4 bold predictions for Philadelphia Eagles Week 1 matchup vs. Lions
There are few teams who have seen expectations rise as much as the Eagles have this offseason. The franchise exceeded expectations last year in the first season of Nick Sirianni’s head coaching tenure with Jalen Hurts as the starting quarterback. They managed to secure a record of 9-8 and squeeze into the playoffs, and following the solid year, the team upgraded the roster in a major way and attempted to cover all holes which popped up last season. As Philadelphia looks to put itself on the map with the true contenders this season, here are four Eagles Week 1 predictions to keep an eye on in their matchup with the Lions.
4. AJ Brown has 100+ Yards Receiving
The most notable move this offseason was the Eagles’ trade for AJ Brown. The former Titans standout came over on draft night in exchange for the 18th overall pick and an additional third-round selection. The Eagles then signed Brown to a $100 million deal shortly following the trade. With a major investment made to get the WR and ensure he will be in Philadelphia for the long haul, expect the Eagles to target him a great deal.
AJ Brown is a terrific fit for what the Eagles needed and will be the true WR1 threat that was missing. While DeVonta Smith had an impressive rookie season there are still limitations to his game based on his thin frame. The physically imposing style of Brown will be helpful in opening things up for Smith as well. The two are set to form one of the better wide receiver duos around the NFL this season. While both will surely get their touches, look for AJ Brown to get first dibs and eclipse 100 yards receiving in the Week 1 matchup.
3. Dallas Goedert Catches a TD
An under-the-radar storyline heading into opening week has been the expected leap that Dallas Goedert is set to take. The former second-round pick has had some positive flashes already in his career in Philadelphia and the stage is set for him to play a larger role. With Zach Ertz in search of a new contract and Dallas Goedert peering over his shoulder, the Eagles elected to trade Ertz to the Cardinals last season. It was disappointing to see the Super Bowl hero leave Philadelphia, but also a massive sign of the belief the Eagles have in Goedert.
As the secondary tight end, Dallas Goedert has recorded 193 receptions for 2,295 yards and 16 touchdowns during his four seasons in the NFL. He possesses loads of talent and ability and is set to receive a greater opportunity in 2022. This will especially be the case in the red zone. Look for the South Dakota State product to get off on the right foot and record a touchdown in Week 1.
2. Eagles will have more pass attempts than rush attempts
For most teams around the NFL, this would not be a bold take at all. However, the Eagles found their stride last season becoming an incredibly run-dominant team. They led the NFL with 2,715 rushing yards as a team and ran the ball an NFL-best 52.7% of plays last season.
While the rushing game is still sure to be an asset, expect the Eagles to throw the ball more this season. The questions surrounding Jalen Hurts’ arm will not be answered until he gets a chance to prove it. With improved weapons around him and another year of development having occurred, expect there to be more trust in the 24-year-old QB. The Detroit Lions had the 23rd worst passing defense by the standard of yards allowed last season. This is an excellent chance to give Hurts a true chance so expect the Eagles to allow him to throw the ball more than was the case last season.
1. Eagles Cover the Spread
The Eagles impressed greatly last year by having such positive performances with notable holes in the roster. Expectations have been raised this year as the offseason work has been done to ensure the team is ready to compete. Look for Philadelphia to make a statement in Week 1 and grab control of the matchup with the Lions. While Detroit has captured the hearts of many due to their time on Hard Knocks, the Eagles are the better team on both sides of the ball.
The Lions are heading in the right direction, but the Eagles are ready to compete right now. Philadelphia is currently favored by 3.5 points and this is a mark the franchise will reach. The improvements in the Eagles’ linebackers and secondary have not gotten enough attention and this will be known after the opening week. Expect the Eagles to get off on the right foot and cruise to a comfortable victory over the Lions in Week 1.