The final weeks of the season for the Philadelphia Eagles‘ secondary are proving to be the most challenging and most important. They have been matched up, by luck of the schedule, with some of the best receivers in the NFL. This week when the Detroit Lions come to Philadelphia for a clash between division leaders, the secondary will find its biggest challenge.
Calvin Johnson has quickly become the best receiver in the league. His large frame, strength and speed present a package that is difficult for any individual or group to handle. He puts up ridiculous numbers week in and week out regardless of the opponent, and for the Philadelphia secondary, which has been shaky at times, the pressure is on.
The combination of Bradley Fletcher, Cary Williams, and Brandon Boykin must find ways to keep the damage to a minimum with Johnson who can take the game over by himself if given the opportunity. Their play alone on Sunday could mean the difference between an Eagles’ victory on the road to the playoffs or a loss that could spiral them out of contention very quickly.
Dealing with Johnson will not be the only challenge that the Philadelphia defense will face on Sunday as the Lions possess many potent weapons on offense. The Eagles have been good against the run and have the talent at linebacker to deal with the aerial attack to running backs like Reggie Bush and Joique Bell. However, dealing with Johnson tops the list.
Should the Eagles be able to cope with Johnson, similarly to how they handled Larry Fitzgerald this past week against the Arizona Cardinals, the Eagles should stay in the game and have a chance in the end. But if Johnson cannot be contained it could be a long day for the defense and prove difficult for the offense to keep Philadelphia in the game.