These reasons come in the form of a couple of young, beefy, immovable objects planted in the center of the Lions’ defensive front.
They are DT Ndamukong Suh and DT Nick Fairley.
Earlier this season, replacement LT Demetress Bell was the most exploited offensive lineman on the Eagles’ front as he matched up against several sets of dominant defensive ends. While the struggles of C Dallas Reynolds were clearly visible in his first start, he has been gladly off the radar for the past few weeks.
Reynolds won’t be so lucky in Week 6.
Suh and Fairley both came into the NFL as highly decorated early first-round picks following spectacular collegiate campaigns. Suh was drafted 2nd overall by the Lions in 2010, while Fairley was selected 13th overall in the 2011 NFL Draft.
Suh has been an absolute wrecking ball since entering the league, while Fairley has yet to breakout due to injury issues as well as multiple legal problems.
Although there have been some questions about Fairley’s effort and work ethic, anybody who witnessed his dominant play in his final season at Auburn University knows just what the young man is capable of.
No matter what, the Eagles’ very shaky offensive line will have their hands more than full on Sunday. And this time Reynolds and Bell will not be the only linemen who will be under the spotlight.
RG Danny Watkins is just a 2nd year player with a lot to prove, and the true potential of LG Evan Mathis is still very questionable in his 8th NFL season. Last season was only the 2nd year as an everyday NFL starter for Mathis, while the last time was all the way back in 2006 as a member of the Carolina Panthers.
The only proven, truly experienced veteran on the Eagles’ offensive line is RT Todd Herremans who will also have a full plate, taking on the Lions’ highly skilled DE Cliff Avril and veteran DE Kyle Vanden Bosch.
And because Herremans will be dealing with his own challenges, he will have no time to babysit the interior of the Eagles’ offensive line when they attempt to fend off Suh and Fairley.
Yes, the pressure has been placed heavily on this group all season long, and here comes another week of difficulty and likely ridicule.
But have no pity for the Eagles’ linemen.
This is what these young bucks signed up for when entering the NFL and this is the type of match-up that they must face in order to prove their worth.
Please follow Joe on Twitter @JoeD_Rant for all Eagles/NFL insight.