Philadelphia Eagles (4-6 SU, 4-6 ATS) vs. Detroit Lions (3-7 SU, 3-7 ATS)
NFL Week 12
Date/Time: Thursday, November 26, 2015 at 12:30PM EST
Where: Ford Field, Detroit, Michigan
by Scott, NFL Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: PHI -1/DET +1
Over/Under Total: 46
The Philadelphia Eagles come to Ford Field to face the Detroit Lions on Thanksgiving Day. Detroit has given more credence to this game by scoring consecutive wins after a ghastly 1-7 start. By beating Green Bay and Oakland, 18-13, on Sunday, they are on a nice little roll and look to make it three in a row against the Eagles. Philly had a chance to get into a tie for first in the NFC East on Sunday, but instead, they got hammered at home by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 45-17.
Betting on the Eagles has been painful at times this season. They are really hard to get a read on, with results seeming to have little connection to common sense. To get hammered by 28 points at home by Tampa is a bitter pill to swallow for a team that could have really used a win. The season began awfully for the Eagles, but 3 wins in 4 games restored some confidence. It looked like they were ready to come around just in time for the second half in the season. In a division with no one doing well, they looked to be a good candidate for a second-half surge. But after two straight losses, that doesnt seem to be in the cards. Be that as it may, they are still squarely in the running in the NFC East and its there for the taking in the event that they get their act together.
The Eagles lost to Tampa at home by 28theres only so much you can say to sugar-coat that. But Tampa is a rising commodity, with Jameis Winston starting to shine. He threw 5 TDs against this Eagles D. And the defense didnt exactly shine in giving up the most yardage to any running back in the NFL this season, with Doug Martin going for 235 yards. Again, this was at home in a game they needed to win. Where was the heightened sense of urgency?
By the same token, Philly was without starting quarterback Sam Bradford and leading rusher Ryan Mathews. Having Mark Sanchez behind center is a tough spot for a team to be in. Bradford was listed as doubtful for this game with Mathews questionable. Sanchez threw three picks against Tampa, but in a short term window, maybe he can find some foothold with this offense. He was 26-for-41 with 261 yards, so he was able to move the offense and with DeMarco Murray chipping in more, they could be OK in the short-term. At the end of the day, its been a rough season for the Eagles, with the offseason revamping not taking hold and injuries now threatening to derail the season for good.
The Eagles face a tricky road spot on Thanksgiving with a now-surging Detroit Lions. Not that the Lions are exactly tearing it up, becoming the first team in NFL history to win consecutive games while scoring 18 points each game. But the bye week, where the axe fell on some front office figureheads, did this team some good. No one expected them to go into Lambeau sand record their first win there in nearly a quarter-century. And in beating the Raiders, they effectively shut down all the players who had made Oakland one of the leagues rising forces this season.
The Detroit offense remains a problem area for this team, despite ample talent that would suggest otherwise. Since the first game of the season where they went on a first-half spurt against San Diego, this offense has been stuck in the mud. Only once since week one have they put up in excess of 20 points. With a slinger like Matthew Stafford and talented ball-catchers like Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate, one would expect more. But they are handcuffed by an offensive line that cant seem to get much right. They are not resistant against the pass-rush, while not opening holes for the run-game, rendering Detroits offense very one-dimensional.
But you cant get too picky about how their last two wins came about. After all, they were 1-7 and looking like the worst team in the NFL after getting walloped at home by Kansas City before the bye. Winning these games does in fact show some character and grit on this squad. The defense has been playing well, giving up 26 points in their last two games. In the 4 games before the bye, they had allowed 149 points. And now the defense is actually playing pretty well and will look for that continue on Thanksgiving.
At first glance you see a 4-6 team taking on a 3-7 team, but its the team with the worse record that is actually showing good momentum. The personnel issues are going to be tough for Philly to overcome. But again, when dealing with the Eagles, one gets the feeling that it comes down to the luck of the draw. Who knows what youre getting week to week with this bunch?
This amounts to a very difficult selection. The Eagles have something substantive to play for, but its iffy how capable they are to actually do something about it. Detroit, meanwhile, has shown some moxie in battling back from a 1-7 start with two straight wins. But a lot of teams with awful records have gone on brief surges before, only to come down to earth quickly. In other words, Detroits two wins hardly makes them a bankable commodity. At the same time, I see the Detroit defense giving the Eagles enough problems to keep them off-key for long stretches of the game, escaping with the close win.
Scott’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Im betting on the Detroit Lions plus one point.
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