I’m not going to make you read a lot of back-and-forth on this one. For me to pick the Eagles to win a game right now, they’d have to be playing the Jets. Maybe the Jaguars. Seattle? The good Eagles, the 2017 Super Bowl Eagles, didn’t beat Seattle. The Seahawks are 6-0 against the Eagles this decade, including two 17-9 wins last season, the second in the playoffs when they didn’t really play very well. But the Eagles were trying to win with Josh McCown quarterbacking the second half on a torn hamstring.
This 2020 Seahawks team is a little odd. Seattle won its first five games despite some uncharacteristic defensive struggles. Since then the Seahawks have lost three of five, with Russell Wilson – a strong NFL MVP candidate earlier in the season – throwing some Carson Wentzish interceptions. But last week they avenged the first loss in that stretch, beating Arizona in a rematch, 28-21. The Cards scored 37 in the first meeting, so the Seattle defense is playing better. Still, it’s not often you see a 7-3 team whose opponents are outgaining it, 4,349 yards to 4,000, with opponents amassing a 270-235 edge in first downs.
Against Wilson and the Seattle offense, I can’t imagine those stats are going to matter much. DK Metcalf is averaging 18.0 yards per catch, 862 yards on 48 receptions, with nine touchdowns. I haven’t checked lately, but I think J.J. Arcega-Whiteside is a little short of those totals.
If I didn’t have to cover this, I’d be checking out Netflix Monday night.
Prediction: Seahawks 30, Eagles 20.
Two weeks ago, I predicted the Eagles would turn the season around against the Giants and finally start playing at a level more consistent with the expectation going into the season. This week, I’m predicting the exact opposite.
The Eagles are playing bad football, and they’ve done so all season. Wentz has looked like a shell of himself. The offensive line is constantly shuffling out backups, and the receiving corps has been underwhelming as of late. The Eagles’ defense hasn’t been as disappointing as the offense, but the team is seemingly incapable of playing complementary football this year.
Another ugly loss on football’s biggest stage could lead to significant change for the duration of the year, and that’s the most likely outcome for Monday night. There’s no reason to believe this will be the week that Doug Pederson, Wentz, and the rest of the team snap out of this haze. If Monday night is more of the same, we could be seeing changes at quarterback and perhaps elsewhere, too.
The Seahawks are definitely a beatable team, largely thanks to an uncharacteristically bad secondary. But they will also be one of the best opponents the Eagles have faced so far this season. I’m not sure how many teams the Eagles can beat at this point. There’s obviously a chance Wentz quiets the doubters and the Eagles shock the world. But I’m not going to bank on that possibility.
Prediction: Seahawks 28, Eagles 10
Jim Schwartz’s defense kept Russell Wilson and the Seahawks offense in check in two games last season. Seattle averaged 6.1 yards and 6.7 yards in the meetings, but the Eagles allowed only 17 points in both contests. That wasn’t a coincidence. But it wasn’t enough as Doug Pederson’s offense scored only nine points in each game.
Schwartz typically struggles against elite quarterbacks – most defensive coordinator do – but he’s managed to keep Wilson from going off. Seattle’s pass offense, though, has gotten even more explosive with DK Metcalf taking another step. I got to think that the second-year receiver will draw man coverage from Darius Slay. The Eagles traded for the cornerback for matchups like this. But Seattle has a distinct advantage if Avonte Maddox is left to cover Tyler Lockett.
Wilson’s cooled off some after a torrid start. He’s thrown four interceptions against four touchdowns in the last three games. But the Eagles have to keep him contained and from extending plays, otherwise it’s going to be a long night.
The Seahawks defense could be a balm for the Eagles’ struggling offense. It’s allowed more yards that any NFL team through 11 weeks. Sloppy third down and red zone defense makes for a bad combo. But I don’t know if there’s any helping this Eagles unit. Carson Wentz looks shell shocked, and Pederson can’t seem to construct a game plan that plays to his quarterback’s strengths.
I think the Eagles can hang around into the fourth quarter behind the strength of their defensive line. But mistake-free football has escaped the Eagles, and Seattle just has too much talent at skill spots for there to be an upset.
Prediction: Seahawks 23, Eagles 17.
Things have to change for the Eagles Monday night if they hope to have any chance of beating the Seahawks. First and foremost, they need to start converting their third-down opportunities.
They are a miserable 12-for-54 on third down in their last 5 games. That’s a 22.2% success rate, which is the worst in the league over that period. In the last 4 games, they’ve converted just 1-of-25 third downs of 6 yards or more. One of 25! That is absolutely feeble.
Getting Zach Ertz back may help. They’ll be able to attack a very average Seahawks defense with 12- and 13-personnel, which could create some matchup dilemmas. But no matter who they have out there, Carson Wentz needs to play better. He needs to eliminate the turnovers and make smarter decisions and just play better.
With Darius Slay, the defense is better equipped to deal with DK Metcalf than they were in January when he lit them up in the playoffs. But Tyler Lockett isn’t chopped liver. Neither is David Moore.
The success of the Seahawks’ offense is all about first down. If the Eagles can slow them down on first down and put them into second-and-longs and third-and-longs, they have a chance. But Russell Wilson has been next to unstoppable on first down. So I don’t know if that’s likely.