Detroit is coming off a bye. They should be well rested and the coaches will have had a chance to fix some problems. That timing does not help us. The good news…the Lions are just 1-3 and they have a lot of stuff to fix.
This week we start not on offense or defense, but STs. Have you heard about the Lions? In 4 games, they have allowed 4 return TDs. I’m not sure the Eagles have allowed that in 4 years. To do it in 4 weeks is beyond shocking. That is literally some of the worst STs play I have ever heard of.
There have been 3 KOR scores this year. The Lions allowed 2 of them. They are dead last in KO coverage (we’re down at 5th). Allowing 2 PR TDs really skews the stats. Returners average 27.3 yards per PR vs the Lions. That’s worst in the league. We’re 8th at 11.1. To put Detroit’s 27.3 average in perspective…the longest return we’ve allowed is just 23 yards. Crazy.
The Lions are 31st in the league with a punting average of 40.3 yards. That’s awful. NE is worse, but it appears a lot of that is due to downing the ball inside the 20. 3 different Punters have kicked for them this year. Jason Hanson remains the PK and a very good one, even at age 237.
Stefan Logan is the PR and KOR. He has very good speed and has posted good numbers this year. He is a threat to our coverage units.
The real key to this is the core of the STs units. You need players who buy into the fact they are STers. They have to want to cover kicks. They have to want to block. Some guys do this and make a great career. Look at Ike Reese. Other players see STs as something beneath them and it costs them a job. Look at Brian Rolle, still blows me away.
Check out this blurb from a PFW article:
“Special teams comes down to attitude and no one on the Lions wants to be on special teams and this is the result,” former Lions special-teams ace Zack Follett wrote on Twitter during Detroit’s 20-13 loss to Minnesota at Ford Field.
The way we hear it, the collective attitude of a roster laden with character risks could be what’s really ailing the Lions
The Lions have taken a lot of character risks in recent years. Those guys were all very talented, but had issues on and off the field. There is nothing wrong with mixing in those guys, but too many can cause a team to develop issues.
Detroit had a breakout year in 2011. Are they simply not handling success well? Is the 1-3 start a fluke? Was last year the fluke and the team is now being exposed? In the PFW article. a rival GM really rips into the Lions. You never know what to make of those comments. Does the guy have an axe to grind or is he just speaking the truth?
Detroit started off last year 6-2. They had a bye week. They finished 4-4. 3 of the 4 games they lost after the bye were by double digits. Most of their post-bye wins were vs bad teams (CAR, OAK, MIN). The only “good” win was against the Chargers, who had a down year.
The Lions then lost to the Saints in the playoffs. They are now 1-3. The lone win this year was against the Rams in the opener. And that was a last second victory. So since the bye week last year, the Lions are 5-8. And the wins aren’t impressive at all.
While the team might be getting exposed a bit, it is hard to predict how they will handle the bye this year. Last year apparently they spent it looking in the mirror and saying “You are awesome!” This year that will be very different. No, actually it should be very different, but that’s what we don’t know. What kind of character do the Lions have?
If the 1-3 start did humble them and the coaches can get the players to wake up and pay attention, this could be a dangerous team. I don’t trust them at all, but I do fear them because they have talent. Unpredictable talent.
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Do the Lions have a good defense? I’m not sure. They are 9th in the league in yards allowed, just behind us. They are 26th in points allowed, but that is highly skewed by STs scores. They’ve also had a pair of defensive TDs scored against them. The Lions defense allows just 18 ppg, which would be a good figure.
The flip side is that QBs have a rating of 101.3 against them. They’ve given up 5 TDs and have no INTs. You also have to remember that they’ve faced Sam Bradford, Alex Smith, Jake Locker, and Christian Ponder. That’s not exactly murderer’s row.
The run defense is okay. Nothing more, nothing less. They allow 4.1 yds per carry. That’s not good, but isn’t bad either. Just okay.
The offense is 3rd in the league in yards, 11th in points. Calvin Johnson is posting big numbers, except for TDs. He only has 1 so far this year. He and TE Brandon Pettigrew are the key targets, accounting for 160 receiving yards per game combined. After them, the attack is very spread out.
The running game is struggling, but not awful. The leading rusher has 126 yards on the year. They don’t have a run of 20 or more yards from anyone. Mikell Leshoure and Kevin Smith have some good moments, but aren’t players to be feared.
QB Matt Stafford has 3 TDs and 4 INTs this year. He’s been sacked 9 times. At his best, he is an explosive passer. At his worst, he is a guy that will take a pounding, while looking for the big play. He will throw INTs. He’s already had 20 INT and 16 INT seasons in his young career.
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This is a key game for the Eagles. This is a game the team should win. The Lions are talented, but flawed. So are we (to be fair), but we’re playing better football this year. I also think we’ve got the more talented roster and better coaching staff.
That said, I’m not totally at ease. This is a pre-bye game for us. We’ve had issues with those games over the years. And this season teams are struggling in pre-bye games. The last report I saw said teams were 2-8 in them.
Facing a team with one elite offensive player should be a good thing. You know who to shut down. We struggled with that vs Fitz and the Cardinals. Megatron is better than Fitz. We really need to step up this week, coaches and players.
I’ll have more on the matchup later. Just wanted to get an intro to the Lions out there.