The Eagles’ chances of beating the Lions rest on the shoulders of Jonathan Gannon
After an embarrassing loss to the Las Vegas Raiders last week, the Philadelphia Eagles are headed to Detroit to face the winless Lions. It has been a horrible week to be an Eagles fan, from flower metaphors to Jonathan Gannon doubling down on his horrid defense. At this point in the season, a loss will do more good for the Eagles, especially with a chance to own the first pick if the Lions win and Miami loses.
However, there is still a slim chance of climbing out of this hole, starting with a win on Sunday. Detroit is not your usual 0-7 team, so it won’t be the cakewalk that some expect.
If Jonathan Gannon continues to use this soft zone coverage, this game will be over from the jump. Philadelphia is on pace to allow a record high completion % and the talent on both sides of the football doesn’t support Gannon’s ideals.
Derek Carr chewed this defense up with short check-downs, and Jared Goff is likely to do the same. Goff is near dead last in yards per completion with 6.5 yet is 11th in the league in passing yards. There are no big plays to take away from Detroit. Their entire offense is based on running the ball and short passes.
Jared Goff this season (ranked out of 34 quarterbacks):
|Passing Attempts||Yards Per Attempt||Time to Throw||Running grade (per PFF)|
|274 (3rd most in NFL)||6.5 yards (29th)||2.7 seconds (17th)||37.7th (2nd worst in NFL)|
Detroit has a similar game plan to San Francisco, and while they didn’t score much, the 49ers got what they needed to bring home a win. The Eagles are 29th in the NFL in blitz percentage, sending pressure on just 14.3% of plays. Philadelphia has the tools on defense to make it work, and it cannot get any worse after last week.
Like every other team this season, expect Detroit to attack Philadelphia heavily with screens. Jared Goff has thrown 29 screens this season, the 8th most in the NFL. For reference, the Eagles have attempted 40 screens so far this season. Even with the adjusted defense, they will get burned heavily and D’Andre Swift had a big touchdown off a screen last week.
Swift leads all running backs in receiving yards with 396, over 90 more than the next closest back. His 32 receptions are also the most in the league by eight, with Najee Harris in second place with 24 catches.
The Lions’ offensive line hasn’t been that impressive this season. Penei Sewell is dealing with growing pains, and the rest of the line hasn’t been anything special. In fact, Detroit is one of the worst in the NFL in pass protection, ranking 27th with a 53.8 grade.
Through seven games, they have allowed 12 sacks and over 100 pressures. Jared Goff isn’t a mobile QB, so combining pressure against a pocket passer who relies on check-downs is a recipe for disaster on offense. Why Jonathan Gannon has refused to attack Derek Carr and Jimmy G alongside the several other pocket passers they have faced this season is unknown.
If Gannon allows this mediocre, methodical offense to wear down the Philadelphia Eagles’ defense, there is no shot. This man shouldn’t be able to keep his job come Monday. The Eagles are 2-5. Their backs are up against the wall. This is where you start swinging. You don’t keep trying to block the punches in hopes that they’ll tire themselves out.
The Lions haven’t given up yet and have fought hard in every game this season, don’t underestimate them, or the Eagles will soon be the laughing stock of the NFL.
|Eagles||-3.5 (-112)||-194||O 48 (-110)|
|Lions||+3.5 (-108)||+162||U 48 (110)|
Mandatory Credit: Philadelphia Inquirer