The Philadelphia Eagles are one of three undefeated teams remaining in the NFL, along with the Minnesota Vikings and Denver Broncos. The Eagles will take their perfect 3-0 record on the road in Week 5 to face the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Philadelphia is coming off its Week 4 bye while the Lions will try to bounce back from a 17-14 defeat at the hands of the Chicago Bears.
The Eagles might be the most surprising team in all the NFL as they made the shocking move to trade their starting quarterback, Sam Bradford, to the Minnesota Vikings just eight days before the season opener. Instead of going with veteran backup Chase Daniel to replace Bradford, Philadelphia made the call to play for the future by starting the No. 2 overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, Carson Wentz.
It was certainly a bold decision by Eagles general manager Howie Roseman, but it was hard to pass up the Vikings’ offer of a 2017 first-round pick and a conditional 2018 fourth-round pick that could become as high as a second-round pick if the Vikings reach the Super Bowl. Philadelphia wasn’t going to win the Super Bowl this year anyways, so why not let Wentz get some on-the-job training and start prepping for the future?
What has transpired, no one could’ve expected. The Philadelphia Eagles have outscored their opponents by a score of 92-27 through the first three games of the season and Wentz has been spectacular as he’s completed 66-of-102 pass attempts for 769 yards, five touchdowns, and zero interceptions.
— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) September 28, 2016
The Lions haven’t had nearly as much success as the Eagles as they’ve started the season 1-3. Following a 39-35 victory over the Indianapolis Colts to open the season, Detroit has lost three games in a row by a combined 11 points. The Lions are No. 9 in the NFL in total offense, but No. 25 in total defense and the team has a -3 turnover margin. That’s not a winning formula.
Let’s get to the five bold predictions for Sunday’s showdown in Detroit.
5. Eagles Will Rush For Over 150 Yards As A Team
Philadelphia deploys a three-headed monster in the backfield with Ryan Mathews, Darren Sproles and Wendell Smallwood all splitting time in the backfield. The Eagles’ offense is averaging 119.3 rushing yards per game while the Lions’ defense is allowing 114.5 on the ground. If Philadelphia is going to remain perfect, the team must rely heavily on the running game to take the pressure off of Wentz on the road.
4. Matthew Stafford Will Throw For Over 300 Yards
Matthew Stafford has lost a league-high 143 passing yards this season due to drops (not even factoring in potential yards after the catch). pic.twitter.com/kO4BSkvTbt
— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) October 5, 2016
The Eagles’ defense has yet to allow any quarterback to throw for more than 257 yards this season, but the Lions’ offense is built on the passing game. Philadelphia also stuffs the run to the tune of only allowing 71 yards rushing per game and Detroit doesn’t have the most explosive running game. That means Stafford should throw the ball early, and often, which should lead to at least 300 yards.
3. Zach Ertz Will Lead Eagles In Catches
Ertz is expected to return this week after suffering a rib injury in Week 1 that kept him out of Week 2 and Week 3. Tight ends act as a security blanket for young quarterbacks, and that proved true in Week 1 when Wentz targeted Ertz seven times, completing six for 58 yards. Expect Ertz to be heavily involved against the Lions.
2. Stafford Will Toss Multiple Interceptions
With the expectation that the Lions will be throwing the ball around the lot, Stafford’s chances of throwing interceptions go way up. Despite completing 66.7 percent of his passes this season, the Lions’ quarterback has already thrown four interceptions. Expect a couple more on Sunday.
1. Eagles Win Close Game, Stay Perfect
As impressive as Wentz has been running the show for the Eagles’ offense, the defense has been even more impressive. The Eagles’ defense is only allowing 274.3 total yards and 9.0 points per game while accumulating 10 sacks and forcing six turnovers through three games. Expect this game to be low-scoring with the Philadelphia Eagles defeating the Detroit Lions, 23-17.
[Featured Image by Stacy Revere/Getty Images]