The Seahawks defense is less daunting this year because star cornerback Richard Sherman, safety Kam Chancellor, and defensive end Cliff Avril are out. Still, this won't be an easy game for Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz and the offense. The Seahawks have the eighth-ranked defense and are allowing 311.7 total yards per game. The Eagles' best chance of attacking it will be through the air, where the absences of Sherman and Chancellor hurt the Seahawks. They still have all-pro Earl Thomas at safety, but the rest of the secondary is not as imposing. Jeremy Lane and Shaquill Griffin are the starting cornerbacks, with former Eagle Byron Maxwell also in the mix. Bradley McDougald takes Chancellor's place. The Seahawks have kept opponents under 200 passing yards since Sherman's injury, but Wentz has been one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. He'll look to connect with Alshon Jeffery, who has five touchdown catches in four games. Zach Ertz will continue to be a big factor, especially with Chancellor out. Ertz had a 57-yard touchdown called back in Seattle last season.
The Seahawks' front seven is one of the best in the NFL. Linebackers Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright are Pro Bowlers, and they're effective both against the run and the pass. The matchup to watch will be defensive end Frank Clark against Halapoulivaati Vaitai. The Eagles' left tackle must play well against Clark or else Wentz will be under duress all night. Michael Bennett will be blocked by Lane Johnson, who is the Eagles' best offensive lineman. Bennett leads Seattle with 7.5 sacks, while Clark is second with five sacks. The Seahawks acquired defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson from the Jets before the season, and he'll be a challenge for Stefen Wisniewski in the interior.
The Eagles have had success running the ball, and they'll try to establish the ground game again with LeGarrette Blount leading the way and Jay Ajayi and Corey Clement also part of the backfield. They rank second in the NFL with 147.5 rushing yards per game. The Seahawks allow only 98.4 rushing yard, which ranks ninth in the NFL. Wagner and Wright lead the Seahawks in tackles.
The Seahawks offense is all about quarterback Russell Wilson, who has either thrown or run for 26 of their 27 offensive touchdowns this season. Wilson might be the Eagles' toughest challenge yet, and his ability to hurt teams through the air and on the ground will require defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz's unit to be alert. Wilson has completed 62.3 percent of his passes for 3,029 yards with 23 touchdowns and eight interceptions. He also leads the Seahawks with 401 rushing yards. The Eagles have the advantage along the lines, but Wilson can escape pressure and also is effective running backward to buy time and create plays. The Seahawks acquired Duane Brown at the trade deadline. He's their left tackle and will have to block Vinny Curry and Derek Barnett. Look for Fletcher Cox to challenge Oday Aboushi in the middle, although center Justin Britt will help. Germain Ifedi blocks on the right side, where Brandon Graham and Chris Long rush.
Doug Baldwin is Seattle's top receiver with 58 catches for 698 yards. Baldwin, Paul Richardson, and Tyler Lockett are all capable of big plays, so the Eagles cornerbacks will be tested. Ronald Darby is in his third game back from injury, and Jalen Mills continues to play at a high level. Lockett can play on the outside and in the slot, but his matchup with Patrick Robinson will be an important one for the Eagles. Tight end Jimmy Graham is one of the best in the NFL, especially in the red zone. Graham has eight touchdown catches this season and Wilson looks for the former basketball player's size advantage in the end zone. Malcolm Jenkins will cover his former New Orleans teammate.
The Seahawks don't have the strong running game they've relied upon in the past. Their six running backs this season have combined for 215 carries and 694 yards, and if you take away the production of injured rookie Chris Carson, they average only 2.9 yards per carry. Eddie Lacy (2.6 yards per carry) gets the most work, but look out for J.D. McKissic. Wilson's running is their best ground option. The Eagles have the No. 1 rush defense and can make teams one-dimensional, but that might not be the best path against Wilson. Middle linebacker Joe Walker is questionable with a stinger and veteran Dannell Ellerbe could see his first action of the season in base defense.
That was the Eagles' average margin of victory in the last four games. It's the first time since 2004 that the Eagles have won by at least 20 points in four consecutive games. The Eagles' last three wins have been by 28 points for the first time in franchise history. The Eagles have had only four games this year decided by single digits. That's a major difference from the Seahawks, who have had eight games decided by single digits and whose four losses this season have been by a combined 20 points.
Zach Berman: Seahawks 24, Eagles 23
Jeff McLane: Eagles 24, Seahawks 19
Les Bowen: Eagles 21, Seahawks 17