Lions vs. Eagles: Is Philly 'D' vulnerable?

Josh Katzenstein
The Detroit News
Theo Riddick

Josh Katzenstein of The Detroit News breaks down Thursday's Lions-Eagles game at Ford Field (12:30 p.m., FOX/97.1 FM).


DeMarco Murray, RB: The former Cowboys star hasn't lived up to expectations in his first season in Philadelphia, averaging 3.7 yards per carry compared to the 4.7-yard average from Dallas, when he ran for 1,845 yards last season. Murray has played better recently, including being a factor in the passing game, and with Ryan Mathews' status unclear (concussion), he should continue to have a large workload.

Malcolm Jenkins, S: Jenkins makes plays at all levels of the field for the Eagles, leading the team with 67 tackles along with six passes defensed, one interception and three forced fumbles. He'll surely be tasked with limiting the Lions tight ends at points in the game.

Brent Celek, TE: The Lions have struggled covering tight ends for most of the season. With Zach Ertz dealing with a concussion, Celek could play a bigger role. He's played well the past two games with 11 catches for 213 yards.


Three in a row? With wins over the Packers and Raiders, the Lions are on their first winning streak of the season. The Lions surely need to win out to even have a chance at the postseason, but a third straight win Thursday would also give them three straight victories on Thanksgiving.

Pour it on: The Lions have scored 20-plus points just twice this season, but perhaps this is the matchup for the offense to find its rhythm. The Eagles gave up 45 points to the Buccaneers last Sunday, including five touchdown passes, so the Lions should have opportunities.

Stop the run: After giving up 50 rushing yards to the Raiders and 45 to the Packers, the Lions need to have similar results against the run Thursday. The Eagles rank 11th, averaging 119.2 rushing yards per game.

Healthy Lions: The Lions didn't suffer any major injuries in Week 11 and should be at full strength, not including players on injured reserve.

Short-week woes: Meanwhile, the Eagles are in danger of being without RB Ryan Mathews and TE Zach Ertz (concussions), and it's unclear if QB Sam Bradford (concussion/left shoulder) will have enough time to recover after missing Week 11.


* After posting 72 receiving yards Sunday, Lions RB Theo Riddick now has 445 receiving yards, passing Billy Sims (412 in 1980) for the most receiving yards by a Lions back in the first 10 games since 1960.

* Even with 109 rushing yards last Sunday, the Lions are still 32nd in the NFL in rushing, averaging just 71.1 yards per game.

* The Eagles rank third in the NFL with 21 takeaways this season.

* Since 2013, the Eagles lead the NFL in explosive plays on offense with 219 plays of 20-plus yards.

* The Lions have turned the ball over just once in their last two games, a key reason for the victories.