It’s been a long season for the Philadelphia Eagles and Detroit Lions, who have both fallen short of expectations in 2015. But their matchup in Detroit on Thanksgiving is still an important one, as the Eagles look to stay in the playoff race and the Lions try to win their third consecutive game.
Philadelphia is on a two-game losing streak after falling to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 45-17, but they only trail the New York Giants by one game in the NFC East. Detroit is essentially out of playoff contention with a 3-7 record, but they’ve won two games in a row.
The betting line opened with the Eagles being favored by one point, but the point spread has moved to a pick’em, according to vegasinsider.com. The over/under is 45.5 points.
Eagles Quarterback Situation
Mark Sanchez started in place of the injured Sam Braford last week. Bradford has yet to be ruled out, but it looks like the Eagles will go back to Sanchez for a second straight week. No matter which player gets the start at quarterback for the Eagles, the team could have trouble moving the ball through the air.
Sanchez relieved Bradford in Week 10, and he hasn’t been very good for the Eagles. He had a 63.0 passer rating as Philadelphia let the Miami Dolphins come back and win two weeks ago, and Sanchez threw a late interception that ended the Eagles’ chances of winning. The former New York Jet was picked off three times in Week 11 as Philadelphia got blown out by the Bucs. Sanchez was much better with the Eagles last season, and he had a 102.2 passer rating when Chip Kelly's squad defeated the Dallas Cowboys on Thanksgiving.
Bradford was better than Sanchez has been, but he was a disappointment before the injury. The former No.1 overall draft pick has thrown 11 touchdown passes and 10 interceptions. He was playing his best football of the season before being injured, posting passer ratings of 103.4 and 118.1 in his last two games.
Lions Winning with Defense
Detroit’s offense has been far from impressive this season, but they are on a two-game winning streak after scoring just 18 points in each contest. After slowing down a few good offenses, the Lions’ defense has a good chance to continue their strong play on Thursday.
The Lions held the Green Bay Packers to 16 points in Week 10, limiting them to their second-lowest scoring output of the season. Aaron Rodgers registered an 83.6 passer rating, which was one of his lowest on the year. The Oakland Raiders are two games under .500, but they had a top-10 scoring offense before they scored 13 points in Detroit. Derek Carr had his worst game of the season, posting his lowest passer rating, completion percentage and total yards since leaving the season opener with an injury.
Philadelphia could struggle against Detroit’s defense on a short week. But the Lions have had their share of awful defensive performances, allowing at least 33 points in four games.
Philadelphia has been one of the most difficult teams to predict this season. They were predicted by some experts as a surprise Super Bowl team, and while they’ve looked terrific on certain occasions, the Eagles have underachieved in 2015.
The Eagles hadn’t been blown out before their Week 11 loss to Tampa Bay, and they've had their share of impressive wins. Philadelphia easily beat the New Orleans Saints, holding Drew Brees and Co.’s No.2-ranked offense to just 17 points. The following week, the Eagles beat the Giants by 20 points, and they had no problem beating the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium.
But Philadelphia has been highly inconsistent, especially on offense. The Eagles have scored 20 or fewer points five times after having a top-five offense in both 2013 and 2014.
Detroit has the edge in what will likely be a sloppy game. Their defense is playing well, and the unit could have a big day against Sanchez, who looks like he doesn’t deserve to be an NFL starter at the moment.
Detroit over Philadelphia, 20-17