By Danny Cox

The Detroit Lions are beginning to finally click this season and it may be too late, but don’t tell them that. They’re not out of the playoff race just yet in the NFC, and now they will be taking on the Philadelphia Eagles who are watching their season fade away. Philly still has a lot of weapons, despite all their recent problems, and the Lions cannot underestimate them.

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Season Record

The Eagles have been up-and-down all season with never much consistency from one week to the next. They’re sitting at 4-6 and tied for second in the NFC East. The playoffs are not out of the question, but things are not looking good for the Eagles who have lost two in a row and are dealing with a lot of injuries which won’t make breaking that streak any easier.

Philadelphia Eagles on Offense

As of Monday, it isn’t looking like quarterback Sam Bradford will be playing against the Lions due to a concussion that kept him out of this past weekend’s game. If he’s not able to play, then Mark Sanchez will take over the starting quarterback position. Having the short week and playing on Thursday doesn’t help the Eagles as a full week may have allowed Bradford time to recover.

Tight end Zach Ertz is another possible scratch for Thursday as he suffered a concussion against the Buccaneers. Sanchez will still have targets in Jordan Matthews, Brent Celek and others. DeMarco Murray is coming around since landing with the Eagles, but he’s showing nothing like what he did last season in Dallas.

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Philadelphia Eagles on Defense

The Eagles give up a lot of points on defense, but have the ability to shut things down randomly. The pass defense is their strong suit as they’ve racked up 12 interceptions so far this season, and the pass rush isn’t bad either with 24 sacks. Matthew Stafford is going to have to time his throws perfectly while keeping his eyes on Fletcher Cox, Brandon Graham, and Connor Barwin who will likely end up in their Lions’ backfield.

Philadelphia Eagles Players to Watch

No matter how low his numbers may be this season, DeMarco Murray is always a force to be reckoned with in any game. He’s a strong runner with a lot of speed and he’s become a real threat out of the backfield in the passing game. Just because he doesn’t get the hand-off doesn’t mean the Lions can think he won’t be involved in the play.

Defensively, Stafford will need to watch Malcolm Jenkins and Walter Thurmond III all day. They are two excellent pass defenders who have turned into ball-hawks when on the field. Calvin Johnson will have his work cut out for him, but Stafford will need to take advantage of his receiver’s height.

Outlook

Philly is hurting with a lot of injuries right now and play that has simply not looked explosive or even good. Detroit needs to play strong as they have the past two weeks and shut down DeMarco Murray. Doing that will make things easier and lead to extending their win streak to three games.

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Danny Cox knows a little something about the NFL, whether it means letting you know what penalty will come from the flag just thrown on the field or quickly spouting off who the Chicago Bears drafted in the first round of the 1987 draft (Jim Harbaugh). He plans on bringing you the best news, previews, recaps, and anything else that may come along with the exciting world of the National Football League. Danny is a freelance writer covering all things NFL. His work can be found on Examiner.com.