Lions vs. Eagles preview: Stopping Wentz problematic

James Hawkins
The Detroit News
Quarterback Carson Wentz, the No. 2 overall pick out of North Dakota State, is 66-for-102 for 769 yards with five touchdowns this season.

James Hawkins of The Detroit News breaks down Sunday's Lions-Eagles game at Ford Field (1 p.m. Fox/WJR).

Eagles to watch

Carson Wentz, QB: The No. 2 overall pick out of North Dakota State has a rating of 103.8, and is one of five players with at least 100 pass attempts with a rating over 100. Wentz has been efficient and effective, completing 64.7 percent of his passes (66-for-102) for 769 yards, five TDs and no turnovers.

Fletcher Cox / Brandon Graham, DL: The Lions offensive line has allowed 10 sacks and will be tested with Cox inside and Graham (Michigan) outside. Philadelphia’s swarming defense relies on generating pressure up front and so far the duo has wreaked havoc with three sacks and a forced fumble apiece.

Ryan Mathews, RB: The Eagles use a running back by committee approach, and Mathews leads with 104 yards and three TDs. He is a physical, one-cut runner who can wear teams down, but saw limited action the past two games (ankle).

Detroit News predictions: Lions vs. Eagles

Intangibles

Different directions: It was believed the Eagles were going to have a rebuilding year by starting rookie QB Carson Wentz. Instead, they are 3-0 and will be well-rested coming off a bye. The Lions opened with a favorable schedule but are coming off their third straight loss.

Quarterback haven: While the Lions defense ranks No. 21 in passing yards (271.8), it has surrendered the second-highest completion percentage (70.7) and second-most passing TDs (12). It also has allowed four quarterbacks to finish with a rating over 100.

Flag fest: Detroit has been flagged 39 times (third-most) for 370 yards, trailing only Jacksonville (392 yards). The Lions are averaging 9.75 penalties for 92.5 yards.

Running blues: Since starter Ameer Abdullah was placed on injured reserve, the Lions have averaged 58 rushing yards the last two games. Theo Riddick, who has taken over the No. 1 role, has 21 carries for 40 yards (1.9 yards per carry) and rookie Dwayne Washington has 12 for 44 (3.7 YPC).

Schwartz effect: Former Lions coach Jim Schwartz is pulling all the right strings as the Eagles' defensive coordinator. Philadelphia is allowing the fewest points (nine), is seventh in passing yards (203.3), third in rushing (71), and third in total defense (274.3).

Facts and figures

■ All four Lions games have been decided by seven points or less. They have lost the last three by a combined 11.

■ DE Kerry Hyder  is the third player in franchise history to record at least five sacks in the team’s first four games, joining William Gay (8.5, 1983) and Robert Porcher  (five, 2001), and is on pace to better Porcher’s season mark of 15 set in 1999.

■ Last week, in his 97th game, QB Matthew Stafford set an NFL record for most passing yards in a player’s first 100 career games with 27,174. He bettered Dan Marino’s mark of 27,064 and joined Marino as the only quarterbacks to surpass 27,000 yards during that span.

■ Theo Riddick ranks first among running backs with 20 receptions and sixth with 157 yards receiving.

■ WR Marvin Jones set a franchise record for most receiving yards through the first four games with 482, topping Calvin Johnson’s 423 yards in 2012.