The Eagles benefited from a balanced offense last week against the Atlanta Falcons, but it will be more difficult to gain 429 total yards against the Seattle Seahawks. Even though their scheme is similar to Atlanta's, the Seahawks have one of the NFL's best defenses. The Seahawks are No. 9 in net yards allowed with 338.4 and No. 2 in net points allowed with 17.8. The key for the Eagles offense has been to get a consistent running game, but that will be a challenge against a team that holds rushers to 3.5 yards per carry.
Ryan Mathews rushed for 109 yards and two touchdowns last week and needs to remain a big part of the game plan. The Eagles will try to control the clock. Look for Mathews and Wendell Smallwood to lead the ground attack, with Darren Sproles still playing the most snaps of all the running backs. The Seahawks' rush defense is anchored by linebackers Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright, who are the team's top two tacklers and among the best linebackers in the NFL. The Seahawks also can use safety Kam Chancellor in the box as an extra linebacker.
Carson Wentz has been inconsistent on the road, and Sunday will be his toughest test. The Seahawks are allowing 241.7 passing yards per game. Ordinarily, teams need to be worried about star cornerback Richard Sherman. But the Eagles have struggled getting Nelson Agholor involved against most teams - not just all-pros like Sherman. The Eagles must rely on slot receiver Jordan Matthews and tight end Zach Ertz, both of whom are dealing with injuries. Chancellor and Earl Thomas form the best safety combination in the NFL and can patrol the middle of the field, making it a challenge for the Eagles in that area.
Sproles is also expected to be a key part of the passing game. He was thrown passes a season-high eight times last week, and his run-after-the-catch ability could help the Eagles create more manageable second- and third-down opportunities. The Seahawks are down top pass rusher Michael Bennett, but they still have Cliff Avril (9 sacks) and Frank Clark (7.5 sacks).
The Eagles have been among the NFL's top defenses in the NFL this season, and they'll have a chance to show whether they're better than Seattle's unit. The Seahawks average only 21.4 points and 341.9 yards per game, but they have the personnel to be dangerous. Quarterback Russell Wilson has completed 66.8 percent of his passes for 2,442 yards, 10 touchdowns, and two interceptions. A knee injury kept him from running as often as he did in past seasons - he has 60 rushing yards this year - but Wilson is getting healthier and is as dangerous as almost any quarterback in the NFL.
When Wilson passes, his top targets are Doug Baldwin and Jimmy Graham. Baldwin caught three touchdown passes against the New England Patriots last week and has 50 catches for 629 yards this season. Graham, who is coming off a major injury last season, had made a first down on 71.4 percent of his catches. The Eagles need to figure out how to cover the talented tight end and might need to rely on safety Malcolm Jenkins - Graham's former teammate in New Orleans. The Eagles secondary will have both Nolan Carroll and Leodis McKelvin healthy enough to play, with Jalen Mills also taking on a big role.
The Eagles' advantage comes at the line of scrimmage. Seattle's offensive line is its weakness, and the Eagles' defensive line could have a big day. Fletcher Cox will be blocked by first-round pick Germain Ifedi, with potential mismatches on the edges. Left tackle George Fant is an undrafted rookie who was a basketball player until two years ago, and he joined the starting lineup only in Week 7. He will try to block Connor Barwin. The Seahawks have a competition between Bradley Sowell and Gerry Gilliam at right tackle. Brandon Graham could have an edge over both players. Wilson has been sacked 19 times this season.
Seattle waived leading rusher Christine Michael last week, a bold move that shows confidence in rookie C.J. Prosise and the health of Thomas Rawls. Prosise had 17 carries and seven receptions against New England, and Rawls will be in the lineup for the first time since Week 2.
After investing in their special teams this past week, the Eagles will be tested by Seahawks punt returner Tyler Lockett. He averages 9.8 yards per return and has a long of 62 yards.
That's the Seahawks' home record since 2012, when Russell Wilson took over as quarterback for coach Pete Carroll. Seattle is tied with Denver and New England for most home wins during that period. The point differential in the games is plus-440, which trails only New England. They have 70 takeaways and a plus-34 turnover differential during that span. The Seahawks have won all four home games this season. The Eagles have played at CenturyLink Field three times. They won, 27-20, in 2002, and 26-7 in 2008, and they lost, 31-14, in 2011.
Seahawks 19, Eagles 13