NFL Betting Preview Week #14: Detroit Lions at Philadelphia Eagles

Detroit Lions at Philadelphia Eagles
Lincoln Financial Field- Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Sunday, December 8, 2013, 1:00 pm Eastern, TV: Fox, NFL Sunday Ticket

Opening Line: Philadelphia -2 1/2 (-121)
Current Line: Philadelphia -3
Opening Total: 53
Current Total: 54
Opening Money Line: Eagles -145 / Lions +125
Opening Money Line: Eagles -150 / Lions +130

The 7-5 Lions and Eagles meet Sunday in Philadelphia in a key NFC match-up with playoff implications. Philadelphia is a 3 point favorite.
The 7-5 Lions and Eagles meet Sunday in Philadelphia in a key NFC match-up with playoff implications. Philadelphia is a 3 point favorite.

Both the 7-5 Detroit Lions and 7-5 Philadelphia Eagles are in the thick of the NFC playoff race with only four games to go in the regular season. The two teams meet Sunday in Philadelphia in a crucial game. The Lions lead the NFC North by a game over the 6-6 Chicago Bears and a game a half over the 5-6-1 Green Bay Packers. The Eagles are tied with the Dallas Cowboys for the NFC East lead, but the Cowboys do hold the tiebreaker by virtue of beating the Eagles earlier in the season. The Cowboys travel to the Bears Monday night. The 9-3 Carolina Panthers and 8-4 San Francisco 49ers currently hold the two wild card spots in the NFC, so winning the division is the best chance either the Lions or Eagles have of making the playoffs.

Since 2001, the Eagles lead the series 3-1 against the Lions. However, Detroit won the last meeting 26-23 in October 2012 in Philadelphia.

Detroit is coached by Jim Schwartz. The Lions have road losses at the Arizona Cardinals 25-21, Green Bay Packers 22-9, and Pittsburgh Steelers 37-27 along with home losses to the Cincinnati Bengals 27-24 and Tampa Bay Buccaneers 27-24. Detroit has home wins over the Minnesota Vikings 34-24, Bears 40-32, Cowboys 31-30, and last Thursday against the Packers 40-10, along with road wins at the Washington Redskins 27-20, Cleveland Browns 31-17, and Bears 21-19. The Lions are 6-6 ATS and the total is 7-5 this season. Detroit was a 7 point favorite at home on Thanksgiving against Green Bay and the total was 48.5.

After a scoreless first quarter, Green Bay took a 10-3 lead against Detroit on a one yard fumble return early in the second. They would not score again as the Lions would score the last 37 points of the game to rout the Packers 40-10. The win snapped a two game losing streak for the Lions this season and also a nine game losing streak on Thanksgiving. The Lions had also lost five straight games to the Packers. Green Bay had a paltry 126 total yards and 7 first downs. Detroit had 561 total yards including 320 passing and 241 rushing yards. The Lions overcame 4 turnovers in the win while the Packers had 3 of their own.

Detroit is outscoring teams 27-24 this season. The Lions are #4 in scoring and #18 in points allowed. Detroit is averaging 424.5 yards per game on offense including 309.3 passing and 115.2 rushing yards. The Lions are #2 in both total and passing offense and #15 in rushing. On defense, Detroit is allowing 344.9 yards per game including 262.2 passing and 82.7 rushing yards. The Lions are #3 in rush defense, #26 against the pass, and #15 in total defense. Detroit is -8 in turnovers. The Lions are 77/173 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 54/165. Detroit has forced 27 sacks and allowed 15 this season. The Lions have 2 defensive touchdowns and have allowed 3 this season. Detroit is averaging 56 penalty yards per game and opponents are averaging 47.

Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford has completed 59.2% of his passes for 3,825 yards with 27 touchdowns and 14 interceptions, along with 28 carries for 62 yards and two touchdowns. He has been sacked 15 times this season. Running back Reggie Bush has 180 carries for 854 yards and 3 touchdowns, along with 45 catches for 448 yards and 2 touchdowns. Bush is probable with a calf injury. Joique Bell has 106 carries for 435 yards and six touchdown runs, along with 34 catches for 378 yards.

Wide receiver Calvin Johnson is widely considered to be the best receiver in the NFL. He is on pace to break his own record for receiving yards in a season that he set last year. “Megatron” has 72 catches for 1,299 yards with 12 touchdowns. Johnson is probable with a knee injury. Kris Durham has 35 catches for 471 yards and 2 touchdowns. Brandon Pettigrew has 38 catches for 370 yards and 2 touchdowns. Nate Burleson has 26 catches for 316 yards and a touchdown. He has played the last two games after missing two months with a broken arm suffered in a car accident. Tight end Joseph Fauria has 11 catches for 130 yards and 6 touchdowns. Five defensive players are listed on the injury report including three defensive backs.

