There’s a lot of talk about the Eagles needing to run the ball Sunday against Detroit, with passing game weapons DeSean Jackson (groin), Alshon Jeffery (calf) and Dallas Goedert (calf) all expected to sit. In fact, the last time the Lions came to town, the Eagles ran quite effectively.

More about that soon, but first, if you like what you’re reading, tell your friends, it’s free to sign up here​. I want to know what you think, what we should add, and what you want to read, so send me feedback by email or on Twitter @lesbowen.

Les Bowen (earlybirds@inquirer.com)

The last time the Eagles and Lions met at Lincoln Financial Field, the game was hit by a blizzard.
David Maialetti / File Photograph
The last time the Eagles and Lions met at Lincoln Financial Field, the game was hit by a blizzard.

Traction was the key

The last Lions visit to Lincoln Financial Field came on Dec. 8, 2013, the day an expected dusting of snow turned into a near-blizzard. The Eagles won, 34-20, after falling behind 8-0 at halftime and 14-0 in the third quarter.

Their offense shifted into gear when they went heavily run-centric, scoring touchdowns on five successive possessions.

LeSean “Shady" McCoy frolicked for 217 yards and two touchdowns on 29 carries. Overall, the Birds’ 299 yards on 46 carries included a 38-yard Chris Polk touchdown run. Quarterback Nick Foles was just 11 for 22 for 179 yards, a touchdown and a pick, but it didn’t matter.

“I remember going out there in pregame warm-ups, and it wasn’t snowing too bad,” right tackle Lane Johnson, then a rookie, recalled this week. "We went out there for kickoff, and it was like, ‘What the hell’s going on?’ There was about a foot of snow. I remember the whole first half, not having any traction. We were kickin’ snow on the d-line, they were kicking snow back. The second half, I remember Shady got new studs on his cleats. He had studs on his cleats about that long [holds hands about six inches apart].”

On Sunday, if the Eagles can hold Detroit quarterback Matt Stafford to the stat line he posted that day — 10 for 25 for 151 yards — they really ought to be OK.

The Lions have won both meetings since, in Detroit. Their 45-14 Thanksgiving victory in 2015 might have sealed the fate of Chip Kelly, the coach who was riding so high after that snowy victory a few years earlier. Then, in Doug Pederson’s first season, the Lions won 24-23, after Ryan Mathews fumbled the ball away with two minutes, 34 seconds remaining, at the Eagles’ 45.

By the way, snow is unlikely Sunday, with a forecast high of 90.

Sam Bradford (left) and Mark Sanchez (right) were among the Eagles' quarterbacks when they played at Detroit in 2015.
DAVID MAIALETTI / Staff
Sam Bradford (left) and Mark Sanchez (right) were among the Eagles' quarterbacks when they played at Detroit in 2015.

What you need to know about the Eagles

From the mailbag

This would depend on a number of factors, John. First, when am I leaving? If this is gonna be timed so that I hit D.C. at rush hour, morning or evening, forget it. I don’t see how people live around there, frankly. Also, there is construction on I-95 in southeastern N.C., and that is not a scenic area, believe me, I’ve been there. Kind of like being stuck in traffic in the Pine Barrens.

Also, I assume we are talking about Jalen Ramsey here. I mean, I’d totally drive to Jacksonville and back with Jalen Mills, he’s one of the coolest people I know, but that wouldn’t seem to serve much of a purpose. Jalen Ramsey, though, seems like he’d have an opinion on everything.

“Why can’t we stop at South of the Border?”

“Why didn’t you take that exit, gas is cheaper there?”

“We should have waited to eat breakfast at the NEXT Waffle House, this one sucks.”

And so forth.

Would he mind listening to Outlaw Country on Sirius XM? Because that’s what I usually play. Can he drive stick? If not, I’m behind the wheel the whole way, and 13-plus hours each way is a haul.

On the other hand, if the assumption here is that the Eagles have traded for Ramsey and I am being counted upon to deliver him from Jaguarland, I do have to factor in that this would be an excellent interview opportunity, a huge exclusive. That might make the whole thing worthwhile, D.C. notwithstanding.

John, I hope this has answered your question.