Thursday Night Football: Battle of Struggling Teams
The Eagles and Seahawks have one thing in common this season, they are both struggling. With the talent the Eagles have on their roster, it is even more disappointing to see where they are on the standings. The Seahawks are in a rather pedestrian division filled with below average teams excluding the Niners. The Eagles have the top rushing attack in the NFL behind LeSean McCoy's career year and rank third in total yards. The redzone however continues to be an issue for the Eagles offense. The Seahawks have an average offense but a terrific defense.The Seahawks are also a very tough team to beat on Qwest Field, but with the talent the Eagles have on both sides, technically they should win. If you go by technicalities though, the Eagles should be much better then 4-7.
When The Eagles Have the Ball
Offensive coordinator Marty Morhinweg has been consistent in his inconsistencies. Even more surprising was that he and defensive line coach last week got into a bit of a skirmish on the sidelines of their game against the Patriots. It was the most amount of fight the Eagles have shown all season, and sadly it wasn't from the players. In order for Vince Young to have a better game and be set up for a victory, they need to consistently hand the ball off to LeSean McCoy. McCoy has been very consistent and very productive all season for the Eagles, but for whatever reason his carry numbers are very sporadic. One game he could have 20+ carries and 125+ with multiple touchdowns which almost always coincides with an Eagles win. Then the next game McCoy will have 10-15 carries and the Eagles lose. There is no reason to have Vince Young or Michael Vick throwing the ball 35-40 times a game, especially when the wide receiver group has been struggling even more so, the best wide receiver on the team (Jeremy Maclin) has missed three straight games. The Eagles will have a hard time running on the stingy defense of the Seahawks, a defense that is determined to stop the run, but they have to keep at it to keep the defenses honest. Then when you set up the running game, that's when the play-action that the Eagles love to do so often is most effective. The play-action against a team like the Seahawks could be incredibly beneficial as neither of the corners on Seattle has any kind of speed, they are mostly tall and physical corners which will hurt the Eagles in short yardage situations.
When the Eagles are on Defense
Dear Juan Castillo,
You have the best group of corner backs in the entire NFL that excel in man to man coverage, why on Earth do you run soft zone coverage so frequently? Play man, let Nnamdi Asomugha, Asante Samuel, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie get psychical with the wide receivers at the line. The defensive line has shown that they can create pressure without bringing blitzes, but because you consistently play zone coverage quarterbacks get the ball out quickly. Let the talented corners you spent money on do what they are best at.
One of the fan's that want you fired
When the Seahawks have the Ball
Marshawn Lynch, Marshawn Lynch, and you guessed it, more Marshawn Lynch. Lynch has been playing extremely well in the past four weeks where he has been averaging 26.5 carries a game, 110.75 yards per game and in that span he has rushed for three touchdowns. The Seahawks do not have an explosive offense by any means, the quarterback has still been a problem that will likely be addressed during the draft or free agency but the offense relies on field position. They rank in the bottom half for a majority of the offensive categories but have played much better in the past four games due to their strong defense and opportunistic offense. The Seahawks have played well against tougher teams in the past four games as well.
When the Seahawks are on Defense
The Seahawks have to be physical with the Eagles "punt returners" as Bill Belichick puts it. DeSean Jackson can easily be negated with a safety over top and bump and run coverage while if he does get some running room, there is no one that can catch him. The Seahawks defensive line is an active group which could cause problems for the Eagles below average offensive line, especially on the interior. Ex- Eagle Chris Clemons leads the Seahawks in sacks with eight while the rest of the team isn't nearly as effective at getting the quarterback to the ground. The Seahawks rank as one of the top defenses in stopping the run due to the fact that their is great chemistry on the defensive side of the ball, they don't have any real standouts aside from safety Earl Thomas, but they have a solid group.
Once more the Eagles on paper are the favorite to win this game but they have not been winning the games that they should have. The Seahawks have been playing better as of the last few games but still in terms of talent do not match up with the Eagles. The Eagles need to silence their critics, most notably the fans on the "FIRE ANDY" brigade, and a win on national television would certainly help in doing so. I expect a close game, but the Eagles are just to explosive and to fast for the Seahawks slow defense. The Seahawks struggles at quarterback will also be their undoing.