LIONS INSIDER

Scouting this week's opponent: Philadelphia Eagles

Posted Dec 2, 2013

Sunday’s Lions vs. Eagles game will feature two 7-5 teams looking to stay atop their respective divisions

The calendar flipped to December and the Detroit Lions now face the final quarter of their schedule and the stretch run to the playoffs.

It starts Sunday in Philadelphia, which might be the most difficult test remaining on the schedule. The Eagles (7-5) are winners of four-straight and have stormed back to a share of the NFC East lead after starting the season 1-3.

The Lions’ magic number to clinch the NFC North title is down to three after Chicago’s loss to Minnesota on Sunday.

Even if the Lions lose in Philadelphia, they’ll still be leading the division on Monday because of tie breaking scenarios, but there’s something to be said for getting hot at the right time.

Here’s a quick scouting report on Philadelphia:

OFFENSE

Nick Foles and LeSean McCoyQB Nick Foles and RB LeSean McCoy following a touchdown against Arizona. (Photo: AP Images)

The Eagles have been on a roll ever since Nick Foles took over for Michael Vick at quarterback. Foles is 5-1 as the Eagles starter and has 19 touchdowns on the year. He has yet to throw an interception. He’s one touchdown away from tying Peyton Manning’s NFL record for the most touchdowns to begin a season without throwing an interception (20).

Foles has completed 72 of 106 passes for 1,169 yards with 13 touchdowns and no interceptions over the Eagles last four games. His passer rating is 144.2 over that stretch.

Foles has no shortage of weapons at his disposal, either. The Eagles feature a 1,000-yard receiver in DeSean Jackson (1,021) and a 1,000-yard rusher in LeSean McCoy (1,068). McCoy is averaging 125 yards per game, which leads the NFL.

The Eagles rank fourth in the NFL in yards (403.6), ninth in passing (256.8), third in rushing (146.8) and eighth in scoring (25.0).

If there’s one weakness on offense it's that the offensive line has allowed 35 sacks this year, the ninth-most in the league.

DEFENSE

The Eagles defense has held it’s last eight opponents to 21 points or less, the only NFL team to do so during that span. Opponents are averaging just 17.9 points the last eight games, compared to 27.5 over the first four games.

After missing the last two games with a pectoral injury, cornerback Bradley Fletcher returned to the lineup last week vs. Arizona. He leads the team with 15 pass breakups.

The Eagles are plus seven on the season in the turnover ratio and are plus-13 in their seven wins. They are minus-six in their five losses.

Bradley FletcherCB Bradley Fletcher during Week 1 matchup against Washington. (Photo: AP Images)

Philadelphia ranks 31st in yards allowed (412.2), 32nd in pass yard allowed (296.8), 19th in rushing yards allowed (115.5) and 16th in points allowed (23.4).

The Eagles have three players – Vinny Curry (4), Conner Barwin (4) and Trent Cole (5) – with at least four sacks on the season.

SPECIAL TEAMS

Punter Donnie Jones landed seven punts inside the 20-yard line in last week’s 24-21 victory over Arizona, setting a team record and tying for the third-highest total in the NFL since the stat became official in 1976, according to philadelphiaeagles.com. Jones has placed 29 punts inside the 20 this season and is averaging 45.3 yards per punt with a net of 41.3.

Kick returner Damaris Johnson is averaging 25.9 yards per kickoff return and 8.6 yards per punt return.

Jackson is always a threat to go back and return a punt when the Eagles need a big play, however. Jackson has four career punt-return touchdowns.

Kicker Alex Henery is 18-of-23 on the year kicking field goals.