After a week off, the Seattle Seahawks are back on the road once again, as they take on the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday afternoon at Lincoln Financial Field. There will be plenty of playoff implications on the line when these two teams take the field. Seattle (8-2) is looking to keep pace with NFC West-leading 49ers, while Philadelphia (5-5) is battling it out with Dallas for the NFC East title in a division that will likely only send one team to the playoffs.
The Seahawks outlasted the 49ers, 27-24 in overtime, down at Levi’s Stadium on Nov. 11. It was a physical battle as both defenses had their moments with their physical play and ability to create key turnovers. Jadeveon Clowney was a monster all night long, constantly causing havoc. Clowney also got the Seahawks on the board with a 10-yard fumble return for a touchdown in the second quarter to cut the 49ers' lead to 10-7. Russell Wilson made plays with his legs in overtime when he needed to and overcame a costly interception that could have decided the game earlier in the period. Jason Myers nailed a walk-off 42-yard field goal to give Seattle a critical victory in their quest to win the NFC West, which cut San Francisco's lead to one game.
As for the Eagles, they started off fast against New England by jumping out to a 10-0 lead early in the second quarter. However, the Patriots defense imposed their will from that point on and shut them down the rest of the way. A 17-10 loss dropped the Eagles back to .500 on the season. Carson Wentz completed 20 of 40 passes for 214 yards and a touchdown. The running game couldn’t get anything going; Miles Sanders was limited to just 38 yards on 11 carries. One encouraging thing, though, was that the Eagles' defense played. They kept the Patriots under 300 total yards and never let Tom Brady truly take over the game.
Seattle at Philadelphia
Kickoff: Sunday, Nov. 24 at 1 p.m. ET
Spread: Eagles -1.5
Three Things to Watch
1. Seahawks' front seven vs. Eagles' offensive line
One thing that head coach Pete Carroll and his staff are known for is they find a way to have their teams peak in November and December. The defensive line is a good example of that, as the unit showed its potential last week. Now the defensive line just needs to prove that the San Francisco game was not a fluke. The Eagles' offensive line is one of the best in the NFL, so they will prove to be a very formidable challenge for the Seattle front seven. Brandon Brooks, Jason Kelce, and Lane Johnson anchor a unit that is huge size-wise and will need to use that beef to wear Seattle down in the second half. If there is a weakness with Philadelphia’s offensive line, it’s pass blocking, as they rank 25th in sacks allowed with a 7.0 percent adjusted sack rate this season. Thus, it will be up to the Seahawks' defensive front to take advantage of the Eagles in pass protection.
2. Philadelphia's tight ends
One way to jumpstart an inconsistent offense is to get the ball out to the tight ends early and often. Zach Ertz is Carson Wentz's security blanket with 55 receptions for 621 yards and two touchdowns. Dallas Goedert has been a solid number two tight end, as he has 24 receptions for 257 yards and four touchdowns in 2019. With DeSean Jackson sidelined by a core injury, the Eagles need Ertz and Goedert to carry the way in the passing game since the rest of the wide receivers have been uneven at best. The matchup of Ertz and Goedert against the Seattle defense is potential kryptonite for the Seahawks. Opposing tight ends have racked up 51 receptions for 615 yards and four touchdowns against the Seattle defense so far this season.
3. Seahawks' wide receivers vs. Eagles' secondary
This is where this game could end up being decided, especially if Tyler Lockett is back healthy enough to play. Lockett, DK Metcalf, and Josh Gordon provide an interesting mix of potential matchup challenges for Philadelphia. Lockett can burn you in a variety of ways from keeping the chains moving by catching short passes to hauling in the deep ball. Metcalf can get it done on deep plays, where he uses freakish athleticism to go up and win 50/50 balls. Gordon came through with two key catches in his debut against the 49ers. With an extra couple of weeks to adjust to the Seattle offensive scheme, he should see more targets on Sunday. The Eagles are fairly middling in pass defense at 17th in the NFL (237.5 passing yards per game), so this week will be a big test for this unit. Russell Wilson and this group of receivers are definitely better than the Bills, Bears, and Patriots, whom they locked down the last three weeks.
The Seahawks have thrived over their last four visits to the City of Brotherly Love. Despite playing in front of one of the league's most rabid fan bases, Seattle has outscored the Eagles 132-38 during that stretch. The Seahawks have already won three games in the eastern time zone this season, so the travel shouldn’t phase them this week. Russell Wilson is a better quarterback than Carson Wentz and has the offense that is performing better than the Eagles right now, so that will be the difference. The Seahawks will pick up their ninth win and keep the heat on San Francisco in the NFC West.
Prediction: Seahawks 27, Eagles 23
— Written by Scott Whittum, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Follow him on Twitter @ScottWhittum.