5 things to watch: Lions vs. Eagles

The Lions are looking to get into the win column for the first time this season today as they host the Philadelphia Eagles at Ford Field.

Here are five things to watch out for in today's NFC matchup:

1. FEED SWIFT

Running back D'Andre Swift is off to a terrific start to his second NFL season, especially with some of the things he's doing in the passing game. Swift is the only player in the league with at least 250 rushing yards and 300 receiving yards. He leads all NFL running backs with 42 receptions and 391 receiving yards, and he's coming off a game last week where he recorded 144 total scrimmage yards and a touchdown in the loss to the Rams.

Swift is quickly becoming Detroit's biggest star on offense, and he's drawn comparisons this week to star running backs Alvin Kamara and Christian McCaffery with the things he can do as a pass catcher. Lions head coach Dan Campbell said the team plans to ramp up his workload moving forward. How big of a factor can Swift be in today's game?

2. CONTAINING HURTS

Eagles second-year quarterback Jalen Hurts can beat teams with both his arm and his legs. He's thrown for 1,716 yards with 10 touchdowns and four interceptions in seven games, but he's also rushed for 361 yards and five touchdowns, with an average of 5.5 yards per carry.

He's very good at buying time with his legs and he's got a nice trio of receivers in DeVonta Smith, Jalen Reagor and Quez Watkins, who all have speed and can make plays down the field.

Lions defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn said the Lions have to be very disciplined with their rush lanes today against Hurts and the Eagles' offense.

"I think the first thing that I'll look at with (Hurts) is just over his career, he's won a lot of games, so there is a winner in that player and I think that's the number one thing you try to judge a quarterback on is wins and losses," Glenn said.

"The second thing is his ability to run with the ball. You just said it, he has over 350 yards rushing, so we have to be able to contain that and make sure that he doesn't get out of the pocket. So, our rush lanes have to be really, really good in that situation. We've already talked about that with our D-line. They understand that and we watched tape on that and we've seen how he's been able to exploit different teams by being able to do that."

3. PHILADELPHIA REUNION

There's a little extra motivation for players and coaches when they return home or play a former team. We saw it and talked about it all last week with quarterback Jared Goff and the Los Angeles Rams.

This week there are a lot of connections between Philadelphia and Detroit.

Former Lions Pro Bowl cornerback Darius Slay returns to Detroit for the first time since the Lions traded him to Philadelphia ahead of the 2020 season.

"I've got a lot of family there," Slay told philadelphiaeagles.com of Detroit. "I built a lot of relationships, so it's a good home visit for me."

Swift is a Philadelphia native, and he talked this week about the special emotions of facing the team he grew up loving. Guard Jonah Jackson grew up in Media, Pennsylvania, which is 13 miles west of Philadelphia.

Guard Halapoulivaati Vaitai was drafted by the Eagles. He started at left tackle in the Eagles' Super Bowl LII victory. Lions running backs coach and assistant head coach Duce Staley spent over two decades with the Eagles as a player and coach.

Emotions will certainly be riding high for these players and coaches today.

View photos from Detroit Lions practice on Friday, Oct. 29, 2021.

4. CHRIS SPIELMAN'S DAY

From 1988 to 1995, Chris Spielman terrorized Lions opponents with his hard-nosed, hard-hitting brand of football from the linebacker position.

A four-time Pro Bowler and one-time All-Pro, Spielman is the Lions' all-time leading tackler (1,138), which includes a single-season high of 195 tackles (124 solo) in 1994.

Spielman currently holds a key role in the organization as the special assistant to owner Sheila Ford Hamp and president Rod Wood.

The team surprised Spielman this week with the news he's being inducted into the Pride of the Lions at Ford Field today at halftime. Spielman is one of the all-time Lions greats and a fan favorite for the way he played the game. He'll no-doubt get a lot of love from the Lions faithful at halftime today.

5. END THE STREAK

Detroit is 0-7, and as the NFL's only winless team, they need a victory in a big way. Detroit's a better football team than their record indicates. They've played everyone on their schedule tough, with the exception of Cincinnati Week 6. They took Baltimore and Minnesota to the very end with those teams needing long field goals to beat Detroit, and in Baltimore's case, it was an NFL record 66 yarder. They played the Rams tough last week and had a chance to win that game in the final minutes.

Detroit's got to find a way to make those few plays here and there that secure the victory. With the bye week on the schedule next, the Lions certainly don't want the bad taste of 0-8 for an entire week off.

"It would mean everything, look, particularly going into a bye, too," head coach Dan Campbell said this week. "Any time it would be good, but I think just to – man, you end on a right note and we get those guys, get their bodies back a little bit and then you come back in, you almost feel like you're starting over somewhat.

"Now, you're continuing the progress you had, but now it's a, 'We've turned the corner here and now we're ready to go. We got our first win under our belt.'"

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