Lions-Eagles Preview

Nothing quiets a quarterback controversy quite like wins. But 19

touchdowns and zero interceptions certainly helps, too.

Nick Foles and the Philadelphia Eagles go for their fifth

straight victory Sunday against the NFC North-leading Detroit

Lions, an opponent which could present his toughest starting

assignment yet.

“He’s been a good decision type guy,” Detroit safety Glover Quin

said of Foles. “Not making mistakes and keeping his team in the

game.”

The Lions (7-5) head to Philadelphia after an extended break

following their best defensive effort of the year in a 40-10 win

over Green Bay on Thanksgiving. It was the fewest points they’ve

surrendered in nearly two years, and the Packers’ 126 yards of

offense were the lowest by a Detroit opponent since Cincinnati had

95 on Nov. 22, 1992.

“It’s just a performance we always believed we could have,”

defensive tackle C.J. Mosley said. “… We’ve got to string

performances like this together.”

Detroit has achieved season highs in sacks in consecutive weeks

with seven against the Packers and four against Tampa Bay on Nov.

24.

While the Lions’ pass rush will be on Foles’ mind, the

signal-caller is no longer burdened with an uncertain future.

“Because I’ve been asked the question a thousand times, so I

will say he is the starting quarterback for the next thousand years

here,” Eagles coach Chip Kelly said. “If I’m wrong next week, then

I’m wrong next week.”

The constant questions might not always have easy answers, but

Foles’ play has simplified Kelly’s short-term decision. The

second-year quarterback is 5-1 as a starter this season, and he’s

thrown all but three of the Eagles’ passes over the four-game

winning streak after the team had been regularly shuffling at the

position.

His season passer rating of 125.2 is tops in the NFL. Foles is

one away from tying Peyton Manning’s record of 20 TD passes to

start a season without an interception, which was set this season.

He’s already set an Eagles’ record for most passes without an

interception (233), snapping teammate Michael Vick’s previous mark

of 224 set in 2010.

“I learned through making mistakes and throwing interceptions in

high school, in college, and in practice,” Foles said. “I try to

push it in practice and test my boundaries and see what throws are

capable against certain defenses. It’s through a lot of mistakes

that I’ve learned that.”

The Eagles (7-5) kept pace with Dallas atop the NFC East with

last Sunday’s 24-21 home win over Arizona. Foles tossed three

touchdowns, completing 21 of 34 attempts for 237 yards.

“He’s getting better and better and making good decisions,”

Kelly said.

It’s not just Foles. Philadelphia has turned the ball over once

in the last four games while taking it away nine times. The drastic

swing has corrected its turnover differential to plus-7.

The Eagles will try to win three straight at home in a single

season for the first time since 2010. The victory over Arizona came

a week after they beat Washington to snap a franchise-worst,

10-game home losing streak.

That slide began with a 26-23 loss to the Lions on Oct. 14,

2012, with Matthew Stafford besting Vick and throwing for 311 yards

in his first career matchup with Philadelphia. The Eagles had won

the previous six meetings.

Detroit overcame two more interceptions by Stafford last week,

giving him 10 in five games since Oct. 27 – tied with Cincinnati’s

Andy Dalton for most in the league.

The Lions have committed 17 turnovers during that stretch while

forcing just four, though they have three wins in that span and all

have been against playoff contenders. They have a one-game division

lead on Chicago, which hosts Dallas on Monday night, and own the

tiebreaker over the Bears.

“We just need to take better care of the football,” said

Stafford, facing a Philadelphia defense which has seven INTs in the

last four games. “If we can eliminate that, I feel real good about

where we are.”

Detroit ran for a season-best 241 yards on Thanksgiving, inching

closer to its first division title since 1993 after losing

consecutive games for the first time this year.

“It’s easy when you lose a couple games in a row, particularly

the fashion that we lost, for people to say, ‘Here we go again,'”

coach Jim Schwartz said. “I’m sure there were some people that were

saying that, but they weren’t on our sideline.”

Reggie Bush had 182 total yards last week, including 117 on the

ground, as the Lions improved to 5-0 when he runs for at least

90.

They’re 4-0 against NFC East opponents since the start of

2011.