If you could key on one phase of the Eagles’ overall team effort to swing the upcoming Seahawks game toward Philly’s favor, I guess I would have to bank on the defense to hold the whole thing together.
“We’re going to Seattle to play our best game,” defensive end Brandon Graham said. “We know what we’re capable of doing as a defense, so it’s time to go out and do it. Russell Wilson is a great player and we know we have to get to him and do our jobs. I can’t wait. It’s a great opportunity for us.”
Fran Duffy of PE.com reminds us not to get too dazzled by the statistical likelihood of the Eagles’ limiting the Seahawks’ rushing yardage from scrimmage:
“The Seahawks’ rushing attack hasn’t been extremely productive this year, but run-action is still a big part of what the team does to set up the vertical passing game. Most of the “shot” plays downfield come off of some sort of backfield action.”
Who is the main deep threat the Eagles’ secondary needs to keep an EYE upon?
“The biggest deep threat, in my opinion, on this team is receiver Tyler Lockett. The second-year wideout from Kansas State has great quickness in and out of breaks and 4.4 speed to stretch the field vertically, but his ball skills are what stand out most on film. Lockett does such a great job of tracking the ball in the air and keeping defenders on his back side, meaning that in order for them to catch the ball they have to interfere with him. He’s so good at reeling in passes over his shoulder in the deep passing game, which makes him lethal on shot plays for this offense.”
TE Jimmy Graham is still a one-on-one matchup problem in the slot:
“It may be wheel routes where he can out-leverage defenders and go up and fight for jump balls. It could be down the seam in empty sets where he is on an island in the middle of the field with one defender. They want to get him one on one as often as possible, and with his size and movement skills he is a matchup problem for both linebackers and safeties.”
And on 3rd down situations, watch out for Jermaine Kearse setting a “legal” pick for Doug Baldwin:
“When it’s all said and done, the Seahawks are a shotgun spread passing team. One of their go-to concepts is the rub route where one player runs interference for another, a concept that’s especially prevalent on third downs.”
Finally, it almost goes without saying, Duffy reminds the Eagles defensive front what Job Number One is:
“The Eagles must keep Wilson contained in the pocket, because when he’s out on the perimeter he’s far more lethal with his arm than he is when he’s kept in confined spaces with bodies around him.”
Two Eagles players are listed as questionable, tight end Zach Ertz (hamstring) and wide receiver Jordan Matthews (back). After being a limited participant on Wednesday, Ertz did not practice on Thursday. Matthews did not participate in Wednesday’s practice, but was a limited participant on Thursday. Both were full participants on Friday.
Pederson said the Eagles will bring wide receiver Paul Turner on the trip as a backup plan if Matthews is unable to play.
Safety Terrence Brooks (hamstring) was officially ruled out for Sunday’s game in Seattle.
Guard Allen Barbre (hamstring), cornerback Nolan Carroll (concussion), linebacker Kamu Grugier-Hill (hamstring) and cornerback Leodis McKelvin (hamstring) were all full participants on Friday and are all expected to be in the lineup against the Seahawks.
For the Seahawks, Defensive end Michael Bennett (knee) and linebacker Kevin Pierre-Louis (hamstring) will not play against the Eagles.
Running back Thomas Rawls is making his way back after sustaining a fibula injury in Seattle’s Week 2 matchup against the Los Angeles Rams.
Tight end Luke Willson is preparing for his return after missing the last four games with a knee injury. Starting left tackle Bradley Sowell (knee) returned to practice last week and could be activated for Sunday’s game, but rookie tackle George Fant is expected to get the start anyway against the Eagles.