Sitting at the bottom of the NFC North, the Detroit Lions know they need to come out of their bye week with a much-improved effort going forward.
While the Philadelphia Eagles share the NFC East lead, Michael Vick knows he must get better at holding on to the football.
The visiting Lions try to avoid a fourth consecutive loss Sunday and beat the Eagles for the first time in a quarter-century.
After going 10-6 and snapping an 11-year postseason drought in 2011, Detroit (1-3) was widely expected to take a big step forward this year. That, however, has yet to happen, with the Lions dropping three in a row since a season-opening 27-23 win over St. Louis.
“That’s our challenge right now to dig our way out of this,” coach Jim Schwartz said. “There have been a lot of things that have happened that are not indicative of where this team will be after 16 games and like I said, we need to get those corrected.”
The Lions saw their woes continue in a 20-13 home loss to Minnesota on Sept. 30, allowing touchdowns on kickoff and punt returns for the second consecutive game. Matthew Stafford, though, is hoping a week off makes all the difference.
“Obviously, you want to head into a bye week with a win,” he told the team’s official website, “but it’s a good time for us to kind of get away from it a little bit, refocus and get ready for a 12-game stretch.”
Stafford has been limited to three touchdown passes – he had 41 last season – and his four interceptions equal his total through eight games in 2011. He has yet to find Calvin Johnson in the end zone, though the star wideout ranks second in the league with 105.8 receiving yards per game.
“I’m not real surprised,” said Johnson, who had 16 TD catches last year but whose only one this season came from backup Shaun Hill.