Round two between the Seattle Seahawks and Philadelphia Eagles is just two days away, only this time the loser’s next game will be in September, while the winner is headed for the NFL Divisional Round. Last time these teams met, Seattle won 17-9 in a game that could’ve been the hammer blow for Philadelphia’s season, but instead they rallied from 5-6 to 9-7 and take the NFC East.
Will the rematch be any different? Well considering the Seahawks are starting Travis Homer and Marshawn Lynch at running back, while the Eagles somehow got even more injured at the wide receiver position, the answer is “yes.” Will the outcome of a Seahawks win be the same? We hope so, and we also have Brandon Lee Gowton of Bleeding Green Nation here to provide three reasons why Philly’s spirited surge will come to an end against Seattle.
If you want to read my three reasons the Seahawks will lose to the Eagles, check it out on BGN.
Be sure to also check out our previous exchange of knowledge in the 5 Qs, 5 As links below.
1 - The last game wasn’t as close as the score looked
The last meeting between these two teams ended with a final score of 17 to 9 but that’s pretty deceiving. In reality, the game wasn’t that close.
The Eagles’ sole touchdown came in garbage time with 20 seconds left in regulation. Prior to that drive, the Seahawks were way outproducing the Eagles in yards per play: 6.2 to 4.2.
And the Seahawks easily could’ve had more production if they didn’t leave a number of plays on the field. Like when Russell Wilson overthrew a wide open Jacob Hollister in the end zone. Or when DK Metcalf dropped multiple big gains, including one for a touchdown:
Metcalf drops a TD: pic.twitter.com/jJpLBnyAXX— Jimmy Kempski (@JimmyKempski) January 1, 2020
The Eagles even had officiating working in their favor in this game. Seattle was penalized 12 times for 90 yards while the Eagles only got flagged twice for 15 yards. And yet the Seahawks were really never in jeopardy of losing.
I expect the Eagles to put forth a better this time than last time but my point is the Seahawks are just the better team on paper. They won more games than the Eagles in the regular season and they outrank Philly in DVOA (8th to 11). There’s a reason why 81% of the public is betting on the Seahawks to beat the Eagles. The Eagles have won four in a row, yeah, but three of those games were against two of the worst teams in the league (Washington once and Giants twice) in addition to a Cowboys team that finished 8-8.
2 - The Eagles can never beat Russell Wilson
When I watch Russell Wilson play, I legitimately wonder how the Seahawks ever lose games. It feels like he’s so impossible to defend.
The Eagles surprisingly held Wilson to his worst game against them back in Week 12. Still, his splits against Philly are pretty good. 4-0 in four games with these stats: 73/124 (58.9%), 962 yards (7.8 average), 7 TD, 1 INT, 98.9 passer rating, 1 fumble lost ... 27 rushing attempts, 113 rushing yards (1 rushing TD ... 1 reception, 15 yards, 1 receiving TD. That’s nine total touchdowns to just two turnovers.
The Eagles’ defense is at their best when they’re rushing the passer and I just worry about Wilson’s ability to negate pressure with his mobility. I also think Wilson shouldn’t struggle to take shots down the field and exploit the Eagles’ vulnerable cornerbacks. Potential outside starters Jalen Mills and Avonte Maddox are both on the injury report so they could be playing at less than 100%. They’re both susceptible to getting beat down the field. Mills isn’t known for his speed and can be a little too aggressive on double moves. Maddox, meanwhile, has great athleticism but is on the smaller side and has 1 percentile arm length. DK Metcalf and/or Tyler Lockett should be able to have success against this Philly secondary. The Eagles can’t just count on the Seahawks leaving plays on the field like they did last time.
Another thing I think about is the Seahawks’ running back situation and how it might actually encouraged Seattle to pass more often than they usually do. In other words, the injuries to Chris Carson and Rashaad Penny could be a blessing in disguise since the coaching staff will waste less time running the ball against Philly’s stout run defense and instead look to attack the secondary. If the game is on the line and Wilson has the ball at the end, I’m not expecting the Eagles’ defense to stop him.
3 - The offensive injuries will be too much to overcome
The Eagles have suffered a myriad of injuries this season, especially on offense. It’s pretty remarkable how they’ve made it to the playoffs given what little they’ve been working with.
I mean, these are Carson Wentz’s healthy wide receivers for Sunday: Greg Ward, JJ Arcega-Whiteside, Robert Davis, Deontay Burnett, and Shelton Gibson. Four of those five players were on practice squads this season and the other (JJAW) is a struggling rookie.
Miles Sanders is expected to played but it remains to be seen if his ankle injury will limit his effectiveness or cause him to leave the game early. If he’s out, the Eagles will be down to another practice squad player in Boston Scott. (Reigning NFC Offensive Player of the Week Boston Scott, that is.)
Zach Ertz, who isn’t Wentz’s favorite target and was the Eagles’ most productive weapon against the Seahawks, might not play since he’s dealing with cracked ribs and a lacerated kidney. Dallas Goedert is a very good No. 2 tight end to have but the Eagles like to run a lot of 12 personnel and the combo of Ertz and Goedert is much better than the combo of Goedert and Joshua Perkins (another former practice squad member).
And that’s just the skill players. Then one must consider the Eagles could be without starting right tackle Lane Johnson and will be without starting right guard Brandon Brooks. Those are two All-Pro talents. The Eagles could be having 2018 sixth-round pick Matt Pryor make his first NFL start at right guard with Halapoulivaati Vaitai playing at right tackle. Vaitai is a capable fill in guy but he’s not the most ideal long-term starter.
All of this is to say that the conditions for Wentz’s first playoff start are hardly ideal. And a quarterback making his first NFL playoff start is already tough enough to begin with. Of 32 active NFL quarterbacks with at least one playoff start, those players are 10-22 in their first start. So, history doesn’t exactly bode well for Wentz in this situation.