Eagle eye view on the enemy: Seattle Seahawks
3 December 2017 Opinion
Eagles find themselves in the national spotlight once again. This time they are taking their talents to Seattle with a chance to clinch the NFC East division in primetime.
Let’s take a look at the rosters for this SNF matchup:
Carson Wentz has shocked the league with his growth in his sophomore season. With every passing game, his doubters seem to be apologizing or flat out quiet. Wentz proves he is deadly in all phases of Pederson’s offense but especially breaks the confidence of defense on third downs. With a weakened secondary, the ‘Legion of Boom’ doesn’t have the same impact as in years past; however; they do have a solid defense Wentz was sure to prepare for.
Russell Wilson is everything to the Seahawks’ offense. Really. His escapability is probably the most frustrating thing for defenses to handle but he is also very smart about getting the ball out of his hands when pressure is coming. Most quarterbacks would be sacked for a loss on plays but Wilson is such an intelligent and athletic talent that he doesn’t give up those big plays to defenses often. Wilson proves he doesn’t need a dominant offensive line or running back to make things happen and that’s why he is one of the best in the league.
This game may be the most adversity the Eagles offensive line has faced so far this season. The Seahawks’ stadium will be loud and overwhelming for the primetime matchup and it will require a lot of discipline and silence counts to get plays off. Big V struggled a little more than usual against the Bears last week but overall, he played a great game. It will be a challenge to run the ball on the defensive front of the Seahawks but if anyone can create lanes in this league, it is the Eagles offensive line.
The Seahawks offensive line is one of the weaker links of the roster. Starting RG Oday Aboushi has already been ruled out for Sunday’s game leaving rookie Ethan Pocic to fill in at the position. This is good news for a stout Eagles defensive line. The only true challenge is a banged up Duane Brown, who joined the Seahawks at the trade deadline from the Texans. Overall, the Eagles only need to be concerned when Russell Wilson has the ball in the backfield. Eliminating his ability to escape will be a huge task but one I believe Jim Schwartz has properly prepared his guys for.
The Eagles defensive rotation is looking for respect at this point. They are so rarely mentioned when it comes to why the Eagles are having success. They are the number one rushing defense. With the task of taking down Wilson, the DL will no doubt be flying into the backfield early and often taking down any running back who dares running against them.
Seahawks have 29 sacks so far this season with Michael Bennett leading the pack at 7.5 sacks total. With guys like Bobby Wagner, Frank Clark and Sheldon Richardson alongside Bennett, Wentz will most certainly feel pressure and Eagles running backs may initially struggle to run between the tackles.
Ronald Darby will be starting his third game since coming back from an ankle injury that sidelined him early on this season. Darby is already a critical playmaker on how this defense can operate. It is evident that Schwartz trusts him. You can find Darby on an island in coverage eliminating a player like Dez Bryant from getting involved. Having a corner capable of doing this is dynamic. It really allow more of the secondary to cover the field and will limit Wilson’s options. In doing this, Eagles defense will force a quarterback to hold the ball longer than he might like or to make a critical mistake leading to a turnover.
The Seahawks secondary is injured. That is putting it nicely with Richard Sherman and now Kam Chancellor out for the remainder of the season. Two pro-bowl talents are hard to replace. Byron Maxwell returned to Seattle to re-join the Seahawks after Sherman went down. Maxwell and Jeremy Lane are two of the more known CBs on the roster at this point with a promising rookie Shaquill Griffin starting as well. The biggest threat in the secondary Wentz will need to account for is Earl Thomas at safety. Overall, Wentz made Denver’s ‘no fly zone’ look like a dang airport so the defense formerly known as the Legion of Boom may just be the Legion of Bust on primetime Sunday night.
I want to see Nelson Agholor redeem himself from last season’s game against the Seahawks. He made some bone-headed mistakes and proved this season, he is a new player. Alshon Jeffery just got a huge surge of confidence signing a 4-year contract extension with the birds on Saturday and will likely continue to show signs of increased chemistry with Wentz. Overall, I see many playmakers having a good game Sunday night but the one thing that Seahawks struggle against is speed. I will be looking for Mack Hollins and Torrey Smith to be involved in creating space for Wentz to work some wonders.
The Seahawks have a stable of running backs to work with but none have really taken over a game this season. They are serviceable but nothing extraordinary. The true test of this offense is their WR corps. Doug Baldwin, Paul Richardson and Tyler Lockett are versatile wide receivers who never give up on a play because they know who their quarterback is. They continue to work the field as Russell Wilson scrambles and a lot of their big plays have come in those circumstances. Eagles secondary will need to be disciplined.
There is not much I can say about the Eagles that you haven’t already seen with your own eyes. They’ve got playmakers in every phase and aspect of the game. Seahawks lack this and are hurting right now. I believe Pederson will use their weaknesses and sometimes their own strengths against them to dominate and clinch the division tonight. Keeping Wilson off the field will be important since he never surrenders. As Wentz continues his campaign to be the league’s MVP, the running game will open up for him to control the clock and wear down the Seahawks defensive unit for an Eagles win.