Sunday’s clash with the Seattle Seahawks may just be the Eagles most important game of the season so far..and with that comes a lot of speculation. Traveling to CenturyLink Field may be one of Carson Wentz’s toughest challenges to date, but can the Eagles cause yet another upset?
We’re now 14/35 this season in our bold predictions series, after predicting an upset at the Linc last week. Could this be the week in which we hit on all five of our predictions?
Fletcher Cox breakout:
It’s been a quiet season for the Eagles franchise DT so far, but his presence has still been heavily felt by opposing Offenses. These are the types of game however where big-time players make their money and earn their reputation.
Against a weakened Seattle Offensive Line, Fletcher Cox could be set to decimate the trenches..especially with Bennie Logan now back alongside him.
Cox has been without a sack since the tough loss to Detroit. Our first bold prediction is for Cox to get to Russell Wilson twice and rack up a season high six tackles.
Carson Wentz emerges
The Eagles rookie has been sensational at home, but with audibles limited on the road, he has often taken a while to settle in, throwing some wobbly passes and making uncharacteristic mistakes. With the twelfth man providing one of the most hostile environments in Football, it could be another tough day at the Office for Wentz.
However, the development of Carson Wentz from both a mental and physical standpoint has been staggering..and if the Eagles Offense can get rolling early and establish some momentum, it may just give him the surge in confidence needed to overcome the odds yet again.
The birds did a great job of establishing the run and balancing the Offense last week, which in turn gave Carson Wentz room to breathe. If they can find a way to push through the terrifying Seattle front four, then Wentz could once again have a lot of the weight taken off of his shoulders.
In the harshest environment against one of the toughest Defenses in the league, we’ll see just how far along in his development Carson Wentz truly is. Our prediction is that he will thrive and upset the odds for the second week in a row. Completing over 60% of his passes, throwing for over 200 yards and once again ending the game with no turnovers.
Jordan Matthews and Zach Ertz are officially listed as questionable for Sunday’s game..but if they’re active, the Eagles will be given a huge swing in momentum. Matthews has been the Eagles most efficient playmaker while a recent Zach Ertz breakout has been a long time coming.
The Seahawks have struggled in containing slot receivers this season. In their last six games, they’re giving up an average of 8.6 catches and 100 yards per game to receivers in the slot, and we all know how much attention Jordan Matthews receives.
Tyler Eifert, Travis Kelce and Jared Cook are just some of the Tight ends to fly in Seattle..and Ertz will be looking to add his name to that list. Our third bold prediction is for Matthews and Ertz to both have at least 60 yards of receiving and score a touchdown.
Offensive Line holds strong:
Seattle may rank second in sacks this season..but the Eagles Offensive Line has done more than impress without Lane Johnson. Vaitai, Wisniewski and Seumalo have all done great jobs in filling in when needed, but with Barbre back, the Line will have the best chance of success they’ve had for a while.
As things settle down, the only real concern will be the snapcounts and mistakes from Jason Kelce. But if the Line can tap into their chemistry that has developed since the debut of fifth round pick Halapoulivaati Vaitai, they may just be able to buy Wentz enough time in the pocket to find a rhythm.
Our penultimate bold prediction is for the ruthless Seattle pass rush to be held to five quarterback hits and three sacks on Carson Wentz, with Vaitai having learned from his baptism of fire against the Redskins and the line now in a much better position to hold firm.
Mathews climbs the Mountain:
Seattle give up an average of just 96.8 yards to running backs per game..but after a stunning performance against the Falcons that saw Mathews reclaim his throne as the lead running back, the Eagles backfield will be ready to take on yet another tough task.
Of course the last time that the Eagles faced a stellar Run Defense was back in week 3 against the Steelers..in which both Barner and Smallwood recorded their first career touchdowns en route to a dominant rushing performance.
The future of the Eagles backfield is unknown..but Mathews knows that big performances now will make all the difference in determining the direction that the unit heads during the offseason.
With Mathews running like a man possessed, we’re predicting for the lead back to rush for an average of 5 yards per carry, one touchdown and over 60 yards.
. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports