Everything has been clicking as of late for the Philadelphia Eagles during their four-game winning streak, but if they want to make it five in a row they’re going to need someone other than LeSean McCoy to lead them to victory over the Detroit Lions.
When fans think about the Lions, the first thing to come to mind is Calvin Johnson whereas the last thing probably would be their defense. Yet, through 13 weeks, Detroit has yet to allow a 100-yard rusher, holding running backs like Adrian Peterson, Alfred Morris and Eddie Lacy below the mark. The unit has come close to surrendering 100 yards to an individual, giving up 99 yards to Lacy and 93 to Peterson, but there’s no taking away just how dominant the Lions have been in containing the ground game.
Ranked third in the league with 82.7 rushing yards allowed, the unit will have yet another daunting challenge awaiting in Week 14 when they visit McCoy and the league’s second ranked ground game (146.8 YPG). Trailing only Washington (150.4) in that category, the Eagles boast arguably the most dynamic runner in the NFL. McCoy has notched four games of 100 or more yards en route to 1,088 yards, trailing only the reigning MVP.
The former second round pick in 2009 has gone two games, though, without exceeding the 100-yard mark. However, McCoy stands as one of the best pass-catching halfbacks in the NFL, having totaled 39 receptions for 435 yards and one score.
Even with the threat he poses out of the backfield with his catching ability, the Lions have fared well this season in facing similar running backs. The unit held Matt Forte in check and limited Giovani Bernard to just five catches for 32 yards.
With that in mind, it seems the Eagles will need to find someone else to win them the game. If the trend continues it’ll fall on the shoulders of Nick Foles. His play has been inspiring during their winning streak, and he has shown the capability of winning games with his arm. His record seven touchdowns doomed Oakland and his three touchdown effort against both Green Bay and Arizona proved to be enough to lead his team to victory. Week 14 could see big days coming for his weapons outside in DeSean Jackson and Riley Cooper.
The Lions’ success in stopping the run will certainly have an impact on Sunday’s game, but it shouldn’t deter Chip Kelly from giving McCoy the ball whether on the ground or through the air. He’s the team’s best player and he gives them the best chance of winning. But if the Eagles are to move to 8-5 they’re going to need another strong outing from Foles and his outside targets.