BLUE FRIDAY MATCH UP FOCUS, Game Previews, NFL

The Blue Friday Matchup: The Philadelphia Eagles

Why do we keep losing!??? (AP Photo/Tom Gannam)

Seahawks, time for your national close up…Are you ready?

This is going to be the strangest matchup on the schedule in my opinion. There’s the whole Pete Carroll Vince Young thing, the Jason Babin Twitter rant, and the smack talk from the Eagles players on how they will “Blow them out”. For me, I see an Eagles team that I assumed would be a 11-5 or better team. They currently sit tied with the Seahawks at 4-7, and are quickly coming apart at the seams. From the DeSean Jackson drama, to the investment in Mike Vick as the long-term QB, nothing is working out for the free agent magnet Eagles. Contrast the dysfunctional Eagles with a Seahawks team who has performed exactly like I predicted they would. Up and down they go, each week I watch expecting the worse, and hoping for the best. This young team is talented, but undisciplined and the 4-7 record fits them at this point in Pete Carroll’s tenure.

Impact Injuries:
Seahawks: WR Sidney Rice (IR), RG John Moffit (IR), RT James Carpenter (IR)
Eagles: QB Mike Vick, Wr Jeremy Maclin

Who to watch when the Eagles have the ball: 

Wr DeSean Jackson vs Seahawks pass coverage.

People seem to forget that the Eagles have a pretty good receiving corps even without Jeremy Maclin. Jason Avant, and Riley Cooper have had success this year, and TE Brent Celek will make it tough to stack coverage on DeSean Jackson. With our size at corner, this is a bit of a nightmare matchup for Brandon Browner and Richard Sherman (if he plays). DeSean Jackson is so fast, and agile that we may see double moves, crossers, and turn out routes to attempt to get the bigger corners in trouble. With the Seahawks season long issues in the penalty department, this is a sound strategy. This could be a long day for the secondary.

Advantage: DeSean Jackson

RB LeSean McCoy vs the Seahawks front 7:
The Seahawks have been stellar in the run game for the majority of the year. I don’t think DT Alan Branch gets the credit he deserves for this production. DE Red Bryant get’s a lot of love, and rightfully so, but with Branch out last week, the Seahawks allowed a no name RB from Washington to run wild. Additionally, McCoy is currently averaging a ridiculous 8.7 YPC on runs off left tackle. This means that Chris Clemons will be a huge factor here. How he holds up will be something to watch for.

Advantage: Seahawks

TE Brent Celek vs Seahawks LB’s in coverage

This is a matchup that concerns me. Brent Celek has been a favorite target (63 Targeted passes this year) and the Seahawks have proven game after game, they can’t match up with pass catching TEs. With McCoy, and Eagles QB Vince Young working play action, boot, and waggle games, It may be very difficult to contain Celek unless the Seahawks run defense is STOUT.

Advantage: TE Brent Celek

Who to watch when the Seahawks have the ball:

QB Tarvaris Jackson vs CBs Asante Samual & Nnamdi Asomugha.

In my humble opinion, Tarvaris Jackson should not be playing anymore this season. The pectoral injury is clearly reached the point that he’s not effective, and can’t throw accurately past 10 yards. This concerns me greatly considering the skill the Eagles have at the corner position. With Sidney Rice’s placement on season ending IR, that’s just one less target for a weak-armed QB to throw to. Mentioning the 38 degree temp at kick off seems like piling on but it is what it is. The Seahawks better establish themselves on the ground or Jon Ryan will be punting on 80% of the Seahawks possession.

Advantage: Asante Samual & Nnamdi Asomugha

The Seahawks running game vs Eagles front 7.
Marshawn Lynch and the Seahawks run game has been on a bit of a tear the last four games with a 4.3 YPC average, and three games over 100 yards. That is a great sign, and I think that trend continues against the Eagles defensive front. The Eagles started out the year with their DE’s in what is being called a “Wide 9” alignment. This basically means that both DE’s are lined up a full gap to the outside shoulder of the Offensive tackle.

This gives them a much better rushing angle and it makes it very difficult for slow-of-foot tackles to get into position to stop the pass rush. However, it leaves the Eagles very vulnerable with gaping holes for off tackle and guard runs. I don’t anticipate them staying in this alignment once Marshawn Lynch starts to get it going, but I will predict it burns them at least once for a big gain.
Fun Fact: The Seahawks offensive line averages 6.6, and 314 lbs, while the Eagles defensive front is a smaller 6.2 , 285. The Eagles are very light at the DE position (Cole, Babin) and the Seahawks should run early, often, and consistently.
Advantage: The Seahawks running game

Seahawks Offensive line pass protection vs Eagles Pass rush
DEs Trent Cole, and Jason Babin would normally be a big problem in the passing game. Thing is, I doubt we pass more than 20-25 times, so their impact should be greatly minimized. With Tarvaris Jackson’s injury, The Seahawks would be wise run a lot and keep their passing attack focused on throws that Tarvaris Jackson can make without too much pain. This will mean Zach Miller, and Doug Baldwin should be the go to guys tonight.

Advantage: Draw (by default)

Final thoughts: On paper this should be an easy win for the Eagles. But on paper, the Eagles should have at least 8-10 wins by now. The Eagles remind me of the Daniel Snyder Redskins a while back that would stock pile big name free agents and do absolutely nothing. In Philadelphia, the Eagles fans are calling for the head of Andy Reid on a stake, Eagles players have lacked the work ethic to do great things, and DC Juan Castillo is still trying to figure out what the heck a defensive coordinator is supposed to do.

At Century Link, in front of the 12th Man, I think the Seahawks will be ready for their close up. Just don’t expect the media coverage to discuss anything other than the Eagles failures after it’s all said and done.

Prediction: 17-13 Seahawks

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About Will

Football fanatic, former coach, and obsessive blogger. Proud member of the Seahawks 12thManNation. Follow him on twitter @12thManScribe

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