Tale Of The Tape: Detroit Lions At Philadelphia Eagles
- QuarterbackThe Lions were in some trouble on Thanksgiving Day, having lost their previous two games and trailing the Packers 10-3. That’s where Matthew Stafford said enough, and he took the Packers apart. Stafford showed off his strong arm and completed 22-of-35 passes for 330 yards and three TDs as the Lions ran away with the game. Stafford is capable of carrying the team when he is on his game.Is there a more valuable player in the NFL than Nick Foles? He’s probably not going to take the MVP award away from Peyton Manning, but he has been dominant since getting the starting nod. Not only has he turned around the Eagles’ fortunes, he has a remarkable 19-0 TD-interception ratio. Foles reads defenses well and throws the ball accurately and decisively.
- OffenseThe Lions show their explosiveness on offense regularly, but they don’t do it consistently. With weapons like Calvin Johnson and Reggie Bush, the Lions have the kind of stars to take apart nearly any defense. They often show flashes, concentration is often an issue. Johnson is the best receiver in the game and Bush is quick enough that opponents must hammer him early or he will hurt them badly.Just like the Lions, the Eagles have a couple of outstanding weapons in LeSean McCoy and DeSean Jackson who can dominate any game. McCoy is probably the most versatile running back in the game. He can make big plays on the ground or as a receiver. Jackson is one of the faster receivers in the NFL. Riley Cooper has proven to be a dependable secondary receiver.
- DefenseThe Lions have some powerful defensive players who can shut down any attack when they are on top of their game. Interior defensive linemen Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley are simply too strong and powerful for most blockers to handle. Stephen Tulloch leads the team with 97 tackles, while fellow linebacker DeAndre Levy leads the league with six interceptions.The Eagles are among the worst defensive teams when it comes to statistical rankings – they are 31st overall and against the pass – but they have learned how to stop opponents when the game is on the line. They had two interceptions and a fumble recovery in their 24-21 Week 13 victory over the Arizona Cardinals. DeMeco Ryans leads the Eagles with 105 tackles.
- Special TeamsThe Lions have had some problems with their special teams coverage, but they have gotten a couple of big returns from explosive Micheal Spurlock. Placekicker David Akers has made 15-of-20 FG attempts, including 2-of-2 from 50 yards or more.The Eagles have not always done a good job of covering kickoffs and punts, and that has caused them some problems. Placekicker Alex Henery has connected on 17-of-22 FG attempts, while Donnie Jones has a net average of 40.9 yards per punt.
The Lions are the more talented team and they appear to have a big edge on defense. However, Jim Schwartz rarely gets consistent efforts from his team while the Eagles seem to be responding well to Chip Kelly. Give the edge to the home team. -Steve Silverman, CBS Local Sports contributor