The Seahawks have forged a kind of mystique, the kind that usually only applies to legendary, perennial championship teams. Sure, Pete Carroll and the ‘Hawks are a serious contender every year…but he’s never had 20 straight winning seasons like Tom Landry, or racked-up Super Bowl appearances like Bill Belichick.
Still, there’s just something about Seattle when they’re at CenturyLink Field. Wait…what was that? Were you trying to say something about Russell Wilson? I can’t hear you, and my ears are bleeding.
Drowned out in the crowd noise, er, the hopeful attitude surrounding the 7-4 Seahawks is the bad news – the squad has lost 2 games in a row at home over the last 4 weeks. That’s rare, considering their venue is the loudest and most hostile building to visit in the NFC.
In fact, the ‘Gulls haven’t played a great game for over a month. The highlight of their season so far came 5 weeks ago when Wilson and Deshaun Watson had their epic duel, combining for almost 1000 yards of offense. Seattle won 41-38 that day, but hasn’t shown the same scoring punch since.
That’s bad news with the Eagles coming to town. Philadelphia has won 9 games in a row, has a bona-fide rising star at QB in Carson Wentz, and hasn’t given up a touchdown in 128:09 minutes of game clock.
Maybe it’s the mystique, maybe it’s the fans, or maybe there’s some obscure, tempting trend-line. But odds-makers are only giving Seattle (+6) points in a match-up that feels more like a TD or a 10-point spread.
Who: Philadelphia Eagles at Seattle Seahawks
When: Sunday, December 3rd, 8:30 PM EST
Where: CenturyLink Field, Seattle, WA
Lines: Philly (-6) at Seattle (+6) / O/U Total: (47.5)
The “Iggles” are accomplishing that rare feat in which an NFL team gets so good, it can dominate highly-motivated pro teams as if they were patsies in college or High School football.
National Football League teams tend to be equally talented, with better-coached units and a few superstars making the difference in close games. But the ’17 Eagles are whipping opponents up, down and sideways. They have not won by less than 3 touchdowns since October. Way back on 10/23, the Redskins visited the Eagles and managed to stuff LaGarrette Blount and the Philly ground game, but Wentz scrambled for 1st downs and hit TE Zach Ertz for 5 receptions and a TD as the hosts won by 10.
Maybe it’s the result from October 12th that has bookies nervous. On that evening, QB Cam Newton of the Panthers showed that the Philadelphia front-7 can be deceived at the LOS, rushing for 71 yards on just 11 carries. But there was no tricking the Eagle secondary, who intercepted Newton 3 times in a 28-23 win. Yes, the margin was less than 6 points, but A) it was a Thursday night crap-shoot, B) it was in Carolina and C) it was the finest performance of any group of DBs in the NFC East all season…so the M.O.V. doesn’t mean so much.
The Seahawks aren’t worried about Malcolm Jenkins or a ball-hawking secondary, because their style of offense prohibits teams from dropping back in coverage, and Wilson is coached not to take chances until he must. Seattle wants to slobber-knock every opponent 17-7 while making them feel like it was 50-7.
That means we can throw out the “close” finishes with recent victims Arizona and San Francisco. But the 2 most recent losses – to good-but-not-great Atlanta and Washington – are cause for concern.
Seattle is good at stopping the run, but they’re giving up almost 100 rushing yards per game compared to Philly’s average of 65. In fact, the Seahawks aren’t even out-rushing most teams in 2017. Wilson is the team’s leading rusher with less than 500 yards, and leading RB Chris Carson has just 208 yards, 1 rush of 20+ yards and 0 touchdowns. The defense, meanwhile, has over a dozen players out with injury – including star CB Richard Sherman.
Can Wilson improvise and find ways to move the ball? Sure. He’s the most underrated QB in the sport. But it would be a shock if the Seahawks reach the end zone more than twice.
The Eagles will keep the ‘Hawks ragged and inconsistent on offense, leading to field goals for the home team. What should be a close halftime score could be a great live-betting opportunity, because there won’t be any stopping Wentz’s offense when push comes to shove.
Take the Philadelphia Eagles to cover (-6) in the battle of the birds.