Week 1 Opponent Preview: Can The Lions Down The Eagles?

This Sunday, The Detroit Lions will open the 2022 NFL season by hosting The Philadelphia Eagles. Philadelphia is currently sitting as 3.5 point favorites according to Tipico Sportsbook. Since 2010, the two teams have met 7 times, with The Lions having won 4 of those matchups. But don’t get your hopes up Lions fans, because week eight of last season The Eagles rolled into town and utterly dominated The Honolulu Blue Crew. Even though Detroit lost the contest 44-6, both teams have changed significantly since then. Let’s take a deeper dive into the 2022 Philadelphia Eagles.

Jalen Hurts, QB1
  Jalen Hurts is entering his second season of being the full time signal caller for Philadelphia. Coming off a 2021 campaign where he led his squad to a playoff berth, Hurts is looking to prove that he will be the guy in Philly for the foreseeable future. Hurts’ passing stats in 2021 are not exactly inspiring, as he only threw for 3,144 yards, 16 touchdowns, and 9 interceptions. Where Hurts is most dangerous is his work in the ground game. He rushed for 784 yards with 5.6 yards per attempt in 2021. The Lions struggled against Jalen Hurts last season, when he rushed for over 70 yards against them in week eight. Hurts has potential to be one of the best dual threat quarterbacks in the NFL, if he can take steps forward as a passer. 

Philly’s Weapons
Former Tennessee Titan AJ Brown and Devonta Smith headline the Eagles’ new and improved wide receiver room. Brown, who was traded for a 1st and 3rd round pick, is one of the best young pass catchers in the league, and is hoping to make an impression in week 1 against a questionable Lions secondary. In his first three seasons, Brown totaled 2,995 receiving yards and 24 touchdowns. Philadelphia made the big trade on draft day with the hope that he could serve as a true WR1 in this offense. Brown boasts some of the best route running in the league, along with elite hands and a 52.2% contested catch rate. Brown could legitimately be a matchup nightmare for the Lions DB matched against him.

  Opposite to AJ Brown is second year standout Devonta Smith. Smith served as the de facto WR1 for Philly last season, with 64 receptions for 916 yards and 5 touchdowns. The Eagles also used premium draft capital to acquire Smith, as they traded up two spots to draft him 10th overall in 2021. Smith is arguably the best receiver The Eagles have had in quite some time, as he even broke the franchise rookie receiving yard record previously held by Desean Jackson. His elite route running and excellent agility makes him the perfect WR2 in this offense. 

  Dallas Goedert has quietly been one of the best tight ends in all of football, and is a key part of this Eagles offense. Goedert’s 830 receiving yards in 2021 was 5th for all players at the position, along with his 4 touchdowns. In fact, Goedert’s 90.7 PFF grade was the second highest out of all tight ends, even higher than guys like Travis Kelce or George Kittle. Goedert was good against the Lions last season, with 6 catches and 72 yards.

  The Eagles big 3 weapons are going to be a problem for any team that plays them. We didn’t even mention their stable of running backs with guys like Miles Sanders and Kenneth Gainwell. Detroit may be seriously outmatched this coming Sunday, especially with a defense that was one of the worst in the entire league against the pass. 

The Great Wall of Philadelphia
  Virtually everyone agrees that the strongest unit on The 2022 Detroit Lions is the offensive line, but nobody beats out the The Eagles’ line. Philadelphia may have the best offensive line in football, which led them to the best rushing attack as well in 2021. The Eagles averaged an impressive league best 159.7 rushing yards per game without a superstar running back, all because of the boys up front. The leader of the group is veteran center Jason Kelce, who decided to return for one last season with the squad. The Eagles also host possibly the best tackle duo in the NFL in Lane Johnson and Jordan Mailata. Finishing out the interior is Landon Dickerson and Isaac Seumalo. Philadelphia has high end talent all across their offensive front, and will offer quite the test for Aidan Hutchinson, Charles Harris, and Alim McNeil in week one.

New Faces on The Defense
Philadelphia’s defense was middle of the pack in 2021. Their defense allowed 23.1 points per game, which would put them 19th overall. Interestingly enough, the Eagles had the second fewest sacks in 2021, coming in at just 29 in the entire season. 

  The Eagles also made some brand new additions on the defensive side of the ball. They selected the monstrous 6’ 6” 340 lb Georgia defensive tackle Jordan Davis in the first round of the 2022 NFL draft, later on drafting his college teammate Nakobe Dean in the third round. In free agency, they added James Bradberry to be the CB2 opposite of Darius Slay Jr. Most recently, The Eagles made a big time trade sending former Saints safety CJ Gardner Johnson to Philly. The Eagles made plenty of new additions in the offseason to bolster an average defense for a potential championship run, and we expect the moves to pay off.

The Bottom Line
The Philadelphia Eagles are one of the better teams in the NFC this year. They are currently sitting at +1000 odds to win the conference, and it’s easy to see why. They have one of the strongest offenses on paper, with a greatly improved defense. This is not a favorable matchup for The Lions to open the season, but current odds suggest that this game will be much closer than the last time they met. 

The game will kickoff on September 11 at 1:00 Eastern Time on Fox Sports.

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