The 2022-2023 NFL season is here, and the Philadelphia Eagles will take on their first opponent, the Detroit Lions, at Ford Field.
The Lions are coming off a 3-13-1 season, hoping they will see signs of improvement after a number of free agency additions. Meanwhile, the Eagles are looking to advance to the playoffs again, this time making it even further with an improved roster.
After playing each other in 2021 with the Detroit Lions falling to a 44-6 defeat, how will things pan out this season?
EAGLES VS. LIONS
Detroit’s biggest offseason move was the addition of wide receiver Jameson Williams. The Lions moved up in the 2022 NFL Draft to select him, but he won’t be meeting the Eagles this season. Williams tore his ACL, and will not see any playing time until mid-season, adding some disappointment to Week 1.
What the Lions do have though, is youth. And their youthful players aren’t half bad. Center Frank Ragnow is returning after missing the majority of last year’s season with a toe injury. He was ranked No. 2 among centers in his previous two seasons and is only 26 years old.
Their offense includes running back D’Andre Swift, wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown, and T.J. Hockenson. Swift finished last season with 617 rushing yards, St. Brown is coming off a remarkable rookie season, and Hockenson was selected for the Pro Bowl in 2020.
As for the defense, both right and left tackles, Penei Sewell and Taylor Decker are well above average. Sewell had a successful training camp this season, and Decker’s pass blocking game was in the top-10 in 2021.
The Eagles are coming into 2022 with a healthy mix of veteran presence and new additions. Quarterback Jalen Hurts has made massive improvements, particularly to his passing game this offseason. If Hurts has the ability to accurately throw to his receiving corps, he will be a dual-threat this season — something most quarterbacks can’t say.
Hurts’ receivers include newcomer A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith, who have the best offensive line in the league protecting them. The Eagles’ O-line is a powerhouse, and there’s very little negativity that any opposing team can project on them.
As for Philadelphia’s defense, they have seen the most changes. A plethora of veterans such as Brandon Graham, Fletcher Cox, and Darius Slay will serve as mentors for those opposite of them — Josh Sweat, Javon Hargrave, and James Bradberry. The linebacker position has also seen massive upgrades including Haason Reddick and Kyzir White. Reddick had a breakout year in 2020, completing 12.5 sacks and 15 tackles for a loss; White was his team’s leading tackler in 2021 with 144.
WEEK 1 PREDICTIONS
The Eagles are simply better on paper. And whether that translates to the field or not is something fans will have to watch for.
Last year’s game against the Lions is where Philadelphia found their footing in the rush game. They did it once, and hopefully they can do it again. In 2021, the Eagles rushed for an average of 159.7 yards per game, ranking No. 1 in the league. On the flip side, the Lions allowed 135.1 yards per game, ranking 28th last season in rush defense.
Detroit also ranked among the worst in the league in pass defense, allowing 244.7 yards per game. Unfortunately, their defense hasn’t drastically changed in the offseason, but Jalen Hurts’ arm has.
This week’s point spread has Philadelphia at -3.5. My prediction is that the Eagles take the win in Michigan, 31-17. The victory will allow Philadelphia to return home for their first home (primetime) game with confidence, as they prepare for (do I dare say?) a Super Bowl run.
Sunday’s game is already sold out, with only standing room tickets remaining. The game begins at 1 PM.