Frustrating to watch. Periodically brilliant (especially against the Giants). Terribly injured. We’re talking about the Seahawks… AND the Eagles. The Eagles had their sights set on the Super Bowl this year after several high-caliber free agent signings. Newly-acquired quarterback Vince Young even dubbed Philadelphia “the dream team” in an over-cited quote because of the star power on their roster.
Along with Young, who is the team’s backup quarterback (but is currently starting because of an injury to Michael Vick), the Eagles signed Pro Bowl cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha, Pro Bowl defensive end Jason Babin, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Cullen Jenkins , Ronnie Brown, and Ryan Harris. The Eagles won the NFC East last season, and added what appeared to be enough talent to push them to the top of the NFC. To give you an idea of what these signings did for their defense, the Eagles were rated as the 2nd best fantasy football defense this year before the season – which signifies that they were predicted to have the 2nd best combination of interceptions, sacks, fumble recoveries, and fewest points allowed (only trailing the Steelers).
Unfortunately for the Eagles, things haven’t worked out so well. Star quarterback Michael Vick has failed to play as well as he did last year, though he has had injury after injury to various parts of his body. The Eagles have blown FIVE 4th quarter leads this season, and are arguably underachieving more than any team in the league.
What makes matters worse for Philly this week is they will be without Michael Vick, star receiver Jeremy Maclin, and cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. Additionally, NFL rushing leader LeSean McCoy is questionable for the game with a sprained toe. He says he will play, but he might be limited a bit.
I bet Seattle will focus on stopping the run (as usual) and force Vince Young to beat them. Seattle has somewhat of a weak pass rush, which doesn’t matter against Young. Young is at his best on the move, and was a prolific rusher in college. Blitzing him (which often forces him to rush outside the pocket) isn’t as good of an option as it might be against other quarterbacks. He was one of my favorite collegiate players ever. However, Young does not pass the ball with great efficiency, and has thrown more interceptions in his NFL career than touchdowns. Expect the Seahawks to play run and stay in heavy coverage to force Young to be a pocket passer.
Offensively, Seattle will be without the services of their talented receiver Sidney Rice. Rice was placed on the injured reserve list this week due to suffering two concussions just a few weeks apart. Tarvaris Jackson continued to struggle with his injured pectoral muscle last week, and hasn’t been at his best the last couple weeks. Because of this, I”d be shocked if the majority of the offense didn’t go through Marshawn Lynch again. Lynch leads the NFL in rushing since Week 9, and has scored a touchdown in his last six games. After a slow start to the season, I think Lynch has emerged as the central ingredient in the Seahawk offense, and could have a big game against the quick, but undersized Eagle defense.
The betting lines favor the Eagles by a couple points, but several ESPN experts have picked Seattle to win. Grab some popcorn and watch what has the makings of a very evenly-matched game.
About the Author
Written by Erik Olsoy
Erik was born in Columbus, Ohio during the only Ohio State football victory over Michigan in the 1980s, but moved to Washington state and grew up there. His loyalty to Ohio State remains strong, but his strongest allegiances developed toward Seattle sports. Though he recently graduated from Boston College, he has not yet been converted to the ways of New England Sportsdom, and only roots for the Red Sox against the Yankees because the Yankees are the root of all evil.