Over the first month of the season, Seattle averaged a stellar 35 points per game and QB Russell Wilson could do virtually no wrong, throwing 16 touchdowns to just 2 interceptions. Each week it seemed the Seahawks would score in bunches, but their opponent would without fail mount a great comeback only to fall short as the fourth quarter ended. Rinse and repeat.
But then week five came, and one could argue that Seattle has not been the same since. Seattle hosted Minnesota in a rematch of last year’s thrilling MNF game, and unfortunately for Seattle, this game was just as thrilling despite the Vikings carrying a dismal 1-3 record at the time. Wilson was his usual heroic self, tossing three touchdowns to one interception and leading Seattle on an unlikely last second touchdown during a sudden downpour. Minnesota held Seattle to just 27 points including being shutout in the first half. Seattle is 2-3 since that game, and Wilson has a much more pedestrian 11 touchdowns and 7 interceptions in the five games he has appeared in since.
Tough losses at Arizona, Buffalo, and the LA Rams have raised a lot of questions about Seattle’s true ability, while closer wins than they’d like over San Francisco and Arizona helped fuel those questions. This was supposed to be an offensive juggernaut, even if their defense was not able to stop the opposing offense regularly, what gives with the offense slowing to a pace of 29 points per game? Obviously it’s not realistic for a team to continue scoring 35 points a week, but to drop that down by an entire touchdown a week? That should also be unrealistic, but here we are.
Luckily, Seattle’s opponent this weekend is exactly what the offense has been looking for to get back on track to lighting up the scoreboard. Seattle has scored 30 or more points in seven games this season, winning five of them. Perhaps this week they will finally eclipse 40?
Speaking of the numbers 4 and 0, Seattle travels to Philadelphia this weekend, and Seattle is a perfect 4-0 against the Eagles since they hired head coach Doug Pederson and drafted QB Carson Wentz in 2016. It hasn’t mattered which team is hosting as Seattle hosted two games between 2016-17, Seattle won both by scores of 25-15 and 24-10. They played twice last year, with both games taking place in cold conditions in Philadelphia, and Seattle won both contests with identical scores of 17-9. Given their recent scores against Philadelphia it’s not likely they finally break 30 or even 40 against them, but you never know. The Seahawks haven’t scored 40 points yet this year, and the Eagles haven’t allowed 40 in a single game, but this could be the week that both happen.
The key advantage the Seahawks will have this week? Rest. They last played on Thursday 11/19 and this game won’t take place until Monday 11/30. That’s practically an extra bye week and a much needed bonus for a team on the mend.
Their most recent game against the Eagles was the same moment where anyone that had not already caught on to the pending greatness of DK Metcalf, it was finally in full view. 160 yards on seven catches with an average of 22 yards per reception and one touchdown. DK had seven touchdowns all of last season and narrowly missed 1000 yards, this year he already has nine touchdowns and is just 138 yards away from his first 1000 yard season with six games remaining. At his current pace, he’ll finish with something close to 1400 yards and 14 touchdowns, a rare second year leap from rookie with upside to every week superstar.
Let’s quickly revisit the 34 combined points Seattle scored at Lincoln Financial Field last season. You might say to yourself that this game will be different. The last two times, Seattle was injured virtually across the board, didn’t give Russell Wilson enough time in the pocket, and the defense left a lot to be desired. And their primary running back and backup were both hurt. Well, before I drag you out from under that rock you’ve been living under, let me say this – despite most of that still being true, I do think this game will be different. And despite most of that being true.
Sure, Wilson is getting hit or pressured at an alarming rate. And sure, Chris Carson has been dealing with an injury for weeks, Rashaad Penny has yet to suit up in 2020, and Carlos Hyde has been dealing with his own setbacks. The defense is allowing an alarming 28 points per game and 434 yards while the offense is barely scoring more than the defense at 31 points per game, and piling up 400 yards. Ok, that’s all the sky is falling stuff.
The good news is that the defense has been better in recent weeks as Jamal Adams has been healthy and in game shape, Carlos Dunlap and Damon Harrison have become further involved in the defensive gameplan, and the overall health of the starting defense has improved. Carson and Hyde are expected to be in the game Sunday, and even if Carson misses another week, at least Hyde will be available for the second straight game.
The Eagles are scoring 22 points per game and tacking on 330 yards, but they allow 25 points per game and 342 yards. The points for and against are near the bottom of the league, while the yards for and allowed are in the top half. So you have a team that can regularly slow the other side but can’t keep up when they do have the ball. Seattle has a pretty low turnover differential at +1, but that’s near record setting when you compare it to the Eagles’ -9. Only the Broncos and Cowboys have more possessions ending in a turnover than the Eagles do, and the Eagles are also in the bottom half of the league in adding possessions back via interceptions and fumbles.
You’ll hear a lot about how the Eagles have been pretty banged up too, and that’s absolutely true. The Eagles have had a revolving door at RB, WR, and TE, and the defense is not exactly talent-rich even when everyone is healthy. But which team hasn’t lost players due to injury? You can’t explain away a 3-6-1 record citing only injuries. At some point you have to hold the coaches and players accountable for being a circled win, and that’s what the Eagles have become. What is shocking is that this team is not exactly worlds different than the team that went 13-3 in 2017 and upset the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl despite starting backup QB Nick Foles after MVP frontrunner Wentz was lost late in the regular season.
Wentz has never been able to get back to the magic he so regularly created that season, and the expectations for greatness have started to evaporate as the questions mount as to whether he can be the QB the Eagles envisioned with the #2 selection in the 2016 NFL Draft.
The Eagles have been just good enough to be competitive in most games, but they have only left three games with a win while losing six and tying in another. They also haven’t faced an offense like Seattle is clearly capable of being, so don’t expect a low scoring snoozer. With Seattle having their own issues on defense, I would expect this game to feature a lot more points from either side than most are expecting. Perhaps a 21-17 halftime score followed by a 42-31 final score is the most likely scenario, but based on two games last year, it could also be a game decided mostly by field goals.
You can catch all of the game action this Monday night at 5:15 PM on ESPN.