National Football League

Feeling the Heat

November 30, 2020

When the Philadelphia Eagles match up with the Seattle Seahawks on Monday Night Football, Carson Wentz will start under center for the City of Brotherly Love. 

But sometimes, love hurts.

Regrettable allusions aside, Wentz has been on a torrid streak of turning the ball over, and this week, coach Doug Pederson got a good look at backup quarterback Jalen Hurts in practice, according to sources.

To say Wentz is struggling this season is an understatement. He ranks first in the league in interceptions (14) and fumbles (10), and has been sacked a league-leading 40 times.

Even when passing to his own team, Wentz is 30th in passer rating (73.3), 31st in completion percentage (58.4) and 30th in yards per attempt (6.2) in the NFL.

The Eagles have scored a season-low 17 points each of the last two weeks.

Last Sunday, in Philadelphia's 22-17 loss to the Cleveland Browns, Hurts played one snap, and when Hurts has seen action – primarily as a gadget player – just two of his 31 snaps have resulted in him throwing a pass.

Hurts was selected with the 53rd pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, after passing for 32 scores and rushing for 20 more as a senior at Oklahoma.

So far this season, he has gone 2-for-2 passing for 27 yards, while adding one catch for three yards and 12 carries for 56 yards.

The pressure is rising for Wentz to turn it around in Phily, as the Eagles are 3-6-1 and need to win on Monday night to stay ahead of the New York Giants (4-7) and the Washington Football Team (4-7) for the NFC East division lead.

On Monday morning's version of Undisputed, Skip Bayless said he believes it's time to give Hurts an audition at the starting spot. 

Things get complicated when it comes to Wentz's contract situation. The Eagles signed Wentz to a four-year, $128 million extension in 2019. Unless Philadelphia could potentially trade Wentz, he would carry a dead salary cap hit of almost $60 million in 2021, and then $39.5 million in 2022.

However, ESPN's Max Kellerman argued Monday that benching Wentz might be enough of a motivating factor to break him out of his slump.

"[Hurts] should have gotten the nod a month ago ... It's about trying your best to fix Carson Wentz. It's about holding your quarterback accountable."

Whoever ends up playing under center tonight will face a tough challenge, as the much-maligned Seattle defense has improved dramatically as of late.

The Seahawks held the Cardinals to a season-low 21 points in a Week 11 win, and after giving up 44 points at Buffalo in Week 9, Seattle has allowed 44 total points in its past two games to the Rams and Cards.

In addition, Seattle had managed just 12 sacks through the first seven games of the season, but after the return of safety Jamal Adams, and the addition of defensive end Carlos Dunlap, Seattle has posted 13 sacks in the past three games. 

Dunlap has already racked up 3.5 sacks of his own, leading all defensive linemen on the team in category, and Adams has 5.5 sacks on the year. 

Because of the improved Seattle pass rush, Colin Cowherd said Monday that the Seahawks will roll over the Eagles, as Seattle has bigger aspirations in mind.

"If you watch the game tonight and you see a consistent pass rush, then they are the fourth best team in the league."

FOX Bet agrees with Cowherd, as Seattle is favored by almost a touchdown on Monday (-6) and have the fifth-best odds to win the Super Bowl (+1000).

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