Every game in the NFL is important, but the Lions matchup against the Eagles seems like one neither team can afford to lose.
The Lions (3-1) enter on a three-game losing streak, and only six teams have made the playoffs after a 1-4 start since the current postseason format began in 1990.
As for the Eagles (3-2), a .500 start after six games by no means spells immediate doom, but after losing last week to the Steelers, a home game against a 1-3 team feels like a must-win in the NFC East, where all four teams are within one game of the division lead.
The Lions surely hope to strike early since they have yet to score a touchdown in the first quarter this season, and that would be an ideal time for quarterback Matthew Stafford to connect with wide receiver Calvin Johnson for their first touchdown together this year.
The offense will also try to find the rhythm that’s been lacking and often led to drives stalling once across midfield.
Even if the Lions can find a way to reach the red zone, the Eagles defense won’t give points away easily. Philadelphia ranks fourth in the league in red zone touchdown percentage (31.3 percent).
On defense, the Lions must contend with lots of speed at the Eagles skill positions. To help slow wide receivers DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin, the Lions will start a new defensive backfield with cornerback Jacob Lacey starting in place of Bill Bentley and Amari Spievey and Louis Delmas manning the safety spots.
The Lions will also have to deal with running back LeSean Mccoy, who ran for 120 yards and three touchdowns against the Lions in their last meeting in 2010.
Of course, many eyes will be on the Lions special teams. In Week 4, they became the first team to allow a kick return and punt return touchdown in back-to-back games. Stopping the Eagles special teams should give them a much better chance to avoid a 1-4 start.