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Seahawks-Eagles: Does a win give Russell Wilson the MVP advantage over Carson Wentz?

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A win over Wentz lead Eagles is just what Wilson needs

NFL: Seattle Seahawks at San Francisco 49ers Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

The deck is stacked against the Seattle Seahawks this weekend. By almost any statistical measure you can come up with the Philadelphia Eagles are favored to win and Seattle is a home underdog by the largest margin in the Russell Wilson era. So what would a win over the vaunted Eagles mean for Wilson’s chances at league MVP?

To put it lightly, it would cement the Seahawks QB solidly into first place and here’s why:

A signature win in Primetime

There is no better slot to capture the attention of national media and pundits than Sunday night. A prime time game in Seattle against a big market East Coast team means that all eyes will be out west as Wilson tries to will his team to victory. In many ways, the most valuable player race is a popularity contest and that means exposure is key to winning. Assuming equal performance, the more exposed player will win. So while Wilson has been playing at an amazing level, he has not captured the spotlight in the same way as he would our East. Of course, it doesn’t help that both Tom Brady and Carson Wentz are playing out of their minds right now. A win over one of the leading MVP candidates would do a lot to bring more attention to Wilson and his level of performance.

Quality of opponent matters

According to football outsiders, the Eagles are playing at a top three level in both Offensive and Defensive DVOA. Meanwhile, the Seahawks are performing about middle of the pack Offensively and in eighth for Defense. So while an improved offensive line and better protection have helped Seattle as of late, they are still around the middle of the pack in overall offensive prowess by DVOA. Another point of concern is how efficient Philadelphia is on a points per drive basis.

In the above chart we have every team plotted by offensive points per drive versus points allowed per drive defensively. So the farther down and to the right a team is, the better. While New England is first in the league for offense and the Jaguars are on a record setting defensive pace, the Eagles appear to be one of, if not the, most complete teams in the league. If the Seahawks can manage to win against such a strong opponent, especially behind a strong showing by Wilson, it can only serve to help his case.

A decimated supporting cast

It’s no secret that Seattle enters this Sunday match up with a long list of injuries. Cliff Avril is out for the year along with Kam Chancellor and Richard Sherman. Duane Brown is listed with an ankle injury, You can view the entire injury list here.

And keep in mind that doesn’t even show the players we have on injured reserve. The Seahawks, especially defensively, are a very injured team. And with the absolute lack of running production outside of number one team rusher, you guessed it Wilson, the team will need to rely on Wilson’s arm and toughness to force a victory against a team that’s viewed as objectively superior. There is no rational argument remaining that Wilson is carried by the defense nor by a stout running attack, if there ever was.

Wilson is finally starting to get some attention

Below are just a few examples out there in the national media. But the point is that Wilson is finally being noticed for the herculean effort he’s put forward to keep Seattle as a winning team.

But while I, and probably you as well, am a long time convert and advocate for the church of Wilson there are still many out there who don’t understand how much has been accomplished with so little support. The best outcome for anyone hoping the Seahawks see their franchise quarterback snag a most valuable player award is likely another shootout win similar to the Houston Texans game earlier in the year. Albeit, the defense for Seattle was in much better shape then though the offensive line was decidedly worse.

To anyone who has watched the Seahawks play this year it is all too apparent that Wilson is carrying the team on his back. From a depleted defense, to inconsistent kicking, the issues facing Seattle this year and long and daunting. But in face of it all Russell Wilson remains unflappable and has willed his team to a 7-4 record. A win over the NFC leading Eagles in prime time would surely cement his status as the NFL’s MVP leader after week 13.