The Seattle Seahawks face the Philadelphia Eagles at the Linc today for a huge NFC showdown. Who will prevail?
The NFL’s top-ranked defense will meet a soaring Eagles offense, fourth in the league and cruising at 416.2 yards per game. Philadelphia’s Thanksgiving beat down of the Cowboys showed a Birds team firing on all cylinders, ready for their most critical matchups of the season. With the o-line finally finding its footing with the return of Jason Kelce and Evan Mathis, LeSean McCoy has had back-to-back games of 100+ yards.
The Seattle D allows a stingy 285.8 yards per game. Seattle is third-best against the passing attack, allowing just under 200 yards. And against the run, they have allowed just 86.3 yards per game.
While an excellent team, unlike the 2013 iteration, the 2014 Seahawks have revealed themselves to be fallible, standing at 8-4. As much as you hear about the team’s defensive treat, their offensive weapons are limited. Seattle averages just 192 passing yards a game, as quarterback Russell Wilson doesn’t have many targets. Doug Baldwin is the team’s leading receiver, who does a solid job but doesn’t send opposing defenses quaking at the mere sound of his name. The real concern for the Eagles is on the ground, both with Wilson and running back Marshawn Lynch. Lynch’s nickname of Beast Mode tells the tale of his prowess in the rushing attack. Connor Barwin will look to continue his streak of QB sacking after receiving Defensive Player of the Month honors, and Mychal Kendricks will have something to say about Lynch running all the turf at the Linc.
The big story of the game will be how the Eagles’ passing game holds up against Seattle’s secondary. Earl Thomas is one of the best safeties in the league, and Kam Chancellor won’t give the Eagles an easy time of things. Jeremy Maclin is having the beast season of his career, and Richard Sherman is just waiting to shut him down. Can’t you hear him mouthing off already? But the problem with Sherman is that he has the numbers to back up the talk. He has 23 interceptions since 2011, the most in the NFL. The next closest player has 8 fewer.
It will be critical for Mark Sanchez to not do too much this game, as we know he has a propensity to turn the ball over. He needs to play smart, lean on his teammates, and not make mistakes at critical points in the game.
This is going to be a good one, ladies and gents. The kind of stressful, heart-pumping Sunday affair that makes us love football. In the end, the many weapons and dimensions of the Eagles offense will outshine Russell, Lynch, and the famed Seattle D. Eagles 26, Seahawks 21