It is no surprise that, even after the Seattle Seahawks pull off their biggest win in recent memory against the New England Patriots, there are still doubts surrounding the team. I get it. It takes more than one big win to prove that a squad like this is for real.
The Philadelphia Eagles come to town on Sunday to challenge the Seahawks in the 2016 DVOA Bowl. Philadelphia is ranked first overall in the metric, while Seattle is slotted right behind them. The winner of this contest will take over the mantle of DVOA front-runners and you know that is a title that the Seahawks will do their darnedest to hold on to.
Despite their top DVOA ranking, the Eagles seem to be a suspect and inconsistent team. Their defense and special teams carry their grade while an elite offensive line boosts their ground game. However they still seem to be vulnerable on the offensive side of the ball.
The Seahawks are favored by 6.5 points on Sunday, a deceptive and dangerous number. Flying high off of their victory in Foxboro, Seattle needs to be at the top of their game to sneak away with another win against Philly. Here are the biggest keys to the Seahawks putting another W on their schedule:
Make Carson Wentz look like a rookie
This year’s crop of rookie quarterbacks has been pretty impressive, but it has been a bit of an inverse of what many expected. A lot of people thought that Jared Goff was the polished prospect taken first overall while Wentz was a project to sit behind Sam Bradford for a year while developing. Instead, Wentz has led the Eagles to a 5-4 record while making some big throws along the way.
Fortunately for Seattle, Wentz has faded a bit after a hot start, leaning on his running game heavily. There’s nothing wrong with this, as Wentz has stats similar to those of Russell Wilson’s rookie year.
Wentz hasn’t faced a defense remotely close to the level of the Seahawks. Doug Pederson is going to try to ease his rookie signal caller into a rhythm against an elite defense. If Seattle wants to win, they’ll have to make sure that Wentz doesn’t get into a groove.
Hold up in the trenches
Like I mentioned above, the Eagles have an elite offensive line. This doesn’t bode well for the Seahawks, who are still missing Michael Bennett for a couple more weeks. The only elite defensive lines, though, that Philadelphia has faced, reside in Metlife Stadium, and the Eagles struggled mightily against both. The Giants came out on top 28-23 in New Jersey, while the Jets held Philly to a mere 14 points in a loss.
If Seattle can disrupt the Eagles’ line, their rushing attack can stall and prevent Wentz and company from putting up many points.
On the flip side, the Eagles have one of the most terrifying defensive lines that the Seahawks have faced. Fletcher Cox, Brandon Graham, Connor Barwin, and Bennie Logan are all ridiculous. Absolutely ridiculous. This will be a much stiffer test for Seattle than New England could have hoped to be. If the Seahawks want to win this game, they will have to find a way of mitigating Philadelphia’s pass rush and finding success through the air, as I won’t be surprised if yards on the ground are hard to come by, despite the return of Thomas Rawls.
Keep the momentum rolling
The hype surrounding this Seattle team blew up after beating New England on the road on a short week. They have been elevated into the elite tier of NFL teams and they’re going to need to live up to the billing.
This crew is made up of seasoned veterans. They’ve been in this situation before. I don’t expect them to rest on their laurels and assume this will be an easy victory, as they understand football better than you or I ever will.
If Darrell Bevell can continue to find ways to attack defenses that showcase Russell Wilson’s improving health, I don’t doubt that the Seahawks will win this game. They just need to stay in their groove and get after it.
Last week was a huge win for Seattle. Let’s see if they can build on it on Sunday.
Seahawks vs. Eagles Preview
Some video and comparison between the Philadelphia Eagles and Seattle Seahawks headed into the game this weekend.Posted by Field Gulls: For Seattle Seahawks News and Analysis on Friday, November 18, 2016
Kam Chancellor - The Difference
Kam Chancellor was a BIG difference in the game against the Patriots. That wasn't the first time and probably won't be the last. :) #bambam #deathbackerPosted by Field Gulls: For Seattle Seahawks News and Analysis on Thursday, November 17, 2016