Backs against the wall, the Philadelphia Eagles’ defense is going to have to prove they’re the real deal against a fantastic Seattle Seahawks’ offense. With the Eagles’ offense struggling, the defense has held up their end of the bargain by only allowing 14.7 points in their last three games. Is that what they are or is it all a mirage caused by three games of poor quarterback play?
To give you an idea of what they’re up against, a broad overview of the Seahawks’ offense - coordinated by Brian Schottenheimer - shows that they routinely light up the scoreboard. They’ve only scored under 21 points once, which was against Baltimore and their top ten defense. In their last three games they’ve but up 27, 40, and 27 against the Falcons, Buccaneers, and 49ers respectively.
For the season the Seahawks are 7th in points per game, 7th in touchdown drive frequency, and 4th in the red zone. They’re also extremely efficient, ranking 4th in DVOA offense and boasting the 1st ranked DVOA passing attack. They’ve moved slightly off being one of the heaviest run teams in the league to one that features their best asset, Russell Wilson.
A good example of them featuring Wilson came against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Against the 1st ranked DVOA rush defense, Wilson had 43 pass attempts, the second most in 27 games since Schottenheimer took over as offensive coordinator in 2018. Wilson rewarded him by tossing it around the playground for 378 yards and 5 touchdowns.
Similar to the Bucs, the Eagles are perhaps too interested in stopping the run. Does that mean Schottenheimer will again go nuclear with his MVP-caliber quarterback? We’ll find out soon enough, but if he doesn’t it won’t be for lack of weapons.
On that note, it’s looking like wide receiver Tyler Lockett is expected to play on Sunday. Lining up in the slot for 70% of his snaps, Lockett ranks 2nd among near full-time slot receivers in yards per route run (2.48). Avonte Maddox struggled against Julian Edelman last week and will have to take a significant step forward to hang with Lockett. Then there’s the problem of handling rookie D.K. Metcalf. That’s no easy feat considering he’s 6’4”, 229 and runs a 4.33s forty-yard dash.
The best hope for the Eagles from a match-up perspective is their defensive line. The Seahawks’ offensive line is severely under performing and their best contributors are banged up. Getting Fletcher Cox lined up across from backup-turned-starter-due-to-injury center Joey Hunt as much as possible.
Pro Football Focus ranks the pass rush match-up for the Eagles’ defensive line as the 2nd largest advantage of all the Week 12 games. Wilson has been unconscious when under pressure this year, so they’ll have convert that heat into sacks to ensure the job is done.
We dig more into this match-up on The Kist & Solak Show #148! Listen to it on the media player below or click here if the player doesn’t load. New to podcasts?! Check out our guide on how to listen to BGN! FLY EAGLES FLY!