Proof that you don't need a revolutionary offense to bust chops in the NFL, the Seahawks' only real novelty is a hyper-mobile quarterback. Getting past him, there's a beastly running back, some decent wideouts, and a handful of strong offensive linemen. This is an offense that could have existed in the league 15 years ago, but it's far from behind the times. In the offensive-firepower'd 2014, it gets mondo results.
Argue all you want that the defense puts the offense in position to get the job done (and they do their part), the Seahawks have topped 20 points in nine of their 12 games. Oddly enough, Seattle's undefeated when they score 19 or less, and are 5-4 when topping 20. The defensive had kinks to work out, namely regaining Bobby Wagner from injury, but with that settled, the offense's road to efficiency is paved through simple competence.
Wilson's already surpassed his career high in rushing yards, sitting at 679 with a puncher's chance of clearing 1000, just like Michael Vick did in 2006. Wilson's ability to escape the pocket is the element of danger the basic Seahawks offense needs, especially as his burly running backs bruise up the tackling defenders. Wilson's passing numbers are simple (15 touchdowns, five picks); in the win over the Giants, the quarterback ran only three less times than he threw.
KEY STAT: Since the start of November (five games), Wilson has thrown just five touchdown passes to two interceptions.
First, it's said Lynch isn't returning to the team next season. Then there's the issue where he gives brusque answers to the media. Now there's retirement talk floating. "Beast Mode" could be seen as a distraction when he's done most everything in his power to avoid being one. On the field, he's still a downhill nightmare, clearing 100 yards in three of his last four games, including a four-touchdown performance against the helpless Giants. We'll see if those smoothies have calcified the chestbones and ribcages of Eagles defenders.
KEY STAT: In six out of 12 games, Lynch has topped five yards a run, peaking with 6.67 against the Giants.
To demonstrate how stripped-down the Seahawks passing game is, look at Baldwin, the team's leading receiver. 519 yards in 12 games (43.3 yards per game) is more than pedestrian, as is the fact that he has just one 100-yard day to his credit this year (123 in the loss to the Rams). Only four times has Baldwin even cleared 50 yards. It's not a guaranteed easy day for the Eagles secondary, since any Seattle receiver can be made a threat, but Baldwin demonstrates the innecessity of the individual to this team.
KEY STAT: Baldwin's two touchdown catches are tied for second most on the Seahawks, behind Lynch's team-leading three.
Former Pro Bowler Okung is highlighted as the man at ground zero of the Eagles' suddenly-powerful pass rush. The left side of the line is where Bill Davis' group brings its strongest push, and left tackle Okung will have his hands full. Mostly, Okung's had himself a quality season, allowing just 14 hurries in the 11 games he's played, and isn't on the hook for any quarterback sacks. What that last number says about Wilson's scrambling ability is unknown, but Okung's been solid for this team, usually in the run.
KEY STAT: In the last two games to vaunted defenses in Arizona and San Francisco, Okung has allowed only one pressure: a hit to the 49ers.
Four sacks, two easy picks, and a key fumble recovery told the story of a bad Cowboys holiday. Philadelphia now sits second in the NFL, and tops in the NFC, with 42 sacks, and one of only two NFC teams to even have 30 (The Vikings have 35). The degeneration of Tony Romo into "Bad Romo" during that game was more telling than anything, with the crowd's holiday cheer growing more and more silent through demoralization.
Can this Philadelphia defense do the same to Wilson's offense? You figure Mark Sanchez and LeSean McCoy will have their hands full with the Legion of Boom and a tough run defense respectively, so Bill Davis' group has to do their part. Philly's 38.07 percent third-down percentage will need to come in handy, and do its part to keep Wilson and Lynch on the sidelines as spectators.
Since the Eagles pass rush caught fire against the 49ers, Cox has been the driving force for a number of bad days for left-side linemen. Joe Staley, Jake Long, and Taylor Lewan have had some of their worst games of the season with Cox making the push. Even Dallas and their proud line ended up the victim of the push around both edges. Generally, when Cox gets through, the line's weaknesses become very evident.
KEY STAT: Cox is the only Eagle defender to play 200 or more snaps (676) and not miss a single tackle.
Another reason the quarterback's blind side is coming under attack against the Eagles has been Cole, still flourishing at the linebacker position. As the left side of the line collapses through the efforts of Cox and Cole, the quarterback is moved off of his point, and has difficulty re-setting his feet in time before making a throw. For Cole, with 23 hurries, 12 hits, and 6.5 sacks on the season, his aggressive nature benefits others as well.
KEY STAT: Cole has been penalized eight times in 12 games, oftentimes for encroachment.
Allen cleaned up on Thanksgiving with two takeaways; one off of Brandon Boykin's well-excuted forced fumble of Cole Beasley, and the other a late interception to throw more kindling into the Dallas dumpster fire. The safety's atoned quite a bit since letting John Brown breeze past him in the loss to the Cardinals, playing strongly in nationally-televised wins over the Panthers and Cowboys. Wilson's increased reliability on tight ends Tony Moeaki and Cooper Helfet will find Allen covering some unfamiliar foes.
KEY STAT: Allen has recovered three fumbles this season; he never recovered a fumble from 2010-13.
Statistics from Pro Football Focus were used to write this story.
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