Why this is their biggest game of the year

Detroit (1-3) at Eagles (3-2), Sunday, 1 p.m., Lincoln Financial Field

The Eagles' loss at Pittsburgh dropped them into a tie for first place in the NFC East with the New York Giants. They need to beat the Lions to maintain at least a share of the division lead and establish some momentum heading into their regular-season open week. They don't want go into the open week with a two-game losing streak. A victory over the Lions would also give the Eagles a 3-0 record at the Linc, equaling their win total there all of last season.

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Evaluating the Eagles

(Observations from their 16-14 loss at Pittsburgh)

Safety Colt Anderson: Couldn't save the special teams.

Defensive end Jason Babin: No sacks in three of last four games.

Cornerback Brandon Boykin: Steelers didn't eat him up until the end.

Punter Mat McBrier: Is it too late to re-sign Chas Henry?

Running back LeSean McCoy: Should have gotten more carries.

Quarterback Michael Vick: Must find a cure for his fumble-itis.

Evaluating their defensive line

The Eagles claim to have a lot of depth and talent on their front four, but the unit has not made much of an impact lately. It failed to get a sack for the second straight game, despite the presence of pass-rushing specialists Babin and defensive end Trent Cole. Defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins played well, but the Eagles struggled to contain running back Rashard Mendenhall, who rushed for 81 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries (5.8 yards per carry).

3-and-out with Andy Reid

(Quotes provided by the team)

Q: What can you do to cut down on the turnovers?

A: Turnovers are something that you have to focus in on at practice. You have to make sure that you are aware of that during the game, that your ball security is tight.

Q: Is Michael Vick's protective vest hindering his ability to hold onto the ball?

A: I looked at that. I don't think it is. I don't think that's the case, but I did look at that.

Q: What have you learned about your team after five games?

A: I like the grit of this football team. I like the toughness of this football team. There's some fundamental things we have to get taken care of. But I like the makeup of this football team. We've got skill and good coaches and that combination is a good thing. That part I know after these five games.

David Weinberg, 609-272-7186


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