The Philadelphia Eagles need a statement win on Oct. 14 against a team that looked much tougher before the season started. But Eagles fans like myself remember that we faced the exact same scenario on Oct. 7. Yet the Birds still lost to a Pittsburgh Steelers team that had struggled in September and stumbled to 1-2 before their bye week.
Now Philadelphia faces virtually the same challenge against the Detroit Lions a week later. If anything, the Lions are even more desperate, as they started 1-3 before their own rough bye week, and need an upset road win over the Eagles to save their season.
Losing to the Steelers was somewhat excusable, since their 1-2 record was kind of a fluke. No matter what their record is, facing the Steelers in Pittsburgh is always a tough task. The Eagles almost pulled it off, however - and would have done it if not for poor late defense and an early goal line fumble by Michael Vick.
The Eagles presumably have it much easier against the 1-3 Lions, who are living down to high expectations, have to visit Philadelphia and aren't a perennial Super Bowl contender like the Steelers. Pittsburgh can overcome having just one win in the opening month, but Detroit's ability to do so is much more questionable.
Yet the Eagles have their own desperation to consider as well. With Philadelphia's bye week approaching, it cannot afford another ugly performance - and two weeks of calls to bench Vick. The Eagles will need a convincing victory at some point this season, so doing it against the struggling Lions offers as good a chance as any.
Detroit is a playoff-caliber team that was supposed to be on the rise, so Philadelphia knows not to take it lightly. However, the Lions have really hit hard times ever since midseason of 2011, when they came back down from a hot first half and then barely made the postseason. That lack of momentum has now carried over into 2012, but the Lions can't let it carry for much longer.
Before the year started, losing back-to-back games to the Steelers and Lions wouldn't have been that surprising or inexcusable. But considering how both Pittsburgh and Detroit have stumbled out of the gate, losing to weaker versions of these teams would send the wrong kind of message about the Eagles.
Even the best teams can lose in Pittsburgh, no matter how the Steelers are performing. However, there's far less of an excuse in losing to a 1-win Lions team trying to save their season. Unless the Eagles want to be backed into a season-saving corner themselves, they will avoid giving the Lions new life like they gave to the Steelers.
Robert Dougherty is a life-long Philadelphia resident who has followed the Eagles since he was eight years old.
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- Sports & Recreation
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- Pittsburgh Steelers
- Detroit Lions
- the Eagles