The 1-1 Eagles will host the 1-0-1 Detroit Lions at 1 p.m. Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field.
Here is a scouting report, including keys to the game, a look at key matchups, and a prediction:
The Eagles struggled to run last week against a Falcons defense that had given up 172 rushing yards in Week 1. They averaged a puny 2.3 yards per carry against Atlanta. Through two games, an offense that upgraded the running-back position in the offseason and supposedly has one of the league’s top offensive lines is 23rd in rushing (86 yards per game) and 28th in rush average (3.3).
The Eagles are averaging just 3.4 yards per carry on first down, which is the 10th lowest in the league. Rookie Miles Sanders is averaging just 3.1 yards per carry on first down and 2.8 overall. He doesn’t seem to be quite in sync yet with his line. Losing tight end Dallas Goedert (calf), who is a good in-line blocker, is a blow to the run game.
The Lions haven’t been very good against the run in their first two games. They’ve allowed 124.5 yards per game and 5.2 yards per carry. They’re giving up 5.4 yards per carry on first down.
The Eagles will be without their two top wideouts — Alshon Jeffery and DeSean Jackson. Both went down with injuries early in the loss to Atlanta.
Carson Wentz had one of the best games of his career in Week 1, posting a 122.0 passer rating against Washington and completing 12 of 13 passes on third down for 199 yards and three TDs. Last week, without Jeffery and Jackson, he completed just 6 of 16 passes with two interceptions in the first half, before rallying in the second half.
Rookie J.J. Arcega-Whiteside and Mack Hollins, who replaced Jeffery and Jackson last week, should benefit from the reps they got against Atlanta and a week of first-team practice snaps.
Tight end Zach Ertz, who had 116 catches last season, already has 13 in the first two games, but he is averaging just 9.7 yards per catch. The Lions had five sacks against Arizona in Week 1 but just one last week against Philip Rivers and the Chargers. Still, they have the league’s eighth-best opponent passer rating (74.4), have given up just two passing touchdowns, and are fourth in opponent completion percentage (55.6).
Under new offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, the Lions are running the ball more frequently, but not necessarily better. They averaged 30 rushing attempts in their first two games but are only 26th in rush average (3.5).
Kerryon Johnson is their primary back, but they sprinkled in sixth-round rookie Ty Johnson last week. Ty Johnson had 36 yards on six carries last week against the Chargers. Five of those six carries came on first down. Kerryon Johnson, a 2018 second-round pick, is a three-down back who averaged 5.4 yards per carry last year on 118 rushing attempts. He’s a strong runner with decent speed and explosion.
The Eagles have been strong against the run in their first two games, allowing just 2.8 yards per carry. But they have yet to play a team that has stayed committed to the run. Washington ran the ball just 13 times in Week 1. Atlanta ran it only 17 times last week.
The Eagles have allowed just two runs of eight yards or more so far. Seventeen of the 30 runs against them have gained 2 yards or fewer.
Matthew Stafford is off to a good start. He threw five touchdown passes, averaged 8.4 yards per attempt, and had a 102.6 passer rating in the Lions’ first two games. He has a fairly experienced offensive line that has allowed just two sacks in two games.
Wide receivers Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones are difficult coverage matchups. Golladay, who is 6-foot-4, had 70 catches and averaged 15.2 yards per reception last year. The 6-2 Jones is a deep threat who has 14 TD catches the last two seasons. Slot receiver Danny Amendola is almost 34, but he still knows how to get open.
First-round rookie tight end T.J. Hockenson is out of the Gronk/George Kittle mold. He’s an excellent in-line blocker. He’s not a dynamic receiver but is very effective in the short and intermediate areas.
The Eagles are 31st in passing yards allowed (340 per game) and are tied for 31st in touchdown passes allowed (6). They have just two sacks in two games. Their interior pass rush has been hurt by injuries to DTs Malik Jackson and Tim Jernigan.
Jake Elliott is 3-for-3 on field goal attempts through the first two games. Punter Cam Johnston is second in the league in gross average (51.9) and first in net average (48.6). Five of his seven attempts have traveled at least 52 yards. Darren Sproles is eighth in punt-return average (10.8).
The Eagles’ coverage teams have been outstanding. They have held opponents to 5.8 yards per return on punts and 15.3 on kickoffs. The Eagles’ main kick returner, Corey Clement, injured his shoulder early in the third quarter against the Falcons and was replaced by rookie Miles Sanders, who had a 29-yard return.
Lions kicker Matt Prater missed a 40-yard attempt last week against the Chargers, but he still is one of the league’s best kickers. He has an impressive 85.5% field goal accuracy rate since 2010 and 75.8% on kicks of 50-plus yards. Punter Sam Martin is last in the league in gross average (40.8) and 22nd in net (39.3). But just four of his 12 attempts have been returned.
Jamal Agnew is the Lions’ punt and kicker returner. He led the league in punt return average two years ago (15.4), but he averaged just 4.8 last year and has averaged 0.6 this year.
Well, the fact that the game is at the Linc should count for something. But if the Eagles get off to another slow start, the boos are going to start raining down on them pretty quickly, and they’ll think they’re in Dallas.
The Eagles will be missing a number of key players who are out with injuries. Lions left tackler Taylor Decker (back) and middle linebacker Jarrad Davis both missed last week’s game but probably will play.
Eagles 31, Lions 21
Eagles LT Jason Peters vs. Lions DE Trey Flowers: Big test for the 37-year-old Peters against one of the league’s better young defensive ends. ADVANTAGE: Lions
Eagles DE Brandon Graham vs. Lions RT Rick Wagner: High-motor Graham doesn’t have a sack, but he has 11 of the Eagles’ 18 QB pressures. Wagner has given up a team-high nine pressures. Last year, he allowed a team-high eight sacks. ADVANTAGE: Eagles
Eagles CBs Ronald Darby and Sidney Jones/Rasul Douglas vs. Lions WRs Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones. Darby and Douglas each have given up two TDs already. Golladay and Jones are big targets with good speed. ADVANTAGE: Lions
Limit the big plays. The Lions have 11 pass plays of 20-plus yards in their first two games, third most in the NFL. The Eagles have given up eight, which is eighth most.
Better early effort from the defense. Much has been made of the offense’s slow starts. But the Eagles’ defense hasn’t been any better. It gave up scores on Washington’s first three possessions in Week 1. Last week, it gave up an 11-play scoring drive to the Falcons on their first possession.