By Ed Benkin
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Eagles are 7-5, coming off a huge victory, and in the thick of a division title race. Sunday’s opponent can relate.
The Eagles will host the 7-5 Lions at Lincoln Financial Field. Detroit is flying high after blowing out division-rival Green Bay in its last outing. The Lions are battling with the Packers and Bears for first place in the NFC North. The Eagles are tied with the Cowboys for first place in the NFC East.
The stakes will be high on Sunday. With such a critical contest on the horizon, Chip Kelly isn’t worried about his players being distracted by looking ahead in the final month of the season.
“We meet every week at the beginning of the week and talk to them about the plan for the week and that’s it,” said Kelly. “That’s what we’ve done since day one here and I think they understand that. We have a bunch of guys that understand the game and have been around it for a long time.”
The Eagles will face a Lions defense with players that are considered by some to be dirty. However, Jason Kelce isn’t preparing any differently this week for the likes of Ndamukong Suh and the rest of the Detroit defense.
“That means absolutely nothing to me,” Kelce said. “I think that’s a big thing played out in the media for whatever reason. You don’t focus on a type of dirty player. All I focus on is how a guy plays football and what’s going to help me to get the job done.”
Nick Foles also isn’t worried about being the victim of any dirty play by the Lions. The Eagles quarterback believes his offensive line will be up to the task of protecting him and will approach the game the same way as any other week.
“I know they’ve had that reputation in the past,” said Foles. “But I can’t worry about that. I’ve got to continue to play the game. I’m always aware of where guys are and I’ve just got to be smart.”
While the Detroit defense presents a unique challenge to Foles and his teammates, the Eagles defense will have its hands full with the Lions high-powered offense. Linebacker Trent Cole says getting pressure on Quarterback Matthew Stafford will be the key to success on Sunday.
“We have to get to the quarterback,” Cole said. “We have to cause some kind of pressure. We’ll do everything we can do to get to him.”
The two teams met last season in South Philadelphia, with the Lions pulling out a 26-23 victory.