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Week 1 Preview: Philadelphia Eagles vs. Detroit Lions

After a very successful offseason in which general manager Howie Roseman greatly improved the roster, the Philadelphia Eagles open up on the road in Detroit to face the Lions. The Lions are also a team that drastically improved their roster through the draft and free agency. Last season, the Eagles finished second in the NFC East and made the playoffs as the seventh seed. They ultimately lost, 31-15, to the Tom Brady-led Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Lions wound up with the second overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft after finishing 3-13-1, but were competitive in every game. Now with Aidan Hutchinson and other major pieces, they should easily improve upon that record.

Philadelphia Eagles

With upgrades on both sides of the ball, the Eagles are a serious sleeper team to make the NFC Championship Game. It really falls on the shoulders of Jalen Hurts for how far they go this season. Hurts now has a new weapon to help compliment second-year receiver DeVonta Smith, in A.J. Brown, who they acquired from the Tennessee Titans. Smith broke the Eagles' rookie receiving yards record as he amassed 916 receiving yards to pass DeSean Jackson (912 in 2008) on the franchise leaderboard. The former Alabama receiver also recorded five touchdown catches and 64 receptions overall.

This duo could be among the best in the league. They are complimented by third-year receiver Quez Watkins, tight end Dallas Goedert, and trio of running backs Miles Sanders, Kenneth Gainwell, and Boston Scott. In addition to those flurry of weapons, Hurts will behind an incredible offensive line led by veteran center Jason Kelce, left tackle Jordan Mailata, and left guard Landon Dickerson. This is an offensive line tasked with slowing down Hutchinson.

Defensively, the Eagles will be a force as they have potentially one of the most dominant defensive fronts in the league. They also gave Darius Slay help in the secondary with additions in the offseason. In the draft, they added two pieces of the dominant Georgia defense in tackle Jordan Davis and linebacker Nakobe Dean. That came after Philadelphia also signed Temple alum Haason Reddick in free agency. They are added to a front seven already made up of edge rushers Brandon Graham and Josh Sweat, tackles Fletcher Cox and Javon Hargrave, and linebacker T.J. Edwards.

They also signed linebacker Kyzir White to a one-year deal. In the secondary, the Eagles added former New York Football Giants cornerback James Bradberry in free agency and safety C.J. Gardner-Johnson via trade from the New Orleans Saints. Undrafted free agents in cornerback Josh Jobe and safety Reed Blankenship also made the 53-man roster and will be part of the second stringers. This defense should be able to feast on Jared Goff and the rest of the Lions offense.

The Eagles are a team that can certainly make a lot of noise and can certainly get off to a strong start against a team coming off a three win season.

Detroit Lions

While the headlining addition this offseason for the Lions was obviously Hutchinson, they also acquired receiver DJ Chark from the Jacksonville Jaguars. That will really help the passing game and take some of the pressure off of second-year receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown and tight end T.J. Hockenson. While Chark's season ended in Week 4 last year after he broke his ankle, the fifth-year receiver was a pro bowler in 2019 and recorded 706 yards and five touchdowns on 53 receptions in 2020. The Lions did also draft speedster receiver Jameson Williams, but he is still recovering from the torn ACL he suffered in the National Championship.

A player to watch in this game will be right tackle Penei Sewell, who goes into his second year after a solid rookie year. With head coach Dan Campbell looking to be more physical on both sides of the ball, Sewell can take a step forward and help hold off the game wreckers on the other side. He is only one man, however, so it will be a tough task. D'Andre Swift will be a feature in trying to get the run game going, which starts with how well the offensive line plays.

Cornerback Jeff Okudah returns after suffering an Achilles tear last year and will be tasked with slowing down the Philadelphia passing game. If Hutchinson can be a game wrecker and Okudah can return to pre-injury form, the Lions can make this a closer game.

Game Info

Date: Sunday, September 11th Start Time: 1:00 p.m. EDT Location: Detroit, MI Stadium: Ford Field TV Info: FOX

Betting Odds

Points Spread: DET +4.5 (-110) | PHI -4.5 (+110)

Moneyline: DET (+188) | PHI (-225)

Over/Under: O 48.5 (-106) | U 48.5 (-114)

The Eagles have had trouble beating the Lions in the past, but they cruised to a 44-6 win last year. It could be more of the same this year as the Eagles have the edge in pretty much every facet of the game. The improvements they made on both sides of the ball and their health will give them an edge. Yes, the Lions made improvements, of course, and are better than last year on paper. But they still have plenty of growing pains to go through. Hutchinson is really the only player that should scare the Eagles. Smash the Eagles on the points as this might be over before it starts. The over should also be hit with ease.

Final Score Prediction: 38-17

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