It will be the second meeting between the two teams in 2020, and both teams and their quarterbacks have gone in a very different direction. The Seahawks are 7-3 whilst the Eagles are 3-6-1; Russell Wilson is deep in the MVP discussion, Carson Wentz has fallen off a cliff and is one of the worst statistical quarterbacks in the NFL. It is going to be a real mismatch on Monday Night Football, but the Eagles are 3-0 in primetime this season, so every cloud.
The Season so Far
Seattle started the season on fire and was 5-0. Their offense was averaging over 30 points, and Wilson was the talk of the NFL and the early front runner in the MVP conversation. They scored 35 on the Patriots and 31 on the Dolphins. Many people, including myself, felt they were going to walk through the NFC. With the way, Wilson was playing it looked like they could not be stopped, even with one of the worst defenses in NFL history.
However, in the following four games they lost three, and it is easy to argue that Russ was at fault for all three defeats. The Seahawks dramatically lost to Arizona in a Sunday Night Football clash which was arguably game of the year. However, the game will be remembered, for Wilson's three interceptions and that famous DK Metcalf tackle to prevent a pick-six. The Seahawks would then easily dispatch the 49ers before losing to the Buffalo Bills and fellow divisional rivals and playoff hopefuls the LA Rams. In both games, Wilson turned the ball over multiple times, and the Rams game he had an unforgivable interception as they lost by seven points.
Their defense impressed in the Thursday Night win against the Cardinals last week as they seem to be picking up momentum. They have given up 23 and 21 points in their previous two games against two of the NFL's most dynamic offenses. With their defense beginning to improve, if they can get both units playing to their best, Monday could be a longer night than it is already looking likely to be.
The Biggest Threat- Russell Wilson
Since entering the league, Russ has dominated the Eagles and has gone 4-0 during the Doug Pederson era. Wilson is one of the most dynamic quarterbacks in the NFL being mobile and also showing that he is comfortable in the pocket. Throughout Jim Schwartz's four-year spell as defensive coordinator, there is one thing that he has never managed to deal with and always struggles to handle. Mobile quarterbacks.
The Seahawks will know this, and Wilson will also realise the weaknesses of Schwartz's defense. The defensive line is way too aggressive, and we have seen that on any kind of misdirection play or quarterback run this year. Do not be shocked to see Russ dominate on the ground on Monday Night as the Seahawks will open up another dimension to their offense.
The Eagles have already struggled to contain Lamar Jackson and Daniel Jones' running ability and considering Wilson is the best dual-threat quarterback in the league, the defense is going to have a huge task to stop him. If the Seahawks can get their run game going, Wilson will have a lot of joy in the passing game. It is going to be Schwartz's most difficult game to plan for this year.
What to Target- The Seahawks run defense
The Seattle run defense has been one of the best in the NFL, but when they have given up 100+ rushing yards this season they are 2-2 and all four games have been decided by one score. If the Eagles are to keep this game close, they are going to need to keep Wilson and the Seattle offense off the field and have long extended drives. They need to rely upon the run game more often than they have all season. Pederson has never dedicated a game to the run this season. He looked like he would against the Browns but swiftly moved away after Miles Sanders' fumble.
It was criminal how Pederson only gave Sanders less than five carries in the second half on Sunday, and the 2019 second-round pick has never carried the ball 20 times since being drafted. For someone that has averaged 6 yards per carry this season, he needs to be trusted with carrying the rock 20+ times in several games to see how the Eagles offense would work that way. If the Eagles are to remain competitive against Seattle, getting the run game going will hopefully work towards doing so.
Relying on Sanders, whilst also using Boston Scott and Jordan Howard will give the Eagles their best chance for a competitive game on Monday. Pederson needs to realise that if the run is working, then stick with it instead of quickly shifting to the pass, and never going back to the run game. It has caused the Eagles far too many issues this season, and something he needs to have caught on to if he is going to have any hope of saving his job.
Who else to watch out for:
Chris Carson- Carson will be returning from injury this game, and he will be facing an Eagles defense that has struggled to contain the run all season. Carson will be playing his seventh game of the season on Monday and has averaged a little over 50 yards per game. However, he has also been a big help for Wilson in the passing game. If Carson gets early joy in the run game and the red zone, it could be a difficult night for the Eagles defense.
Carlos Dunlap- For a team that has plenty of stars, it is Dunlap that has been an X-Factor on this defense over the last few weeks. Since joining the Seahawks Dunlap has caused plenty of issues for opposing offensive lines, and even got the game-ending sack against Arizona last Thursday. Seattle now has its true number one pass rusher, and after seeing what Olivier Vernon did to the Eagles offensive line last Sunday, it is hard to see how they will cope with Dunlap charging at them. He could cause plenty of issues if the pass protection is not up to standard and also have a multi-sack game.