Seattle Seahawks vs. Philadelphia Eagles: ITB Scouting Report
The Eagles (3-6-1) will host the Seattle Seahawks (7-3) under the bright lights of Monday Night Football.
The Seahawks enter Week 12 riding high off a thrilling 28-21 divisional win against the Arizona Cardinals on Thursday Night Football.
Although the defense is spotty in certain areas, the supercharged Seattle offense is firing on all cylinders behind a balanced attack that has the Seahawks tied for first place in the NFC West.
On the flip side, the Eagles will attempt to wrangle their third consecutive home victory despite growing dysfunction and despite deploying their 10th different offensive line configuration in 11 games.
Eagles Offense vs. Seahawks Defense
LT Jordan Mailata vs. DE Carlos Dunlap Dunlap, the team’s most effective pass rusher, plays the “Leo” role on Seattle’s defense – or weakside defensive end. The lengthy defender wreaked havoc on Jason Peters in Week 3 as a member of the Bengals, but the athletic Mailata has a better chance for success. Dunlap, the Seahawks’ top pass rusher, wins with hand usage and speed. His veteran savvy gives him a distinct advantage over an inexperienced Mailata.
WR Travis Fulgham vs. CB Tre Flowers: If Fulgham is to get back on track, this would be the week. After an impressive four-game stretch, the second-year sensation fell back to Earth, yielding two catches for 16 yards on 12 targets the past two weeks. The Eagles must move Fulgham around and get him involved early to capitalize on a plus matchup against Tre Flowers. For most of the season, the passing game has largely lacked balance and cohesion, often leading to communication breakdowns, untimely drops, and blatant misfires. That needs to change on Monday night.
Eagles Defense vs. Seahawks Offense
DE Brandon Graham vs. RT Brandon Shell/Cedric Ogbuehi: It doesn’t sound like Shell (ankle) will be ready to go, so look for veteran Cedric Ogbuehi to fill the void. Ogbuehi, who finished the game for Shell against Arizona, struggles with pad level and power rushers. Hardly a technician on the perimeter, Ogbuehi will have his hands full combating Graham’s bull rush, motor, and leverage.
CB Avonte Maddox vs. WR Tyler Lockett: Lockett remains among the NFL’s most under-appreciated pass-catchers. He can take the top off a defense or break off chunk plays after the catch. The quick-twitch, explosive receiver also offers inside-outside versatility. With Darius Slay busy defending D.K. Metcalf, Maddox will likely draw Lockett in coverage.
Maddox, who matches Lockett’s size and short-area quickness, has been a desirable target for opposing quarterbacks. His eyes sometimes get him into trouble, and against a multi-faceted weapon in Lockett, poor eye discipline can lead to back-breaking plays. Lockett primarily lines up in the slot, so he’ll undoubtedly see Nickell Robey-Coleman as well, but the long speed and athleticism of Maddox could prompt an increase of snaps on the inside.
Seahawks backup running back Travis Homer remains on the mend, and it appears the primary kick returner will miss another game. Cornerback D.J. Reed, who has filled in for Homer, has registered 94 yards on three returns this season. Like Homer, Reed is an explosive, compact runner with the ball in his hands. However, while he started at cornerback last week, Reed has been sidelined with a foot injury, leaving his status for Monday night in question.
If Reed can’t go, wide receiver/punt returner David Moore will likely step in. Moore has managed 91 yards on eight punt returns while adding 47 yards on three kick return opportunities.
The Eagles are aiming for their third consecutive win at Lincoln Financial Field after defeating the New York Giants (22-21) and Dallas (23-9) during Weeks 7-8.
Jason Kelce has started 99 consecutive regular-season games, which is the longest streak among NFL centers as well as the longest by an Eagles center since the 1970 merger. The last center with 100 consecutive starts was Chris Myers from 2007-14 (123).
Eagles DE Josh Sweat: Sweat’s blend of athleticism, quickness, and length is the perfect storm for 35-year-old Duane Brown. Sweat collected seven tackles (two for loss) and a sack in 34 snaps last week – just four fewer than Derek Barnett. Arguably the team’s top pure pass rusher, Sweat will have a chance to replicate his disruption on Monday night.
Seahawks WR David Moore: Moore has been held in check over the past two weeks – four catches for 21 yards on five targets – but the speedy No. 3 receiver is fourth on the team in pass targets (31). Whether he lines up inside or outside, Moore aggressively attacks the football in the air, can separate downfield, and is tough to defend in the red zone. With all the attention dedicated to Metcalf and Lockett, Moore could post a stat line similar to his Week 9 outing in Buffalo (4-71-1).
The perpetually putrid Seahawks offensive line will have its hands full against a formidable stable of Eagles pass rushers.
Veteran left tackle Duane Brown provides a steady presence as a blindside protector, but his best years are behind him. The burst and savvy of edge rushers Derek Barnett and Josh Sweat is a less-than-favorable draw for Brown. However, the matchup to watch will be the relentless Brandon Graham against replacement-level starters in right tackle Brandon Shell or Cedric Ogbuehi.
The battles along the interior also play heavily into the Eagles’ favor, particularly against rookie right guard Damien Lewis and center Ethan Pocic. Last week, Lewis played center, as Pocic missed the past two games with a concussion, and G/T Jamarco Jones started at right guard.
Regardless, Fletcher Cox, Javon Hargrave, and Malik Jackson should have little trouble generating penetration up the middle and flushing Wilson out of the pocket. Graham and Co. should reap the benefits.
The Seahawks have been idle since Nov. 19, so there’s a chance they start flat, allowing the Eagles to keep things interesting in the early goings. However, the high-octane Seattle offense will eventually find its footing and force the Eagles to become pass-heavy. The Eagles’ makeshift offensive line and propensity for mistakes when pressing will resurface, and the Seahawks will pull away late.
Seahawks 31, Eagles 20
– Andrew DiCecco (@ADiCeccoNFL) is a Staff Reporter/Content Producer for InsideTheBirds.com. Listen to the latest "Inside The Birds" podcast with Adam Caplan and Geoff Mosher for a full Eagles-Seahawks preview: