Week 6: Detroit Lions At Philadelphia Eagles
- QuarterbackThe Lions have to be somewhat concerned with Matthew Stafford this season. They expected him to be one of the best quarterbacks in the league based on his 2011 productivity, but he has been an inconsistent performer. He has thrown for nearly 1,200 yards and he is completing 65.9 percent of his passes, but he has only thrown three TDs and he has suffered four interceptions.Michael Vick had an impressive game against the Steelers in terms of passing numbers. He was 20-of-30 for 175 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions. However, Vick fumbled three times and two of them were recovered by the Steelers. Holding onto the football has been a huge issue for Vick throughout the season.
- OffenseThe running game has struggled badly through the first four games of the season. Mikel Leshoure has 126 yards rushing and they need more from him to take the pressure off of Stafford. Calvin Johnson is probably the best receiver in the NFL and he is capable of taking over in the fourth quarter.The running game could be much more effective against the Lions than it was against the Steelers. LeSean McCoy may be too athletic for the Detroit defense while Vick can also make big plays on the ground. DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin should be able to get open against the Lions without much of a problem.
- DefenseThe Lions have not played the way they can on the defensive end so far this season. Their strength is their athleticism and strength, but the results have been ordinary. Defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham needs to figure out an answer soon or he may blow up on the sidelines. Linebacker Stephen Tulloch is a dependable tackler.The Eagles have defensive players who take personal responsibility for their team’s success. Middle linebacker DeMeco Ryans is one of those players. He had 12 tackles against the Steelers. Cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie is a solid cover man and Nnamdi Asomugha has a chance for postseason honors.
- Special TeamsAncient Jason Hanson remains the Lions placekicker because head coach Jim Schwartz knows he can handle the pressure situations at the end of the game. The Lions are ordinary at kickoff and punt coverage.The Eagles have confidence in placekicker Alex Henery, but you have to wonder if they would have been better off if they had kept David Akers a couple of years ago. The Eagles have not gotten a lot from their return game out of return specialist Brandon Boykin.
The Lions are not finishing their games and one of the biggest issues may be the lack of discipline. It starts from the top down. Jim Schwartz is under pressure to build off last season’s playoff appearance, but the Lions were quite disappointing before their off week. Philadelphia usually plays much more effectively at home and should be angry after losing a tough game in Pittsburgh.