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Eagles-Seahawks: Beat writers predict Week 12 battle

After last week’s loss to New England, belief in the Eagles against high-quality competition has taken a serious hit.

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson has never lost to the Eagles.
Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson has never lost to the Eagles.Read moreJohn Froschauer / AP

The Eagles host the Seahawks on Sunday at 1 p.m. Coming off a loss to the Patriots, it’s big one for the Birds.

Here are the predictions from Inquirer Eagles beat writers:

Jeff McLane

While not having the luxury of knowing as of this writing whether Lane Johnson will be cleared to play, I’m basing my prediction upon that fact that he was still in concussion protocol Thursday. It would appear unlikely that he’ll be ready by Sunday afternoon, which means that rookie Andre Dillard will start at right tackle.

Dillard showed promise filling in for Jason Peters on the left side, but there could be an adjustment period. He played exclusively at left tackle in college. And with Peters always at risk to leave early, Halapoulivaati Vaitai could be pressed into action again, which hasn’t bode well for the Eagles over the last two years. Jadeveon Clowney, who rushes from multiple spots, is licking his chops.

I think the Eagles offense will rebound somewhat from last week’s dismal effort, but having running back Jordan Howard (shoulder) back in uniform would help that cause. I know that Doug Pederson has said that Carson Wentz needs to press less, but I think this could be a game when he needs to be otherworldly if the Eagles are to win.

Jim Schwartz’s defense has been on a nice run, holding its last three opponents to 14.6 points a game. Russell Wilson offers a different challenge, however. He can extend plays like no other quarterback. And he has receiving (Tyler Lockett and D.K. Metcalf) and running weapons (Chris Carson). Wilson, by the way, hasn’t lost to the Eagles in four meetings. I think it’ll be five.

Prediction: Seahawks 27, Eagles 20.

EJ Smith

There are many reasons to be wary of picking the Eagles this week. The Seattle Seahawks have emerged as one of the best teams in the NFC so far this season, Russel Wilson is an MVP candidate, and the Eagles offense has major concerns right now. Maybe a scrappy Eagles team trying to remain in playoff contention can outmatch Seattle’s intensity? It’s possible, but the Seahawks are still chasing the 9-1 San Francisco 49ers in the NFC West and are fresh off a bye week. It’s not like they’re coming into Lincoln Financial Field resting on their laurels and arranging February flights to Miami.

» READ MORE: Eagles’ Carson Wentz may be the QB, but he can’t do it by himself | Bob Ford

What about the early East Coast kickoff time? Perhaps Wilson and Pete Carroll’s thrown-off body clocks will hinder their success. It could happen, but it hasn’t yet this season. The Seahawks have gone 3-0 this season playing the early time slot. But, those three games have all been somewhat underwhelming performances for the ‘Hawks. Seattle has wins against the 5-5 Steelers, 4-6 Browns, and 3-7 Falcons by an average margin of 4.3 points.

Maybe picking the Eagles is a bit foolish. Their pass rush will be largely neutralized by Russell Wilson and they’re still missing some key pieces on offense. But strange things happen in the NFL, and I suppose I’m guessing something strange happens. Just don’t dig this up if I’m wrong.

Prediction: Eagles 28, Seahawks 24

Paul Domowitch

I picked the Eagles to win last week and got burned. I’m not going to make the same mistake two weeks in a row.

Can they win Sunday? Sure they can. If they get Lane Johnson and Jordan Howard back, they should be able to pound the ball against a Seahawks defense that is giving up 4.5 yards per carry.

Carson Wentz is coming off his worst performance of the season, and even with an underperforming wide receiver corps, I don’t see him playing that badly two weeks in a row.

The Seahawks have a decent defense. But it’s not the Legion of Boom anymore, and it’s not nearly as good as the Patriot defense that held Wentz to 5.3 yards per attempt last week.

I think the Eagles defense will be able to contain Seahawks running back Chris Carson. Russell Wilson, however, is another story. He’s having the best season of his career. He’s first in the league in passing, first in touchdown passes and first in interception percentage.

» READ MORE: The Eagles aren’t the NFL’s hot, new thing anymore. That matters, and it hurts. | Mike Sielski

With Jalen Mills, Ronald Darby and Avonte Maddox healthy, the Eagles pass defense has stabilized. But Wilson’s scrambling ability and his ability to extend plays and force defensive backs to hold their coverage puts a lot of pressure on a defense. It will put a lot of pressure on the Eagles.

Wilson is 3-0 against the Eagles in his career. He’s never had a pass intercepted by them and he’s been sacked just five times. All three wins were by double digits.

I think this game will be close. But close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades.

Prediction: Seahawks 24, Eagles 21

Les Bowen

I’ve become a real pessimist about this Eagles team, for a bunch of reasons, but one of them is that they just can’t get healthy. The assumption is no Lane Johnson this week, which undercuts what ought to be the home team’s biggest advantage -- its offensive line. And we don’t know, at this juncture, that Jordan Howard will be back.

I’ve never seen Russell Wilson struggle even a little bit against the Eagles. His defense isn’t overwhelming, but it shouldn’t have to be against this version of the Eagles’ offense. I think Carson Wentz is going to have to be perfect for the Eagles to win, and maybe something else has to happen, like a return-game touchdown or a key turnover. I’m not holding my breath.

Prediction: Seahawks 20, Eagles 17.