Philadelphia is coached by Chip Kelly. The Eagles have road wins at the Washington Redskins 33-27, New York Giants 36-21, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 31-20 Oakland Raiders 49-20 and at the Green Bay Packers 27-13. Philadelphia has home wins over the Redskins 24-16 and last week against the Arizona Cardinals 24-21. The Eagles have won four straight games. Philadelphia has home losses to the San Diego Chargers 33-30, the Kansas City Chiefs 26-16, Dallas Cowboys 17-3, and against the New York Giants 15-7, along with a road loss at the Denver Broncos 52-20.  Philadelphia is 6-6 ATS and the total is 6-6 this season. The Eagles were 3.5 point favorites against the Cardinals and the total was 48.

The Eagles took a 7-0 first quarter lead against the Cardinals last week. Philadelphia would expand the lead to 17-7 by halftime. The two teams would exchange touchdowns in the third quarter to make it 24-14 going into the fourth quarter. The Cardinals would pull to within 24-21 with 4:45 left in the fourth. Arizona would get one more chance from their own 10 with 2:03 left after a Philadelphia punt. The Cardinals could not get a first down though and the Eagles took a knee to run out the clock. Arizona had 350 total yards including 260 passing yards. Philadelphia had 307 total yards including 202 passing yards. The Cardinals were unable to overcome 3 turnovers and 6 penalties for 55 yards.

Philadelphia is outscoring teams 25-23 this season. The Eagles are #8 in scoring and #16 in points allowed in the NFL. Philadelphia is averaging 403.7 yards per game on offense including 256.5 passing and 147.2 rushing yards. The Eagles are #3 in total offense, #2 in rushing and #9 in passing. On defense, Philadelphia is allowing 412.2 yards per game including 296.8 passing and 115.5 rushing yards. The Eagles are #31 in total defense and #32 against the pass. The run defense is #19 in the league. Philadelphia is +7 in turnovers. The Eagles are 67/173 on third and fourth down conversions and  opponents are 76/191. Philadelphia has forced 29 sacks and allowed 35 this season. The Eagles have 2 defensive/special teams touchdowns and have allowed 4 this season. Philadelphia is averaging 57 penalty yards per game and opponents are averaging 64.

The Eagles have used three quarterbacks season, along with the Bills, Browns, Texans, Packers and Vikings. Michael Vick started the season but has been replaced by Nick Foles. Matt Barkley has also taken some snaps. Vick is healthy after battling a quad injury but Foles will remain the starter for the rest of the year. Foles has completed 63.3% of his passes for 1,791 yards with 19 touchdowns and no picks, along with 145 rushing yards and 2 rushing touchdowns. He has been sacked 17 times this season. Vick has completed 54.6% of his passes for 1,215 yards with 5 touchdowns and 3 interceptions, along with 34 carries for 308 yards and 2 touchdowns. He has been sacked 15 times this season.  Barkley has thrown for 300 yards with 4 interceptions. He has been sacked 3 times this season.

Running back LeSean McCoy has 232 carries for 1,088 yards and 5 touchdowns, along with 39 catches for 435 yards and a touchdown. Bryce Brown will also get some carries and catches. Chris Polk has a rushing touchdown.

Receiver DeSean Jackson has 61 catches for 1,021 yards and 7 touchdowns. Riley Cooper has 34 catches, 640 yards and 7 touchdowns. Tight end Zach Ertz has 26 catches for 342 yards and 3 touchdowns. He is probable with a shoulder injury. Jason Avant has 29 catches for 336 yards and a touchdown. Tight end Brent Celek has 23 catches for 319 yards and 4 touchdowns.   Six defensive players are listed on the injury report for the Eagles.

Detroit is 4-1 ATS after allowing 250 total yards or less, 15-5-1 after gaining more than 350 total yards, 8-18-1 after allowing less than 150 passing yards, 5-15-3 after scoring more than 30 points, 2-6-1 after rushing for more than 150 yards, 1-4 after a cover, and in December, 1-4-1 after allowing less than 15 points, and 0-3-1 after a straight up win of 14 points or more.

Philadelphia is 4-1 ATS in week 14, 7-16-1 on grass, 8-20-1 against teams with winning records, 7-19-1 after failing to cover, 5-20-1 at home, 0-6-1 against teams with winning road records, and 0-4 in December.

Detroit sometimes looks they could be a serious contender in the NFC, but other times can’t get out of their own way. Philadelphia has been playing really well lately, but they can be inconsistent too sometimes. If the Lions can avoid the turnovers that have plagued them all season, then they have a legitimate chance of pulling off the road upset. The Detroit pass rush should be able to get to Foles who was sacked five times by the Cardinals last week.

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