Nov. 22, 2016
Eagles vs Seahawks Keys and Prediction
The Eagles travel to Seattle for a big game against the Seattle Seahawks. Seattle has hit their stride recently as quarterback Russell Wilson is finally healthy from his ankle and MCL injury, which is not very good news for Eagles fans. To add to that, running back Thomas Rawls returns from a fractured leg he suffered in week 2. Finally healthy and having the home crowd behind them, how can the Eagles possibly find a way to win?
It is hard to believe, but the Eagles do match up well against this Seattle team, which I will break down later on as the keys to the game are discussed. The key will be to exploit those matchups and be able to give the Eagles the best chance to win this game. As long as they can keep it close, than they can pull it out at the end. It will be tough, but the Eagles can do it. Continue on for keys to the game and a prediction.
Weather (According to the Weather Channel)
51 degrees and cloudy with a chance of rain. Wind light. The kicking and punting game will probably not be impacted too much, but if the rain gets heavy at all, than teams will need to rely more on the run.
How to Watch/Listen the Game (In Philadelphia and Surrounding Suburbs)
Announcers: Jim Nantz, Phil Simms and Tracy Wolfson
Radio: 94.1 WIP
Announcers: Merrill Reese, Mike Quick and Howard Eskin
Game Time: 4:25 PM EST
Out: S Terrance Brooks (Hamstring)
Questionable: WR Jordan Matthews (Back)- Reports are Jordan Matthews will play; TE Zach Ertz (Hamstring)
Eagles WR Jordan Matthews, questionable for Sunday vs Seahawks due to back spasms, is expected to play, per source.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) November 20, 2016
Out: DE Michael Bennett (Knee); OLB Kevin Pierre-Louis (Hamstring)
Keys to the Game:
Establish the Run
A huge reason why the Eagles won last week was their ability to establish the running game with Ryan Mathews and Wendell Smallwood. They will need to do the same thing to the same or better extent if they want a chance at pulling out a win. Seattle`s defense is very similar to the defense of the Falcons when it comes to scheme because the Falcon`s coach, Dan Quinn, was a former Seahawks defensive coordinator. While the Seahawks defense possesses more talent, the Eagles will be familiar with the scheme they will see in today`s game. The things they were successful with last week will hopefully translate over to this week. At the same time the Eagles offensive line will need to win the battle at the line of scrimmage. A tough task, but it must be done if the Eagles want a chance at pulling out a win. No matter what happens early on, the Eagles must not abandon the run. If Ryan Mathews has 10 yards after one quarter, the Eagles need to stick with the run and keep pounding the rock. And most importantly dominate time of possession.
Air it out
While it may be important to throw some quick passes early on to get Carson Wentz into a rhythm, there is no way that the Eagles can beat the Seahawks if they throw the ball short. Seattle is too good at tackling and those short routes will go nowhere. Carson Wentz will need to take shots down the field if he wants to have any bit of success on Sunday. I would much rather have Wentz throw a pick 50 yards down the field than 5 yards. It will also be interesting to see how much Carson Wentz targets Richard Sherman. But regardless of that, someone like Bryce Treggs will need to be able to get open down field and let Wentz air it out. Something that will be much easier if the Eagles can establish the run and set up passes off of play action.
Tight Ends must get involved
All three tight ends, Zach Ertz, Brent Celek, and Trey Burton must get involved in the passing game. The tight end position has been very quiet this season and needs to wake up this week. Zach Ertz has had two solid performances the past two weeks, but has yet to be a factor in the red zone. If and when the Eagles find the redzone, they need to make it a priority to find Zach Ertz. Also, I would expect Doug Pederson to send out some three tight end sets to try and create mismatches.
Win the battle up front
One of the biggest mismatches in today`s game that the Eagles must take advantage of is their defensive line against the Seattle offensive line. The Eagles defensive line is one of the best in the NFL while the Seahawks offensive line falls on the other end of the spectrum. The Eagles must shutdown the Seattle running game of Thomas Rawls and C.J. Prosise and force Russell Wilson to throw. But not just throw, but become a pocket passer. Which takes us to our next key.
Contain Russell Wilson
As mentioned earlier, Russell Wilson is finally healthy. Which means he will be back to having his supreme escape ability and ability to throw on the run. If the Eagles are able to shut down the run and make Russell Wilson throw the ball, they must contain and keep him in the pocket. This means the pass rush must stay disciplined. They cannot over pursue and leave lanes open up the middle and off the edges. When the Eagles rush Wilson, they will either have to use a spy on him or contain the edges. If the Eagles can contain Russell Wilson and keep him in the pocket, than the Eagles can get pressure on Wilson and make their secondary`s job a lot easier.
Win the field position battle
In a game like this that looks to be like a defensive showdown. Having good punts to pin Seattle deep will be crucial for the Eagles defense today. If the Eagles can win the little things like field position and time of possession than that will go a long way in an Eagles win.
While this is a game many see the Eagles of having no chance of winning, I feel the Eagles can keep this close for most of the game. If they can establish the run and win the battle in the trenches on both sides of the ball than this will be huge in factoring into an Eagles victory. If this game was at the Linc than I would say the Eagles would win. This will be a low scoring game that the Eagles will be in throughout. If the Eagles win it would not be a huge shock as they are and will show to be a pretty good team. Seattle will make a play late to pull away to a victory. Seattle wins.
Seahawks 23 Eagles 16