Game Preview – SEA at PHI

Posted: January 5th, 2020 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | Comments Off on Game Preview – SEA at PHI

Seattle visits Philadelphia on Sunday afternoon to play a football game. But really, that will be much more than just a football game.

This is a playoff game. Win, and you advance a step closer to the Super Bowl. It is easy to take playoff games for granted. The Eagles were a playoff team nine times between 2000 and 2010. Postseason football was expected and not always appreciated.

They only made it once between then and the Super Bowl year of 2017. Now the team is back in action for the third straight season. Don’t forget how special and fun playoff football is. There are no guarantees you’ll be back next year.

Sunday’s game is also an opportunity to end a streak. Russell Wilson, Pete Carroll and the Seahawks have been quite the nemesis for the Eagles for almost a decade. The Eagles last beat Seattle in 2008 and they have never beaten Wilson.

I am desperate for this streak to end. I hate the Seahawks. From Wilson’s scrambling to Carroll’s gum-chewing to the team colors. I hate the Seahawks. The Eagles need to end this futility and beat this team. Wilson can’t own the Eagles forever. Change that on Sunday.

The Eagles would also keep things going by winning. Jason Peters is probably in his final season as an Eagle. Every win will extend his career another week. An Eagles victory would give Lane Johnson and DeSean Jackson a chance to return to the lineup. That would have to scare the rest of the NFC.

There is a lot on the line.

Here is your big news of the day.

I think this is legit and Ertz will play. Obviously the Eagles will have to be smart with how they use him. You can’t put a guy with an injured kidney out there for 60 snaps. If you just mix Ertz in judiciously, he can have an impact. He is a weapon.

I think the Eagles will move the ball. The offense is in sync right now, with the RBs being used as the workhorses. Feed the ball to Miles Sanders, Boston Scott and Jordan Howard. They need 30 or more combined touches for the Eagles to win. In the first meeting, RBs had 21 touches. Boston Scott didn’t have any. The plodding Jay Ajayi had six carries.

This is a different offense when Scott is getting touches with Sanders. Both are quick and fast. Both can make plays.

Carson Wentz struggled in the first game. He is a different player now. Wentz is getting the most out of the young skill players around him. He’s been lights out late in games, making clutch play after clutch play. Wentz is also doing a great job as a leader.

The Eagles must play better on the line of scrimmage to win this time. Andre Dillard and Big V made for an awkward pair on the right side last time. Big V has started at RT the past couple of weeks so he should be good with that spot. Matt Pryor has had all week to get ready at RG. I expect him to play well.

Since their win over the Eagles, the Seahawks have allowed at least 24 points in every game. They average giving up 27 points per game in that stretch. Stats can be deceiving. Football is very much about the matchups. If the Eagles can block well, I think Pederson and his staff can come up with some favorable matchups and move the ball.

The Eagles defense is the bigger worry. Or maybe I should say that Russell Wilson is the bigger worry.

The Eagles held Seattle to 17 points in the first game. Wilson was only 13 for 25 in that game. He was sacked six times. That sounds great, but there were several drops/close misses. You can’t count on Wilson and his receivers missing those again.

At the same time, the Eagles haven’t allowed more than 17 points at home since mid-September. The defense has been on a roll when playing at The Linc.

Seattle will be missing their LT and possibly their LG. Their center is banged up. They are missing the two RBs who lit up the Eagles in November. I don’t see Marshawn Lynch delivering big plays. He’ll have some good runs, but I don’t see him going for 50-yard TD runs. Rookie Travis Homer is good and has playmaking potential. You can bet the Eagles have studied his breakout game from last week and will have some ideas on how to stop him.

The key defenders in this game will be Fletcher Cox and Malcolm Jenkins. Cox will play over the center a decent amount and needs to get a good push to help collapse the pocket on Wilson. Jenkins will spy him at times and has the ability to either rush or chase Wilson when he scrambles.

I am curious to see what the Eagles do at CB. Cre’Von LeBlanc should play in the slot. You could then go with Avonte Maddox and Jalen Mills on the outside. Or do you keep Rasul Douglas in the lineup? Douglas makes me nervous because he lacks vertical speed and Seattle will go deep more than a couple of times.

The Eagles could have one big advantage in this game…coaching. Pete Carroll has done a tremendous job with that team since coming over from USC, but he’s better as a big picture guy than at game management. Doug Pederson is smart and aggressive. He has a good feel for when to take chances and he’s not afraid to be wrong.

I don’t know if this stat will hold up on Sunday, but it is interesting.

Kudos to BLG for finding that.

I feel better about this game than I probably should and that makes me nervous. Wilson is a player you can never count out. If he’s down 35-7 with three minutes to go, you might be okay. Other than that, it always feels like he is on the verge of leading a comeback. Because of his mobility, field vision, accuracy and touch, you can’t relax for a second. He can deliver a deep ball from the most dire of circumstances.

The Eagles must play smart and disciplined to beat him.

Wentz will be playing his first playoff game. That could lead to some nerves for him, but the past month should have helped him get a lot of that stuff out of his system. Just go out and feed the ball to Sanders and Scott.

And find a way to win.

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