Seattle Seahawks at Philadelphia Eagles (-1, 48 o/u)
After a decisive Thanksgiving Day beat-down over NFC East foe Dallas, the Philadelphia Eagles (9-3, 6-0 home) are looking to make a statement today when reigning Super Bowl champs the Seattle Seahawks (8-4, 3-3 away) visit Lincoln Financial Field.
If the Eagles are going to have success this afternoon, it will likely come via the tried-and-tested method of using the run-game to set up the pass. Unless Seattle is focusing some of its secondary resources on stopping the rush, Philly QB Mark Sanchez will have a hard time making throws.
For Philadelphia, that makes running back LeSean McCoy key. In the last two games, the speedy back has been at the top of his game, rushing for 289 yards, combined.
Head coach Chip Kelly was confident that last year’s leading rusher would find his form after a slow start. Kelly said, “I think when people talked about him [negatively] earlier in the year, I felt very confident with him. I think that is showing.”
If the Seahawks are forced to focus on the run, some lanes may open up for Sanchez in the passing game. However, the former USC Trojans will be facing a Seahawks defense that has limited opposing QBs to a 65.0 passer rating in the last six games. Last week, star defensive back Richard Sherman picked up his second and third interceptions of the season.
Sanchez said, “You [can’t] spend too much time worrying about one guy, they have so many playmakers. We’re gonna have our hands full, gonna have to really turn it up.”
The Seahawks enjoyed their own Turkey Day dismantling of a divisional foe, cruising past the 49ers, 19-3, and covering as one-point dogs. The week before that, Seattle beat division-leading Arizona by the same score.
“We had a really nice Thanksgiving around here,” Carroll said. “Our players had a nice ballgame and a nice break here, too, getting ready for this week. So we’re in good shape and looking forward to a terrific matchup. Exciting time of year.”
After a somewhat sluggish 6-4 start to the season, many are declaring the Super Bowl champs “back” thanks to a two-game winning streak. However, today’s game in Philly – where the Eagles are a perfect 6-0 on the year – will be a true barometer of Seattle’s current status.
Sherman, who was named NFC defensive player of the week, is confident his team has turned a corner.
“We’re having a good time,” Sherman said. “We’re dedicated to one another right now. When you’re on the field playing for one another, we’re playing like some nine-year-old, ten-year-old kids, not worried about the outcome, not worried about individual stats or anything like that. When a team’s playing like that, we’re really hard to beat.”
This matchup pits two gritty defenses against one another, which will keep the score close and lower than expected. That’s why taking the under (48) is the right play.
(Photo credit: Mike Morris (Flickr) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.)
Let's have fun and keep it civil.