Five Eagles to watch in showdown with Seahawks

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The Eagles are just two days away from what could be their most important game of the season. A showdown with the Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink field will not only test the character of this team, but highlight who can really step up in big games on what’s still a very young and hungry team. The birds will need big games from everyone on the roster, but here are five in particular who simply have to step up on Sunday.

Nelson Agholor
The former first round pick has fell victim to his fair share of criticism this week. After a game in which Nelson Agholor played in 91% of snaps, catching just two passes for seven yards, the Eagles Offense has become heavily reliant on Jordan Matthews and Zach Ertz in the passing game.

As perplexing as Nelson Agholor is, it simply doesn’t make financial sense to cut him for quite some time..but that doesn’t mean his spot as a starter is safe.

It’s been a disappointing season for the second-year receiver, but if he can attack this game with a chip on his shoulder and have a strong game against one of the league’s most intimidating Defenses..then it may restore some hope for a receiver plagued with problems and underwhelming play.

Carson Wentz
At home, the Eagles rookie quarterback is unbeaten..but on the road, it can often take a while for Wentz to settle down. The opening drives of road games have been hampered with some wobbly throws, poor decisions and turnovers..and now Wentz enters the most hostile environment in the league.

The development of Carson Wentz from both a mental and physical standpoint has been incredible..and if he can walk into CenturlyLink Field, limit turnovers and place a focus on ball security, it will show a completely different side to the game of Carson Wentz that very few quarterbacks possess.

With audibles going out of the window, leadership and chemistry will be of the upmost importance for the Eagles quarterback..and if he can lead this team to successful drives, retaining the accuracy we’ve been stunned by and limiting turnovers..it might just be his most impressive game of the year.

 

Halapoulivaati Vaitai
The Eagles fifth round pick has found his feet very quickly in the NFL after struggling immensely in his debut..but the Seahawks will pose a very different challenge.

Ranking second in sacks, the Seahawks pass-rush has been ruthless and despite having success against a similarly schemed Dan Quinn Defense a week ago, this will truly determine how far along Vaitai is in his development.

Carson Wentz will need as much time in the pocket as possible on Sunday in order to combat the twelfth man..and Vaitai is absolutely imperative to that.

A big game from “Big-V” could be a difference maker against the Seahawks, but a bad one could be heavily detrimental.

 

Fletcher Cox
After such a stunning 2015 campaign, the bar was always high for Fletcher Cox..but by the standards of many, he’s yet to perform to a level deserving of his groundbreaking paycheck.

This is where big-time players make their big money. In games where a team’s success could be dependent on the ability of a player they invested heavily in, Cox simply needs to dominate.

While he’s been double and triple teamed which has hurt his production, Cox has still come up with some big plays and often “alley-ooped” to Brandon Graham.

But if Fletcher Cox can run rampant against a weakened Seattle Offensive Line, it could provide just enough momentum for Doug Pederson’s Offense to dictate the pace of the game.

 

Ryan Mathews
For the first time since week 3 of 2015, Ryan Mathews rushed for over 100 yards. The Falcons fell victim to a stunning performance from a back who looked like he was looking to prove a point after being held to a “goal line back” in recent games.

The Seahawks give up an average of 96.8 yards per game on the ground, but this is a game where if he can produce and put the fumbling concerns to bed, Ryan Mathews can cement his role at the top of the pecking order.

The committee backfield has seen a variety of shapes, leaders and direction in 2016..but it’s lacked a consistent lead back. The expectations are now high for Mathews, but if he can deliver..not only will the Offense fare much better against a rampant Defense,  but will help him secure the lead back title.

 

 

Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

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