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Lions’ Guarantee Incites The Eagles Lomas Brown Assures A Win; Philadelphia Says ‘We’ll See’

Terry Egan Dallas Morning News

They are a pair of 10-6 teams. Each finished second in its division. Yet the Detroit Lions, on the road today to face the Philadelphia Eagles in an NFL wild-card game, are three-point favorites. The oddsmakers are not the only ones who expect the Lions to beat the Eagles at Veterans Stadium today.

“Any oddsmaker who doesn’t pick us is doing himself a disservice,” Lions’ tackle Lomas Brown told reporters. “There is no question in my mind that we’re going to win this game. It’s just a matter of how much we are going to win by.”

There you have it, a guarantee.

Brown said he wasn’t being boastful, rather confident. He said he has no doubt, “We’re going to beat this team. We have an offense that nobody can stop. I don’t think Philly can stop us. Not if we play the way we’ve played the last seven weeks.”

The last seven weeks, the Lions were unbeatable as they marched into the playoffs. They have the NFL’s top-rated offense, with excellent skill-position players in left-handed quarterback Scott Mitchell (346 of 583 for 4,338 yards and 32 touchdowns), running back Barry Sanders (1,500 yards) and wide receivers Herman Moore and Brett Perriman, who combined for 231 catches for 3,174 yards.

Those are gaudy numbers, and no wonder Brown is confident.

But as Eagles coach Ray Rhodes said, “You don’t do that.” You don’t guarantee victory. It’s fun for the fans. The media loves it. But it’s unprofessional, Rhodes said.

So the Eagles are seething. Some silently, some aloud.

There was quarterback Rodney Peete, sitting at his locker stall this week. He wore a smile, but a forced smile, a phony smile. A smile that said, “I’d like to tell you what I really think, but not yet.”

He settled for this:

“That’s uncharacteristic for Lomas. He must be feeling very confident. The guy said they’d bury us, that the game would be over in the first quarter. Everybody looks at it as a reflection of they don’t respect us. Yes, they’ve been a very hot team lately, but all that changes in the playoffs.

“All I’ll guarantee is that we’ll show up. We’ll fight from the first minute and fight for 60 minutes.”

Rhodes tried to keep his distance from the hubbub. But he couldn’t. Not completely.

“It made the bulletin board,” Rhodes said.

He was prodded for more.

“The only thing guaranteed is death,” Rhodes said. “Let’s not be talking about guarantees. You play the game on the field, not in newspapers. You just don’t do (what Brown did).”

Eagles tight end Jimmy Johnson, a former teammate of Brown’s, said that gives the Philadelphia defense a little extra incentive to shut down Brown and the Lions. As for his team having no chance, well, “I’m coming to play, anyway,” Johnson said. “His statement had no effect on how I will approach the game.”

But Johnson will call his former teammate and ask, “Lomas, what was on your mind?”

Eagles’ defensive end Mike Mamula called Brown’s statements “obnoxious. But we’ll go about our business the same. Who cares what people say?”

Still, Mamula was agitated when he talked about Brown, so it’s safe to say the Eagles care what people say.

Today they get the chance to make Brown eat his words.

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