Desperation is a great motivating force, and the Detroit Lions should be as motivated as possible for today's game against the Philadelphia Eagles.
The circumstances are favorable for the Lions to get their first win of the season and break an 11-game losing streak that includes an 0-7 start to this season and four losses to close out 2020.
With a 2-5 won-loss record, the Eagles are one of the lesser opponents the Lions have faced in a difficult schedule.
Having their bye week after today's game adds incentive for the Lions. A win would let them enjoy the bye week without carrying the weight of the losing streak.
"It would be big," said head coach Dan Campbell. "Knowing that you got a win, and now we're going to be able to heal up and rest and kind of reset our clock. get everything back mentally, physically and emotionally.
"You're turning over a new leaf. You evaluate what you're doing and where you're going. Certainly, it would be big.
"But this is not some easy opponent. They can rush the quarterback, and their quarterback (Jalen Hurts) is dangerous if you let him out of the pocket."
Campbell should have no concern about his players taking anyone for granted. They're hungry for a win.
"We need one," said linebacker Alex Anzalone, a team captain and a rising force on the defense.
"We're desperate for one. Whatever way we can get it, we've got to do it. Every week is as big as the last when you're 0-7."
Running backs/running game: It's not just what the running game produces that's most important for the Lions. It's what the running backs produce, rushing and receiving combined.
Swift has taken a bigger load in the last four games. He's played 52, 50, 49 and 52 snaps. Williams has gotten 21, 22, 19 and 20.
Swift gets more snaps because of his role in the passing game, where he excels. For the season, Swift has 262 yards rushing and 391 receiving for 653 yards from scrimmage.
Williams has 312 rushing and 99 receiving, for 411 from scrimmage.
That's 1,064 yards from scrimmage combined in seven games
"Both of those guys can hurt you on the ground and in the air," said assistant head coach/running backs coach Duce Staley. "We want that balance between the two. That's something I strive for each and every week."
Power point: At 5-9 and 211 pounds, Swift is deceptively strong. He can run away from defenders, as he did on his 63-yard run on a screen pass for the Lions' first TD in last week's loss to the Rams.
He can also run over them.
"His power in space is sneaky," said offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn. "He breaks tackles. He runs people over, and they don't get up.
"For a back his size, to be able to do that and play with that leverage and then have the speed to go the distance, it's pretty special."
QB battle: For a few reasons, Jared Goff should outplay Jalen Hurts.
One advantage for Goff should be his experience. Hurts has made 11 NFL starts. Goff has made 76.
Another is how the Raiders' Derek Carr completed 31 of 34 passes in last week's win over the Eagles. When that stat was mentioned, Lynn responded with one word: "Nice." And a smile.
And ESPN's Monday Night TV analyst Louis Riddick predicted that Goff will outplay Hurts because of the way the Eagles' play their defense. What Riddick says is good enough for me.
Streaks: The Lions are 0-7 this year, and they've lost seven straight home games. Their last win at Ford Field was 30-27 over the Washington Football Team in Week 10 of last season.
Time to end two streaks on one day.
Eagles' loss: Hurts expected the worst when running back Miles Sanders went out of last week's game with an ankle injury, and it looks like he might be right. Sanders has been put on injured reserve.
Sanders had rushed for 300 yards, with an average of 4.8 yards per carry.
Lions-Eagles breakdown: I can make a case for both teams to win or lose this game. The Eagles have a better record – 2-5 vs. 0-7 for the Lions. They've scored more points – 158-128 – and allowed fewer – 185-200.
There has been an increasing sense of urgency with the Lions of late to end the losing streak. The longer it lasts, the heavier the weight gets. This is the week to end it.
Pick: Lions 26, Eagles 16.