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Eagles’ loss to Patriots sets up must-win game vs. Seahawks | Early Birds

In the locker room Sunday, the Eagles turned their attention to Seattle. “We have another good football team coming to town next week.”

New England Patriots defensive backs Duron Harmon (21), Terrence Brooks (25) and Devin McCourty celebrate after a stop on Eagles wide receiver Nelson Agholor during the fourth-quarter on Sunday.
New England Patriots defensive backs Duron Harmon (21), Terrence Brooks (25) and Devin McCourty celebrate after a stop on Eagles wide receiver Nelson Agholor during the fourth-quarter on Sunday.Read moreYONG KIM / Staff Photographer

Good morning, Eagles fans, and happy Monday. Hope the hangover from the Eagles’ 17-10 loss to the New England Patriots has subsided. The Eagles now drop to 5-5, while the 9-1 Patriots’ sole blemish remains a pre-bye-week loss to Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens. The Super Bowl LII rematch started with a 10-0 Eagles lead and ended with spectators booing a Birds team that just couldn’t hang on. The game was an aesthetically unappealing one for both teams, neither of which could get anything going on offense. The Eagles’ passing game was awful. The offensive line did a poor job protecting Carson Wentz after right tackle Lane Johnson was sidelined with a head injury. The running game has seen much better days. So yeah, not a lot to be optimistic about on the offensive side of the ball. But the defense showed up to play, and kept pressure on Tom Brady. The defense will be tested next week when it faces off against the 8-2 Seattle Seahawks. We’ll get to that more in a minute.

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After the loss, Eagles look ahead to Russell Wilson and the Seahawks

Had the Eagles been able to rally after the Patriots’ go-ahead trick-play touchdown, conversations across the region today would include two words: “signature win." But of course, the injury-maligned offense wasn’t up to the task.

They still have a chance to salvage some playoff hope next week. Is it a must-win? I’d say so. Especially given the fact that the Eagles’ offensive showing on Sunday doesn’t provide much confidence that they’ll easily win all of the “easy” games on the remainder of their schedule.

In the locker room after the game, players were already looking ahead to next week.

Safety Rodney McLeod put it simply: "Looking forward to next week vs. Seattle. It’s going to be another tough opponent. They’re playing well. We got to get a win.”

Easier said than done, especially when you’re talking about the Seahawks (8-2), who have one of the league’s most explosive offenses and a quarterback who’s much more elusive than Tom Brady.

Russell Wilson is the NFL’s highest-paid player this year for good reason. The 31-year-old currently leads the league with a 114.9 QB rating. In Seattle’s last game before their bye this week, they took down their NFC West rivals, the previously unbeaten San Francisco 49ers, in an 27-24 overtime thriller. Wilson was exceptional, going 24-of-34 for 232 yards and a touchdown, and adding another 53 yards on the ground.

Defensive tackle Fletcher Cox said the line has to continue to up their game as they prepare for Seattle.

“I think the main thing for us is to go in, correct the mistakes," Cox said, "and get ready because we have another good football team coming to town next week.”

The good news for the Eagles’ lackluster offense is that the Seahawks haven’t been as defensively sound. They rank 23rd in total defense, and have allowed 372 yards per game. But that doesn’t necessarily mean Carson Wentz and any of his receivers or running backs can make plays.

The Eagles are one game back in the NFC East, with Dallas beating Detroit on Sunday and moving to 6-4. The Eagle will face off with the Cowboys again right before Christmas, but they have to win some games in the meantime for that matchup to mean something.

What you need to know about the Eagles

  1. The strength of the Eagles’ defense wasn’t enough to beat the Patriots. Carson Wentz, Zach Ertz, and the rest of the offense came up short when it mattered most. Les Bowen has more in his game story.

  2. When Lane Johnson left the game with a head injury, the rest of the offense fell apart. Bob Ford writes about the right tackle’s injury and its ramifications for the offensive line in his column.

  3. Despite injuries, and struggling wide receivers and running backs, quarterback Carson Wentz bears some blame for Sunday’s loss, Jeff McLane writes.

  4. The Eagles defense toughed it out, and made things much more difficult for Tom Brady than they did in the Super Bowl two years ago. Paul Domowitch has more insight into the Eagles’ D.

  5. The running game disappeared halfway through the game. EJ Smith writes about how the Eagles threw their offensive “recipe” in the trash.

  6. The Eagles lack a downfield threat on offense, but David Murphy asks whether it’s too much to ask for just one big play.

  7. Check out Domo’s report card for the Eagles, and give out grades of your own.

  8. Who get a thumbs up, who gets a thumbs down? Jeff has the answers.

  9. Marcus Hayes explains how the late Bill Lyon, the beloved former Inquirer sports columnist who died on Sunday, would have delighted in telling a story about this Eagles loss, and season.

From the mailbag

The Eagles don’t seem to have enough weapons and firepower at wide receiver to back Carson Wentz. Is that something they can fix by next season or are they doomed to be undermanned in that area for years to come? — @dannmaal via Twitter

Hi there, Dan. Thanks for asking. I’m sure this is something that’s been on the minds of many Eagles’ fans, especially as they watched the passing game sputter on Sunday.

I don’t know if the Eagles can “fix” this problem entirely, but they can certainly improve. I mean, it’d be difficult for them to have fewer offensive playmakers than they do right now. Of course, Alshon Jeffrey is out with an ankle injury, and perhaps the veteran could miraculously return as his dynamic former self. Same goes for DeSean Jackson after the injury-prone 32-year-old recovers from regular-season-ending abdomen surgery.

The Eagles would be wise to pick up an offensive playmaker in the draft. Perhaps even Miles Sanders’ former teammate, Penn State star wide receiver KJ Hamler, if he declares for the draft at the end of this season.