Detroit Lions vs. Philadelphia Eagles: 3 key matchups for Week 1
By Zach Payne
Matchup 3: Lions CB Jeff Okudah vs. Eagles WR Devonta Smith
Everyone that has spent even a little bit of time following the Lions over the last 12 months is aware of the Jeff Okudah story. In Week 1 last year, hoping to start off on the right foot after a brutal rookie year, Okudah blew out his Achilles and missed the entirety of the 2021 season.
This year, it’s the same script, Okudah is getting another shot to put his career back on track. He worked his tail off to be ready for the start of camp, then he battled for a starting job at outside corner. Now it’s the next phase, he needs to put together a strong opening act for this season. With Amani Oruwariye likely handling the Eagles’ No. 1 receiver A.J. Brown, Okudah will be tasked with facing second-year wideout Devonta Smith.
Smith had a strong rookie season in 2021, finishing fourth among rookies in receiving yards (916), sixth in receptions (64), fifth in targets (104), and tied for fourth in touchdowns (five). Smith is looking to fully breakout this season. With Brown being brought in by the Eagles to compliment him and take the spotlight off him, he will have ample opportunity to take advantage of more favorable matchups.
For Okudah, this game is all about confidence. If he can have a good first game of the year, the mental part of the game will start clicking and his talent can come out. While one game isn’t going to fully define 2022 for Okudah, it would be nice for him to start his third season on the right foot.