The Seattle Seahawks travel to face the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday in a matchup of NFC powerhouses. Both the defending champs and the NFC East-leading Eagles have won in back-to-back weeks, and both teams will be fully rested after having 10 days off after playing on Thanksgiving.
Both of these birds know how to run the ball. The Seahawks stand atop the NFL with 2,023 rushing yards, of which an astonishing 679 belong to quarterback Russell Wilson. Why Wilson is not receiving more attention for what could be a 1,000-yard season on the ground is beyond me. Philly is currently sixth running the ball, led by LeSean McCoy’s 1,018 yards, but it will be difficult to break through Seattle’s fifth-ranked rush defense.
A big cause of worry is how Mark Sanchez will fare against arguably the NFL’s best cornerback duo of Richard Sherman and Bryon Maxwell. In the first quarter, look for the Eagles to attempt success via the ground game to provide Sanchez opportunities to utilize the play-action.
A back-and-forth first half will begin with Jeremy Maclin shaking loose of Sherman and reaching the end zone on a deep pass play. The Seahawks will fire right back, thanks to a well-executed drive by Wilson that will culminate in a Marshawn Lynch touchdown.
At the beginning of the second quarter, Malcolm Jenkins will break his two-month interception drought. However, the Eagles will fail to fully capitalize on the turnover, managing just a field goal. Field goals won’t defeat a team that is just 10 months removed from hoisting the Lombardi Trophy. The Seahawks will answer with a field goal drive of their own right before the end of the half.
The second leg of this encounter will be all Seattle. Now that the Arizona Cardinals are fading, the NFC West is the Seahawks’ for the taking; they will make quick work of Philly in the second half. In the third quarter, Sherman will take advantage of a Sanchez mental lapse, picking off his third pass in two games.
The Seahawks won’t blow the Eagles out of the park on the scoreboard, but it will be clear which team is superior team. Remember, this Seattle defense has allowed only a field goal in each of their last two games. This is exactly the type of game that Sanchez would struggle in when he was starting for the New York Jets, and he will return to his old ways in the third and fourth quarters.
Final score: Seahawks 19, Eagles 10