Sometimes, skillful practitioners make doing something complicated appear simple, because they execute so flawlessly. Other times, figuring out whether a team is producing a quality performance against weak opposition is like trying to test knife sharpness using Jello. So have the Eagles smoothed out all their issues and reached the level needed to produce a winning record this season? Or are the Lions instead so tragic that any other NFL team (and perhaps even some college ones) should beat them?

The immediate answer might be as uncertain as whether Ben Simmons will ever return to play for the Sixers. On the plus side, however, even without Simmons, the Sixers exorcised a few demons on Devil’s Night by beating their nemesis, Atlanta, that had eliminated them from the last NBA playoffs.

Now it’s on to a new day, a new month, and the sweet rush of a post-Halloween sugar high. As we ease into November, for all your Philly sports, stick with us.

— Inquirer Sports Staff, @phillysport

Show up and show out — send us your sports-themed Halloween costumes (or those of your kids!): sports.daily@inquirer.com

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Early Birds

The Eagles overwhelmed the winless Lions, and while an awful Detroit team can make any team look good, Nick Sirianni, Jalen Hurts, and Co. did take care of business in a big way. The stars of the show? A running game that finally got featured and took the heat off Hurts. And a much-maligned defense that nearly pitched a shutout.

A loss to the lowly Lions might have been disastrous for Sirianni, Hurts, and defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon. This win buys them more time to right the ship.

The offense got a chance to show how good it can look when it’s well-balanced. The defense had fun harassing Jared Goff, and former Lion Darius Slay along with Detroit native Avonte Maddox had to feel especially good about the turnover that went for a touchdown.

The good vibes began pregame when Lane Johnson spoke to a national TV audience in discussing the anxiety and depression that forced him to miss three games. Johnson addressed reporters after the game as well. It was a win all around as Johnson courageously became the public face of mental health awareness in the NFL.

Off the Dribble

While the 76ers still remain unclear about when Ben Simmons will rejoin the team, players they targeted as trade possibilities have slowly started to trickle into town during this early portion of the regular season. That starts when the Portland Trail Blazers come to town, bringing along with them two players the Sixers considered as trade options for Simmons. Damian Lillard, their No. 1 target, and his teammate CJ McCollum will face the Sixers tonight.

And they figure to be a tough test for the Sixers, who have faced defensive challenges on the perimeter without Simmons. Add the fact that McCollum is averaging 24.2 points and Lillard is still waiting to break out. Sixers guard Seth Curry, who previously played for the Blazers, recognized that Lillard will be a threat: “I know Dame is looking to get going this year. ... So we’ve got to be ready.”

Next: The Sixers play the Blazers at 7 tonight at the Wells Fargo Center as they continue a four-game homestand that started with wins over the Detroit Pistons and Atlanta Hawks.

On the Fly

On the ice, James van Riemsdyk is known for his prowess in front of the net.

Off the ice, he is quickly making a name for himself among the Flyers as a business maven. The winger, 32, is the leader among the Flyers in that regard, and recently completed a business course at none other than Harvard University.

Not a bad side hustle for a guy with more than 250 career goals ...

Next: The Flyers will host the Arizona Coyotes on Tuesday night at 7 (NBC Sports Philadelphia).

Fleet Street

Have you gotten your Gotham T-shirt that features the image of a goat on the back? It’s likely to be a collector’s item, given that Carli Lloyd has now played her final pro game locally. She even scored a goal to make the occasion more special. Also, Gotham did make the NWSL playoffs, so there’s still a chance that the iconic Jersey player will leave the sport on the high of a championship.

Meanwhile, the Union have possibly picked the perfect time in the season for their big signings to mesh well with their young talent, as those two elements contributed to a momentum-building win going into the MLS playoffs.

Worth a look