Eagles vs. Lions Scouting Report

Posted: September 17, 2010

Recent history: The Eagles routed the Lions, 56-21, on Sept. 23, 2007 at the Linc, and lead the series, 15-12-2.

OFFENSE

Eagles

321 yards per game (15th)

Lions

168 yards per game (31st)

Quarterback

Eagles

The Eagles scored on three of six second-half possessions last week after Mike Vick took over. He completed 16 of 24 passes and also ran for 103 yards on 11 carries. Unlike the Packers, the Lions have had the week to prepare for Vick, devise a way to pin him in the pocket and make him throw more and run less.

Lions

With Matthew Stafford out with a shoulder injury, the Lions will turn to backup Shaun Hill, who will be making only his 17th start in five seasons. He is a decent decision-maker with enough mobility to get outside the pocket and extend plays. But he doesn't have a very strong arm.

Pick: Eagles

Running back

Eagles

The season-ending injury to fullback Leonard Weaver was a crippling blow to the offense. He is a solid run- and pass-blocker, as well as a decent runner/receiver. It's a big loss, with the pass-protection issues the Eagles have and the fact that LeSean McCoy continues to be a work in progress with blitz pickup.

Lions

Rookie Jahvid Best had an inauspicious debut, rushing for just 20 yards on 14 carries. He's a multipurpose back with outstanding top-end speed who is lethal in space. He had five receptions vs. Chicago, though for only 16 yards. He doesn't have the power to be an effective between-the-tackles runner.

Pick: Lions

Receiver

Eagles

The Eagles likely will go with three- and four-wide receiver sets the majority of the time against a secondary that is thin and vulnerable at cornerback. WR DeSean Jackson and TE Brent Celek need to be bigger factors than they were last week, when they combined for just 62 yards on six catches.

Lions

The Lions are expected to use a lot of two-tight end sets, with Tony Scheffler and Brandon Pettigrew. Both can line up tight, in the slot or wide. Scheffler had a team-high six receptions in Week 1. WR Calvin Johnson is a dangerous combination of size (6-5), strength and athleticism.

Pick: Eagles

Offensive line

Eagles

The impact of C Jamaal Jackson's season-ending triceps injury will depend on how well his replacement, Mike McGlynn, plays. He doesn't lack for confidence and did OK last week after replacing Jackson. Lions no doubt will try to do some things to confuse him. Inconsistent LT Jason Peters continues to be a penalty machine.

Lions

After adding veteran LG Rob Sims in the offseason, the Lions went into the season feeling as good about their o-line as they have in years. But this unit came out last week and fired a dud. They struggled in pass protection and couldn't open holes for Jahvid Best. Weakest link is RT Gosder Cherilus.

Pick: Eagles

DEFENSE

Eagles

299 yards per game (T-15th)

Lions

463 yards per game (T-31st)

Defensive line

Eagles

Its ability to get pressure on the quarterback in Week 1 was one of the bright spots of the 27-20 loss. Their three sacks – two by Juqua Parker and one by Trent Cole – all came out of their base package on either first or second down. Rookie LE Brandon Graham lined up inside at LT 19 times.

Lions

This unit underwent a major offseason renovation. Three of the four starters up front - rookie DT Ndamukong Suh, DT Corey Williams and DE Kyle Vanden Bosch - are new and all are better than what was there. They were active and aggressive and dominated the Bears' o-line. Suh and Williams will be a handful inside.

Pick: Eagles

Linebacker

Eagles

With concussed MLB Stewart Bradley unlikely to play, veteran Omar Gaither will replace him in the middle. Gaither, 2 inches smaller and 25-plus pounds lighter than Bradley, doesn't have Bradley's physicality or speed. But he's a smart player who will benefit from a full week of first-team reps.

Lions

WLB Julian Peterson is the only established player on this unit. MLB DeAndre Levy showed promise last year in nine starts, but has been battling back and groin injuries and was inactive last week. SLB Zack Follet is a first-year starter who lacks great speed or strength and is limited in coverage.

Pick: Eagles

Secondary

Eagles

FS Nate Allen is going to make occasional rookie mistakes, but it was clear Sunday that he has brought some stability to his position. The secondary did a good job last week against one of the league's best passing offenses, holding Pro Bowler Aaron Rodgers to 6.06 yards per attempt and intercepting him twice.

Lions

They have some major depth issues at cornerback after losing nickel back Aaron Berry to a season-ending shoulder injury. That's not good news, considering they'll be facing an offense that uses three-WR formations more than any other set. Two of the four corners on the roster have arrived in the last 2 weeks.

Pick: Eagles

Special teams

Eagles

The kickoff coverage wasn't very good in Week 1, giving up 40- and 51-yard returns to the Packers' Jordy Nelson. P Sav Rocca averaged 49.6 yards per attempt and had three 50-plus-yard punts. PR DeSean Jackson has averaged just 5.4 yards per return in his last four games dating back to last season.

Lions

PK Jason Hanson has an impressive 81.8 percent career field-goal accuracy rate, but is coming off surgery on his left (non-kicking) knee. Lions added several established special-teamers in the offseason and it showed vs. Chicago. They held dangerous PR Devin Hester to 3.4 yards per return and KR Daniael Manning to 23.3.

Pick: Eagles

Domowitch's prediction: Lions 20, Eagles 17

KEY MATCHUPS

1. Eagles C Mike McGlynn and Gs Nick Cole and Todd Herremans vs. Lions DTs Ndamukong Suh and Corey Williams: Suh and Williams are going to pose problems for the interior linemen. Advantage: Lions

2. Eagles WRs DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin and Jason Avant vs. Lions CBs Chris Houston, Jonathan Wade and Alphonso Smith: Lions are thin at corner after season-ending injury to nickel back Aaron Berry. Advantage: Eagles

3. Eagles MLB Omar Gaither vs. Lions RB Jahvid Best: Best has game-breaking speed. Gaither probably will replace injured Stewart Bradley. Advantage: Lions

Hot and Cold

HOT

Eagles: DE Trent Cole: Had a team-high seven tackles, a sack and two tackles for losses vs. Packers.

Lions: DT Ndamukong Suh. Had a sack and two hurries against the Bears.

NOT

Eagles: WR/PR DeSean Jackson. Had just four catches for 30 yards and averaged 7.0 yards per punt return vs. Packers

Lions: RB Jahvid Best. Averaged just 1.4 yards per carry and 1.9 yards per touch against the Bears.

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