Game Preview - Seahawks vs. Eagles

Seattle and Philadelphia have met 11 times, with the Eagles holding a 6-5 edge all-time. The Seahawks have won 4 of the last 6 meetings, including the last two, both played in Philadelphia. Sunday will be the Eagles second trip to Qwest Field.

Injury Report

Philadelphia Eagles

Out: G Shawn Andrews (back), TE L.J. Smith (concussion)
Questionable: WR Jason Avant (trap)
Probable: WR Reggie Brown (groin), WR DeSean Jackson (shoulder), DE Juqua Parker (knee), RB Brian Westbrook (rib, ankle)

Seattle Seahawks

Out: QB Matt Hasselbeck (back), WR Deion Branch (heel), TE Will Heller (knee), DE Patrick Kerney (shoulder)
Questionable: FB Leonard Weaver (foot), LB Lofa Tatupu (groin)
Probable: WR Koren Robinson (knee)

Stats & Rankings

Philadelphia Eagles

Offense
Total: 8th (361.1 yards per game)
Passing: 4th (260.1 yards per game)
Rushing: t-23rd (101.0 yards per game)
Scoring: t-4th (27.7 points per game)

Defense
Total: 7th (287.3 yards per game)
Passing: 12th (197.9 yards per game)
Rushing: 9th (89.4 yards per game)
Scoring: 10th (19.6 points per game)

Turnover Ratio: t-2nd (+7)

Seattle Seahawks

Offense
Total: 31st (258.7 yards per game)
Passing: 32nd (140.4 yards per game)
Rushing: t-12th (118.3 yards per game)
Scoring: 24th (20.6 points per game)

Defense
Total: 27th (367.0 yards per game)
Passing: 30th (245.3 yards per game)
Rushing: 22nd (121.7 yards per game)
Scoring: 25th (26.3 points per game)

Turnover Ratio: t-24th (-4)

Five to Watch

Here are five items to keep an eye on when the Seahawks host the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday:

John CarlsonOpposing tight ends have fared well against Philadelphia (39 catches, 503 yards) this season. Carlson (still) leads the Seahawks in receiving, despite his role in the offense diminishing in recent weeks. It would behoove Mike Holmgren to get Carlson more involved this week.

Move Wallace Around– Few defensive coordinators can dial up blitzes the way Jim Johnson can. One way for the Seahawks to neutralize that would be to take advantage of Seneca Wallace's athleticism by moving him out of the pocket with bootlegs and play-action passes.

Feed Julius JonesI'll keep talking about this until the Seahawks get back to giving Jones the bulk of the carries, because the numbers simply do not lie. In the last month, the Seahawks rushing offense has gone from 2nd in the NFL to being tied for 12th. During that time, Jones' involvement in the ground game has been drastically reduced.

Below is a chart of each running back's carries during the last month.

Player

at NYG

vs. GB

at TB

at SF

20-M.Morris

0

4

6

11

22-J.Jones

17

12

7

6

42-T.Duckett

4

2

1

8

Contain Brian Westbrook – Last year, the Seahawks were reminded of how dangerous Brian Westbrook can be. Westbrook had over 200 total yards that day, including returning a punt 64 yards in the final two minutes to give the Eagles a chance at a go-ahead touchdown. Westbrook has accounted for 20% of the Eagles offense this season, despite missing two full games and most of a third. Seattle might want to keep Leroy Hill close to Westbrook all day.

Red Zone Defense – Seattle's defense ranks 10th in the NFL in red zone defense, and while the Eagles rank 5th in red zone opportunities, they rank 22nd in touchdown percentage. The Eagles 8th-ranked offense will to move the ball on Sunday, but if Seattle's defense can keep Philadelphia out of the end zone, they can keep this game close.

Programming Notes

FOX will place Dick Stockton and Brian "Pinkie" Baldinger in the booth at Qwest Field, with Laura Okmin providing reports from the sidelines.

Prediction

When I think about this game, I'm reminded of a line in the song "1921" from The Who's Tommy record where Roger Daltrey sings "I have no reason to be over-optimistic". For some strange reason, a Seahawks win this Sunday over the Eagles seems entirely possible to me.

Sure, the Seahawks will be without Matt Hasselbeck and Patrick Kerney. And yes, the Eagles are arguably the best 4-3 team in the National Football League and from a health, statistical and overall talent perspective, are the superior football team.

But the Seahawks are at home, have done well in recent years against the NFC East, particularly the Eagles. If the Seahawks defense can avoid giving up the big plays, make one or two of their own, and Seneca Wallace can repeat his 2nd half performance from the 49ers game, Seattle can take another step towards .500.

Prediction: Seahawks 24, Eagles 19

 

Brian McIntyre lives in the Boston area. In addition to writing for Seahawks.Net, Brian maintains his own blog (www.macsfootballblog.com) and charts games for Football Outsiders. If you'd like to e-mail Brian, you may do so here.


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