The Philadelphia Eagles will travel to the West Coast for the first time this season to take on the NFC West-leading Seattle Seahawks. The Eagles have been reeling of late, losing four of their past six games. However, they’re coming off of a huge win over the Falcons and have a bit of momentum.
Unfortunately, that momentum will come to a screeching halt on Sunday in Seattle. The Eagles face their toughest challenge yet, and it’s not going to end well for rookie Carson Wentz or Philadelphia’s offense.
The Seahawks will move to 7-2-1 and pad their cushion on the NFC West with a third straight victory – here’s why.
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Philadelphia won’t run the ball on Seattle’s defense
The Eagles aren’t a team that will run the ball down a team’s throat and wear a defense down throughout the game. They almost never have been, even going back to the days of Brian Westbrook and LeSean McCoy. They remain a team that utilizes scatback-style players in the backfield. Ryan Mathews is the hardest runner Philadelphia has, but he doesn’t get many touches in Philadelphia’s current offense (28 carries the past three games).
The Seahawks have one of the league’s fastest defenses thanks to Bobby Wagner, Kam Chancellor, Cliff Avril and Earl Thomas, among others. They’ll be able to track down the Eagles’ faster backs like Mathews and Darren Sproles before they can get to the edge. As a result, Philadelphia will have a hard time running the ball against Seattle, which will put the ball in Carson Wentz’s hands more often. That’s not something the Eagles want to do against the Seahawks’ secondary.
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The Seahawks are finding their groove on offense
The Seahawks got off to a slow start offensively this season, scoring a total of 15 points in their first two games. They had another lull against the Cardinals in their sixth game, scoring just six points in 75 minutes. They’ve since found their groove on that side of the ball, however, and it’s only going to get better. Thomas Rawls is expected to return from injury this week and will join C.J. Prosise in an up-and-coming backfield that’s gained versatility with the rookie from Notre Dame.
Prosise may have been the missing piece offensively for the Seahawks, showing off outstanding versatility as a runner and receiver on the outside. After all, he did play receiver at Notre Dame. His pass-catching ability paired with Rawls’ hard running style gives Seattle a backfield that can create mismatches and pound the rock against even the best defenses.
The biggest factor, however, is the health of Russell Wilson and the gelling of Seattle’s offensive line. The unit is beginning to play better as a unit and with Wilson getting healthier, he’s able to elude sacks more than he could after his knee and ankle injuries. That’ll show once again on Sunday against the Eagles.
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Carson Wentz has struggled against mediocre defenses
Carson Wentz has had a decent rookie season. It started off great with three straight wins against two mediocre teams, but things have gone downhill since then. The Eagles lost to the Lions, which started a string of four losses in six games. In his past five starts, Wentz has just two touchdown passes and four interceptions. And it’s not as though he faced the best defenses week in and week out.
The only truly difficult matchup in that span came against the Vikings, who limited him to 138 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. The other teams? Washington, Dallas, the Giants and the Falcons – none of which are top-10 defenses. Wentz has become increasingly reliant on check-down passes to his running back and doesn’t typically trust his receivers to make plays downfield.
Against the Seahawks, Wentz won’t be able to get away with short passes at or behind the line of scrimmage. Bobby Wagner and Kam Chancellor will snuff those out and stop them before they can even get started. And when Wentz does attempt intermediate to deep passes, he’ll struggle. The Seahawks have one of the best pass defenses in the league and it’ll make Wentz look like a rookie on Sunday.