Skip to main content

O'Hara's Week 1 preview: Lions looking for redemption after last year's loss to Eagles

From a player's standpoint, a review of the Detroit Lions' 44-6 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 8 of last season was short and not very sweet.

"Watching film ... it's hard watching," said defensive lineman Charles Harris. "With that, you've got to learn from your mistakes -- understand we're a different team, different schemes.

"We're a lot better team."

The review from head coach Dan Campbell is more detailed, and with a warning for the rematch in the opening game of the regular season at Ford Field Sunday afternoon.

"We haven't hid from it," Campbell said. "It was embarrassing. It was an embarrassing loss.

"They let us have it. They rubbed our nose in it. They came in, and everything they wanted to do, they did it -- times 10. We've acknowledged that. We understand that."

And what the Lions want to do when they face the Eagles in the regular season opener at Ford Field Sunday is to prove that the margin of victory in last year's game was a fluke.

The Eagles were the better team last year by a comfortable margin, but not 38 points better. They are still the better team, at least on paper.

Both teams improved their rosters in the offseason – the Eagles to move up from the 9-8 record that got them a wild-card berth in the NFC playoffs, and the Lions to move up from a 3-13-1 record to play meaningful games in December.

Following are three things the Lions need to do to reverse the outcome of last year's game, what the start of the 2022 season means to wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown compared to last year as a rookie and my pick for Sunday.

Three keys for Lions:

1. Run game: The Eagles dominated on both sides last year. They ran for 236 yards and four TDs. The Lions managed just 57 yards on 18 carries. Running back D’Andre Swift was held to 27 yards on 12 carries, with a long run of seven yards.

2. Pass protection: The Lions need to reverse what happened last season and protect quarterback Jared Goff and pressure Eagles QB Jalen Hurts.

The Eagles had six sacks and 12 quarterback hits. The Lions were shut out – no sacks, no quarterback hits.

Goff is an accurate passer. When given time, he can do some damage to a secondary, especially with the weapons the Lions have put together.

On the Eagles' side, Hurts' mobility makes him dangerous when he's on the run. Keeping him in the pocket would work to the Lions' advantage. 

3. Home-field advantage: The Lions showed signs at the end of last season that playing at Ford Field might give them an advantage – something they've failed to do in recent seasons. The Lions won their last three home games at Ford Field.

View photos of the starters for the Philadelphia Eagles.

Rookie review: St. Brown's stature has changed dramatically from the opening game of last season to this year. He was a rookie hoping to get playing time a year ago. Now he's a go-to receiver for Goff, coming off a season with 90 catches for 912 yards and five TDs.

"It's a little different," St. Brown said of how things have changed in a year. "Last year it was my first game (in the NFL). I didn't know what to expect. I was out there, a young guy, playing ball.

"Things haven't changed much. It's still football. I still have to go out there and play."

Lions-Eagles pick: The Eagles are favored by four points for good reasons. They made the playoffs with a 9-8 record last season, and they've strengthened the roster in a big way to overtake the Cowboys for the NFC East title.

There are no guarantees, especially in Week 1. A good example of that was last year's Vikings-Bengals game. Playing at home, and coming off a 4-12 record in 2020, the Bengals were three-point underdogs, They won, 27-24, in overtime.

My picks: Lions 27, Eagles 26.

Related Content