2021 season preview: Lions vs. Eagles

Opponent: Philadelphia Eagles

Location: Ford Field

Week/Date: Week 8, Sunday Oct. 31 at 1:00 p.m.

TV/radio: FOX/97.1 FM

Previous matchup: Sept. 22, 2019: The Lions beat the Eagles 27-24 in Philadelphia.

Why this game matters: Besides the potential impact on the playoff races, Week 8 is a valid point in the schedule to judge how teams are developed after finishing last in 2020.

For the Lions under Dan Campbell, the overall defense (historically bad in 2020), run game and quarterback Jared Goff's command of the offense and performance are key areas to focus on.

For the Eagles, how rapidly Jalen Hurts is developing under Nick Sirianni after making four starts in 2020 is the critical question for the franchise.

As for the playoff race, the Eagles, Lions and every team in the league should remember how Washington won the NFC East and got a home playoff game last year with a 7-9 record. That matters. – Mike O'Hara

Crucial matchup: Eagles cornerback Darius Slay vs. Lions wide receiver Tyrell Williams.

There are a lot of question marks surrounding the Lions' receiver corps heading into the season, but by this game in Week 8, we'll have a pretty good idea what their strengths and weaknesses are. Williams has been one of Goff's favorite targets this offseason, and with a career 16.2 average yards per reception, Williams is expected to be one of Detroit's best deep threats.

Slay, the former Lion, is still one of the better corners in the league. It's expected he'll be tested deep down the field against Williams. – Tim Twentyman

Rookie watch: Wide receiver DeVonta Smith. Winning the Heisman Trophy as the best player in college football in 2020 didn't make Smith the first pass catcher drafted in 2021.

Three others went off the board before the Eagles took Smith 10th overall. Taken ahead of the Alabama star: Tight end/receiver Kyle Pitts (fourth), Ja'Marr Chase (fifth) and Alabama teammate Jaylen Waddle (sixth).

There were questions about Smith's slight build, but no questions about his 2020 stats: 117 catches, 1,856 yards and 23 TDs. Smith could be a game-breaker for the Eagles and Hurts. – Mike O'Hara

WEEK 8 · Sun 10/31 · 1:00 PM EDT


Philadelphia Eagles

Ford Field