If the 2020 Seattle Seahawks want to be considered true Super Bowl contenders, they must soundly beat these 2020 Philadelphia Eagles this Monday Night. They have to.
The Eagles are a struggling team, to put it very nicely. Their expensive quarterback is playing his worst football, but he hasn’t been helped by the fact that he is stuck behind a bad offensive line, and he has very little receiver help outside of his two tight ends and a couple nifty running backs. Teams know how to defend him more easily these days, as he hasn’t been able to handle pressure situations much at all this year.
As bad as bad as they have been offensively, they actually have a fairly competent defense, and that is the main reason why they are in second place in the horrid NFC East Division (a division of professional football that appears to be historically bad). They have a defensive front that can still get after a quarterback, and that is probably the team’s saving grace.
The good news for Seattle when facing this defense is that they are getting Chris Carson back to further aid the run game. For as good as the Eagle front is at getting pressure, the Eagle defense has not been great stopping the run this year. This is a solid match up for Seattle to further lean into their run game to aid Russell Wilson’s abilities to pass off of play action (which might be his best traits as a passer). A healthy mix of Chris Carson and Carlos Hyde mixed with a quick passing attack by Russ should be enough to guide Seattle past a desperate Eagle team that will be giving it their all in this match up.
But make no mistake about it, if Seattle plays sloppy on offense, and if they revert back to blown assignments on defense, this is a game that they can lose. The Eagles are likely to be playing desperate ball. A win against Seattle will put them back in first place in their division. A win against Seattle will prove that Ferndale kid turned Super Bowl winning NFL head coach Doug Pederson can finally beat his beloved Seattle Seahawks (something that he has yet to do as a head coach despite the amount of times these two clubs have played each other). There is a lot riding on this game for this team.
Seattle must smell that trap, and they must match the Eagles with equal if not more determination to put them away, as they are fighting tooth and claw themselves for their own divisional crown (the NFC West being best division in football). If Seattle does this, it is highly likely that they win this game, and probably even win it relatively handsomely.
Seahawks win this game by..
Establishing a run game that forces the Eagle defenders to honor it, and that allows Russell Wilson to continue the efficient quarterback play he enjoyed against the Cardinals over a week ago. This is probably the biggest key to the game, and it is something that Seattle should be able to do. It hurts them a bit that they will be playing without their starting right tackle, but the best way to help his backup out is for them to be run blocking a fair amount. Also helping him out is Russell getting the ball out quickly like he did against the Cardinal defenders. This could be a big game Tyler Lockett to catch quick hitters if the Eagles are looking to take DK Metcalf away. This could also be a game where we see tight ends and running back catch more. If Seattle hangs onto an early lead going into the second half, we could see more signature deep balls off of play action as the game wears on.
The Seattle Seahawk defense picks up where it left off against a talented Cardinal offense, and they continue playing sounder football together. This is honestly wear my expectations are the highest in this match up. Seattle is now finding their pass rush with Carlos Dunlap, and the Eagle offensive line is horrifically bad. Seattle should be able to pass rush with four, and send extra pressure at different points to further rattle and confuse a struggling Carson Wentz. With Shaquill Griffin returning at left corner, and the Eagle receivers not being very good, it will likely be up to the linebackers and safeties playing against tight ends and running backs well. Guess what? The sharpest teeth of the Seattle Seahawk defense are middle linebacker Bobby Wagner and strong safety Jamal Adams. If these two play well, this could be a night where Seattle’s defense dominates.
Seahawks lose this game by..
Reverting back to turning the ball over on offense, and the defense reverting back to poor fundamentals and lack of assignment sound ball. This is how Seattle loses games in 2020. If the defense gives up easy yards and points, and Russell Wilson turns the ball over in the passing game, it makes winning considerably more difficult.
At this point of the season, there is no excuses for this to happen. The Seahawk defenders should know what their responsibilities are, and they should execute them. Russell Wilson should know not to chase plays that aren’t clearly there, and he should know to be patient with the opportunities that the game with present for him.
Against a bad ball club, they should just be able to play smart, and that should be enough to win. They are a significantly more talented club than the Eagles. If Seattle loses this game, it won’t be for lack of talent. It will be for lack of brains. Seahawks must play smart and in that, play together.
The Eagles are going to give this one a fight, but the Seahawks have too much going on for them offensively, and their defense is looking to come together at the right time. Seahawks win this one, 31-17.
The Eagles defense is going to look at get after Russell Wilson, and with Cedric Ogbuehi starting at right attack, expect the Eagles to put Brandon Graham on that side to bring heat on Russ. Graham is a really good pass rusher. So Seattle might try to win this one playing things a wee bit closer to the vest, offensively, just like they did against the Cardinals. Look for them to try to control clock, establish the run, and set up play action for Russ not be a sitting duck in the pocket against Graham and Fletcher Cox.
This could be a really big game for Chris Carson both as a runner and a pass catcher. On way to neutralize the pass rush is to get the ball on to the running backs in space.
Defensively, this is where I am leaning towards Seattle really cooking. They know that Wentz is struggling and I think they are going to play in this one like hungry tiger sharks smelling blood in the water. Both tackle spots on the Philadelphia offensive line are in complete disarray. Carlos Dunlap could easily have another big night. Benson Mayowa, and Alton Robinson could also have a night. Expect Seattle to occasionally send Jamal Adams and Bobby Wagner for good measure. Defensive tackles Poona Ford and Jarran Reed could also get home on Wentz in this one.
If Seattle wants to be more than a playoff level team this year, if they want to win their division, and be a true Super Bowl contender, well then, this is a prime time game of football to show the whole wide world what they can really be in 2020. I think they are looking forward to doing just that.