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Season Preview: Thanksgiving In Detroit


BirdDay was such a rousing success in 2014 that the league gifted Eagles fans another Thanksgiving by the TV. But this time it'll be the early game as the Eagles take on a Detroit Lions team that is looking to improve on its crushing playoff loss in the Wild Card round last season.

The last time these two teams met, of course, was one of the most memorable games in recent Eagles history when the good guys ran over the visiting Lions 34-20 in blizzard-like conditions in what became known as the Snow Bowl.

But much has changed since then and much will surely change between now and Thanksgiving. What we expect, though, is that the Lions will still run their offense through Calvin Johnson, putting Byron Maxwell back on high alert (welcome to life as a No. 1 cornerback).

The Lions visited the Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field in a battle of teams looking to make a playoff push in December ...

On the other side of the ball, the new-look interior of the Eagles' offensive line will breathe a collective sigh of relief knowing they'll have to line up against neither Ndamukong Suh nor Nick Fairley, who both departed via free agency. Of course, Haloti Ngata is no walk in the park.

The Lions featured the league's very best run defense in 2014, thanks in large part to Suh and Fairley, but they'll have their sights set on stopping DeMarco Murray, Ryan Mathews, Darren Sproles and the dynamic Eagles' rushing attack. That will be the matchup to watch as the two sides go to battle on a short week.

The Eagles' defensive line will look to cook up some stuffing of its own against a Lions offense that finished 29th in rushing yards per play in 2014 (3.6 yards per carry). Gone is Reggie Bush, but former Eagle Joique Bell is a capable runner in his own right. The Lions used their first two picks in the NFL Draft to help fortify the ground game by selecting guard Laken Tomlinson in the first round and then all-purpose dynamo back Ameer Abdullah in the second round.

But matchups aside, this game is all about gathering around with family and watching two potential playoff teams face off. And afterwards, you can root against the Cowboys before succumbing to the food-coma nap. !

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