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O'HARA'S FINAL THOUGHTS: Hyder's hitting streak

The Tigers' season is over, but there is a baseball analogy that applies to Detroit Lions defensive end Kerry Hyder.

Hyder is on a four-game hitting streak. He has five sacks, and at least one sack in each of the first four games. He led off with two sacks in the opener against the Colts and has followed that with a sack in each of the last three games.

With Ziggy Ansah out with an ankle injury since the first quarter of Game 2, Hyder has given the Lions their only consistent pass rush.  Wherever it comes from, the Lions need to get pressure on Eagles rookie quarterback Carson Wentz to break his rhythm.

By any standard, Hyder's leap from the Lions' practice squad last year to being one of the league leaders in sacks this year is one of the biggest surprises of the season.

Hyder's five sacks had him second in the league going into Week 5. Von Miller of the Broncos was No. 1 with 5.5. Calais Campbell and Markus Golden moved into the league lead with six sacks after getting two for the Cardinals in their victory over the 49ers Thursday night.

The obvious question is whether Hyder can be a pass-rush force for the long haul, or if he is enjoying the equivalent of one of the hitting streaks that happen every year in baseball. Mr. April turns into Mr. Maybe a month later – and fades entirely by the end of the season.

Head coach Jim Caldwell did not attempt to predict the future for Hyder when presented with the hitting-streak analogy this week.

"I'm not a soothsayer or a prognosticator, or anything of that nature," Caldwell said. "I'll leave that up to you guys.

"If you look at what he has just from his resolve, dedication to getting better and better and his character – you look at all those things plus the talent he has. He uses it to his fullest.

"I wouldn't bet against him."

Turnaround: The Lions-Eagles matchup is a prime example of how fast things change from one season to another in the NFL.

On Thanksgiving Day of last year, the Lions were rising from a 1-7 start while the Eagles were starting to sink. The result: a 45-14 victory for the Lions.

A year later, the Eagles have a new coaching staff, a new starting quarterback in rookie Carson Wentz, and a 3-0 start. The Lions are 1-3 and hoping to start a winning streak of their own.

Philly D: While Wentz deserves credit for the 3-0 start, the Lions have to contend with a defense that is dramatically better than a year ago in almost every category.

The Eagles were 30th overall last year, 32nd against the run, 28th against the pass and 25th in sacks per play, which is one of the key indicators of a defense's playmaking ability.

Through three games the Eagles are third overall, third against the run, sixth against the pass and second in sacks per play. They rank in the top seven of 10 key defensive categories.

Philly playtime: The Lions are going to have to reverse possession time, something the Eagles have dominated in their first three games.

Philly's offense has been on the field for 202 plays to only 158 for its defense. That's an average of 67.3 plays per game for the offense, 52.7 for the defense, and a differential of 14.6 plays per game in favor of the defense.

Points/pick: Philly's points differential of plus 65 is the highest in the league, and is an average of 21.7 per game.

Despite the woes of a three-game losing streak, the Lions' differential is only minus seven.

Of the 11 teams that are 1-3, San Diego is the only one with a positive points differential, at plus 13. Of the other 10, the Lions' minus seven differential is the smallest.

My pick: My pick from Friday of Eagles 24, Lions 23 stands. The score has been close in all four games, but they haven't shown that they can win.

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