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Wild Card Round Comparisons: Quarterbacks

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By Paul Bowman, Sports Talk Philly Editor

Leading up to the Eagles match-up with the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday, Sports Talk Philly and Eagledelphia will compare the personnel of the two teams each day until gameday is here.

In this edition of our week-long comparison, we will look at the quarterbacks that the Eagles and Seahawks will field on Sunday.


Philadelphia QBs | Carson Wentz, Josh McCown, Nate Sudfeld

Carson Wentz is in the midst of a hot streak after leading the beaten down Eagles into the playoffs with very few skill position players healthy and only half of his offensive line able to play. Over the course of the season, he has compiled 4,039 yard and 27 touchdowns all while being the first Eagles passer to surpass 4,000 yards and the only QB in NFL history to reach the same mark without a receiver with 500 or more yards. He also added 243 yards and a touchdown on the ground while allowing just 7 interceptions.

Of course, Wentz's numbers are hampered by drops on so many deep passes and game winning touchdowns. Suffice to say that Wentz should probably have a couple hundred more yards and a handful more touchdowns with competent receiver play early in the season.

On the flip side, Wentz struggled to hit some open receivers early in the season and put the ball on the ground 16 times while taking 37 sacks. That is behind one of the top offensive lines in the game and is often time simply a result of Wentz holding on too long rather than poor line play.

Behind him, the Eagles have the giddy journeyman Josh McCown. McCown seems to be an uplifting presence for the team on the sideline and in the locker room, connecting well with the team, especially the young receivers. McCown had been an average quarterback for most of his career on teams that were essentially the worst in the league, so the expectation would be that he is at least as good as he was then if he were to enter the game. His relationships with the young guys would likely be an asset going into a game as those are essentially all of the people he would be throwing to with the exception of Dallas Goedert and the potential return of Ertz or Agholor. McCown looked really good in the preseason with many of these same players.

McCown has career stats that average out to 2781 yards, 15 touchdowns and 13 interceptions across a 16-game season.

Behind him is a still unknown talent in Nate Sudfeld. Sudfeld has drawn interest from other teams and has done well in limited snaps, but hasn't played many regular season snaps.


Seattle QBs | Russell Wilson, Geno Smith

Russell Wilson was on the MVP path for much of the beginning of the season, but fell off a bit toward the end. While no longer considered an MVP candidate, the Seahawks superstar threw the ball for 4110 yards and 31 touchdowns with just five interceptions and eight fumbles. On the ground, Wilson has been more conservative this season, rushing for just 342 yards. While that number is down from his career average of 522, he also managed to score three touchdowns with his legs.

Behind Wilson, the Seahawks have veteran Geno Smith. Smith has some potential, but has never really shown it. His best year came in his rookie season with a Jets squad that wasn't totally awful. He went 8-8 with 3,000 yards and a 12-21 touchdown to interception ratio. He also fumbled 8 times. Over his career, he has thrown an interception once every 25 pass attempts a statistic that was improved by playing a complete game without an INT with the Giants in 2017.


Edge

The Eagles have a steadier backup option in Josh McCown compared to the turnover-prone Geno Smith, but this match-up really comes down to the two starters.

Wilson would have to be the top choice over the entire season, but recency bias comes into play here. Comparing the two in their last five games, Wilson has averaged 234.6 yards per game with a completion percentage under 64% while totaling seven touchdowns and two interceptions. Wentz, meanwhile, has averaged 301.8 yards with a completion percentage over 66% and a total of 10 touchdowns and one interception. Rushing-wise the two are fairly even; Wentz has averaged 11 yards while Wilson has averaged 14.2. The damaging stat for Wentz is that he has eight fumbles in those games compared to Wilson's two.

Another factor to consider in this is new injuries. The Eagles lost Brandon Brooks and that may pressure Wentz more while the Seahawks lost a whole stable of running backs that makes Seattle reliant on Wilson's passing.

It is a really close call, but in this match-up, I am taking the Eagles because of Wentz's improvement in recent games. The fumbles are a concern, but Wentz has been the better passer as of late and the Eagles figure to have running backs that can take some pressure off of him to allow that success to continue while the Seahawks will need to place more emphasis on Wilson's passing game at a time where he is just in a bit of a slump.



  QB RB WR/TE OL DL/LB DB ST
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Seahawks - - - - - - -

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