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Eagles beat writers make their predictions for the Lions game in Week 8: Detroit is going down and staying winless

The Lions are bad enough where our beat writers expect the Eagles will pick up a road win.

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts (1) interacts with teammates during Philadelphia Eagles practice at the NovaCare Complex in South Philadelphia, Pa. on Thursday, October 28, 2021. The Eagles face the Lions in Detroit on Sunday.
Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts (1) interacts with teammates during Philadelphia Eagles practice at the NovaCare Complex in South Philadelphia, Pa. on Thursday, October 28, 2021. The Eagles face the Lions in Detroit on Sunday.Read moreMONICA HERNDON / Staff Photographer

The Eagles will play Sunday in Detroit against the 0-7 Lions.

Here are the game predictions from the Eagles beat writers for Week 8.

Jeff McLane

As bad as it may have gotten in 2020, or 2015, or 2012, the Eagles have not been 2-5 through their first seven games since 1999. But it isn’t as much their record as their performance that has much of the fan base up in arms. Nick Sirianni’s offense has no identity. Jonathan Gannon’s defense has been toothless. And there hasn’t been enough talent or experience at many spots to compensate for ineffective schemes.

The most pressing concern, though, may be the lack of apparent improvement both in play-calling and execution. There have been a few minor glimpses. The Eagles, for instance, aren’t committing penalties at a record rate anymore. But Sirianni and Gannon, for the most part, have been a step behind their opponents. If there’s light at the end of this tunnel, it comes from what should be an easier schedule.

The 0-7 Lions offer the Eagles a reprieve. They, too, are undergoing a first-year-coach transformation. Dan Campbell has his work cut out for him, but even winless, Detroit has played with great effort. Quarterback Jared Goff doesn’t have much firepower on offense, but he does have a reliable receiver over the middle in tight end T.J. Hockenson and out of the backfield in Philadelphia native D’Andre Swift.

I expect Gannon to challenge more. He pretty much has little choice. But his linebackers and safeties will have to play tight and tackle and that, obviously, hasn’t come easy. I don’t know what to expect from Sirianni’s offense. He tried to run early last week, but Miles Sanders’ injury partly altered that plan, and now he’s out. The Lions defense employs a 3-4 base front that’s more a 5-2. The unit has done fairly well in stopping the run, but getting pressure on passing downs has been a struggle. Jalen Hurts should have opportunities downfield in between the numbers, if he’s willing to take them.

This game’s a toss-up. I’m going with the Birds because, well, it’s the Lions. But Detroit is likely looking at Sunday as their best chance to get off the schneid. If they win, there’s a good chance Dave Fipp’s special-teams unit will play a factor. They have maybe the best punter and cover unit in the NFL.

Prediction: Eagles 23, Lions 22

EJ Smith

The Eagles can’t cough this one up, can they?

There is heightened urgency on both sides. The Eagles, losers of five of their last six, need to stop the skid and fast if they don’t want the season to devolve like it did last year. The winless Lions’ desperation speaks for itself.

Their record is poor, but it wouldn’t be fair to say this plucky Lions team is lifeless. They’ve challenged good teams on several occasions and first-year coach Dan Campbell is willing to switch things up in search of his first win. Jared Goff’s stock isn’t as high as it once was, but he has still played decently enough to suggest he’ll be able to make plays against this Eagles defense.

It’s a shaky bet, but I’m banking on the Eagles offense to keep pace for the first time in nearly a month. The last time the offense played an encouraging game was against the Kansas City Chiefs, and it just so happens this Lions defense is the worst group the Eagles have faced since that early-October game. By Sunday evening, we’ll know if the offense is salvageable or if things are too far gone.

Prediction: Eagles 31, Lions 28

Josh Tolentino

In a Week 8 matchup featuring a pair of bottom-dwellers in the NFC, both teams are desperate for a victory. The Eagles have lost five of their last six, while the Lions are still searching for their first win under coach Dan Campbell.

The Eagles’ defensive front has struggled to create any type of consistent pressure on opposing quarterbacks. Partial blame falls on defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon’s scheme and his unwillingness to match his players with their individual strengths. But there might be a glimmer of hope as the veteran-led unit prepares to face an underachieving offensive line in Detroit. The Eagles have enough talent to win the battle in the trenches, but whether or not that happens will come down to Gannon’s putting his playmakers into a position where they can succeed.

Quarterback Jalen Hurts needs to take a step forward — especially with newly appointed backup Gardner Minshew behind his shoulder. Hurts didn’t complete more than 60% of his passes in each of the last three games. This could be a perfect game to get him rolling with his young receivers group, which is led by rookie DeVonta Smith, Quez Watkins, and Jalen Reagor. Nick Sirianni and offensive coordinator Shane Steichen also would be wise to establish tight end Dallas Goedert. The Lions might be 0-7, but Ford Field is still considered one of the loudest venues in the league, and a couple of early successful drives will surely help the visitors.

Sirianni likened his rookie year at the helm to a growing flower. Another loss would poison his seedlings and roots. Here’s to Sirianni’s flower embracing a sliver of water and growth in the big D.

Prediction: Eagles 33, Lions 24