard that before?) Matthew Stafford and Johnson have yet to hook up for a touchdown in the first four games. Last year at this point they had eight TDs. They pretty much know how defenses are going to play them, they have to make adjustments quicker. They might see more man coverage from the Eagles and, if so, must take advantage of it.
4. Cliff Avril said it’s 95 percent of the defensive line’s fault that the Lions defense has not caught one interception in the first four games. The D-line has not put enough consistent pressure on the quarterbacks. It’s an issue. It’s not startling to hear from an anonymous GM that this line is overrated. It has definitely not lived up to expectations in the first four games.
5. Run the ball effectively. Mikel Leshoure scampered for 100 yards in his debut, then was held to 26 yards in his second game. It’s not all on him, he needs help from the line and also some good blocking from receivers. The Lions may (or may not) have Jahvid Best back in a few weeks, until then Leshoure and Joique Bell must make the run game go.
Prediction: Eagles 31, Lions 24