Holding a one game and tiebreaker lead in the NFC North, the Detroit Lions meet a hot Philadelphia Eagles squad just one game out of the playoff picture on Sunday afternoon at Lincoln Financial Field.
Detroit trounced division rival Green Bay 40-10 on Thanksgiving, and has already swept its season series with Chicago, placing the franchise’s first division crown firmly in sight after a 20-year drought.
The 7-5 Eagles have won four straight behind efficient and emerging star quarterback Nick Foles, but their two division losses have them behind Dallas for the NFC East lead. Philadelphia also needs to keep pace with 8-4 San Francisco and 9-3 Carolina for one of the two Wild Card slots.
Foles, who has thrown 19 touchdowns with no interceptions, surpassed Denver’s Peyton Manning as the NFL’s highest rated passer after going 21-for-34 for 237 yards and three scores in Philadelphia’s 24-21 victory over Arizona last week.
Foles and Detroit’s Matthew Stafford should duel throughout Sunday’s high-octane matchup, pitting the Lions No. 2 total offense against Philadelphia’s No. 3. Most of Detroit’s offense has come from Stafford’s powerful arm, completing 59.2 percent of his passes for 3,825 yards and 27 touchdowns.
Stafford has found top receiver Calvin Johnson for 72 receptions, 1,299 yards and 12 touchdowns, and the dynamic pair face an Eagles secondary ranked dead last in the NFL allowing 296.8 passing yards per game.
The Philadelphia defense has struggled to pressure quarterbacks, tallying just 29 total sacks all season. But with Detroit running back Reggie Bush currently listed as questionable with a calf injury, the Eagles could focus squarely on Stafford. Bush leads the Lions with 854 yards rushing and three touchdowns, and is second on the team with 45 receptions for 448 yards and two scores.
The Eagles second-ranked rushing attack is spearheaded by running LeSean McCoy standing behind Foles. McCoy is second in the NFL with 1,088 yards and five touchdowns, and is averaging 4.6 yards per carry at home this season.
A powerful Lions defensive line made up of defensive end Ezekiel Ansah, linebacker Stephen Tulloch, and defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh will stand in McCoy’s way. The Lions are third in the NFL against the run, surrendering 82.7 rushing yards per game, and only five rushing touchdowns all year.
Foles does have the potential to torch Detroit’s 26th ranked pass defense, especially with starting left cornerback Chris Houston limited in practice all week with a foot injury and listed as questionable. Reserve corner Darius Slay could also miss Sunday’s pivotal matchup, as he’s listed as doubtful due to a knee injury.
The Eagles defense will also be shorthanded, with reserve linebacker Najee Goode already ruled out with a bad hamstring, and backup safety Earl Wolff is sidelined with an injured knee.
Betting Odds: Philadelphia favored by 3 points
Over/Under: 53.5 points
Time: 1 p.m. ET
TV Channel: FOX
Live Online Stream Info: NFL Sunday Ticket
Prediction: Detroit 31, Philadelphia 27