It’s blasphemous to insinuate the Detroit Lions can beat the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday because of Nick Sirianni’s coaching. After all, he isn’t the one still looking for his first win as a “hired” head coach. That’s Dan Campbell. Regardless, the Lions have a weapon at their disposal this week that the Eagles don’t have. And his name is D’Andre Swift.
The second-year back out of Georgia has showcased flashes of his playmaking ability throughout the season. And that’s despite having a rough start. A groin injury limited Swift’s participation in training camp and preseason, leading to the aforementioned slow start.
However, that now appears to be a thing of the past.
Swift has 653 all-purpose yards and five touchdowns this season. He’s currently the only running back in the NFL with at least 250 yards rushing and 300 yards receiving. He leads the Lions in receiving with 42 receptions for 391 yards and two touchdowns. His biggest play this season came during Sunday’s loss to the Rams. On the opening drive, Swift had a 63-yard reception which resulted in a Lions touchdown.
“He’s a stud,” Lions head coach Dan Campbell told reporters after Sunday’s game. “We’ve got to give him the ball. We can’t get him the ball enough.”
And Campbell is right. They can’t get Swift the ball enough.
As much as the Lions have involved Swift in the passing attack, he’ll be a key factor on the ground vs. the Eagles. He’s been up and down this season so far rushing the ball, but based on the numbers, things could get “spooky” for the Eagles on Halloween. Because Swift is overdue for a breakout game. And it’s likely to come against them.
Against the Bengals, he had 13 carries for 24 yards and a touchdown. And this past Sunday vs. the Rams, he had 13 carries for 48 yards.
Now there’s a reason why those numbers are significant.
The Bengals are one of the best teams in the NFL against the run (94 yards allowed per game), while the Rams are middle of the pack (111), hence Swift’s production vs. both teams.
Swift’s best game on the ground this season was against the Vikings. He had 11 carries for 51 yards and one touchdown. The Vikings are 26th in the league against the run, allowing 128 yards per game.
The Eagles are worse than that, allowing 133 yards per game, ranking them 29th in the NFL. So based on production on both teams, it’s safe to surmise that Swift should be a focal point of the Lions’ offense. He, along with Jamaal Williams, should be able to feast against the Eagles D-Line. And although the Eagles are one of the better teams against the pass, Swift can still be a weapon catching the ball in specific packages.
“Anytime you have a big playmaker like D’Andre Swift, you have to be aware of where he is on the field,” said Eagles coach Nick Sirianni told Detroit media on Wednesday.
Bottom line, D’Andre Swift has emerged as the Detroit Lions’ best player. And if the Lions get their first win of the season on Sunday, expect him to have the game’s best stat line.
Follow Kory Woods on Twitter at KoryEWoods.