By Matt Szczypiorski, Sports Talk Philly Contributing Writer
Eagles fans are coming into Monday night’s game against Seattle just wondering if the pain and suffering will ever end. This Eagles season has become increasingly infuriating with every passing week, and there is little to no confidence left in the fan base. It also seems like the same can be said from within the team itself.
The Eagles, with an ugly record of 3-6-1, are now looking up at the team without a real name in the NFC East. The Birds gauntlet of a schedule continues on Monday night when they welcome in one of the top teams in the NFC, the Seattle Seahawks.
As if the fact that the Seahawks are tremendously better than the Eagles wasn’t enough reason for pessimism already, the history of this matchup will only further the negativity.
Dating all the way back to the Eagles miserable 42-0 loss to Seattle on a Monday night in December of 2005, the Birds are 1-8 in their last nine games against the Seahawks. Their lone victory came in 2008 against a 4-12 Seattle team. They’ve never beaten Russell Wilson, and lost to the Seahawks twice last year, but we don’t need to discuss that pain again.
Instead, I offer you this calming realization. Once you accept the fact that the 2020 Philadelphia Eagles are a truly awful football team and lower your expectations, it becomes a lot less frustrating to watch this team every week.
Eagles Offense vs. Seahawks Defense
I have a lot to say, so buckle up.
The Eagles offense is the definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
Every week, Doug Pederson elects to put the keys of the offense in the hands of a 27th ranked passing attack and a quarterback who leads the league in turnovers. All the while, he is abandoning a rushing game that ranked top ten in the league before last week's game. Why that specific distinction? Because the Eagles gave Miles Sanders two second half carries last Sunday. Two (2).
The Eagles are 7-18-1 when Wentz throws the ball 40+ times.— Victor Williams (@ThePhillyPod) November 28, 2020
I really want to hammer this point home. Sanders, even though he has missed some games this season due to injury, still finds himself second in the league in yards per carry. For the life of me, I will never understand the rationale behind not running the offense through him.
This is especially confusing with the offensive line struggling as mightily as they have been this season in the passing game. The Eagles lead the league in sacks allowed per game, to the surprise of no one. Even in last week’s game, every single replay that was shown was Carson Wentz getting hit right as he would let go of the football.
So, what do you do when you are dealing with a struggling offensive line? A smart coach would put an emphasis on running the football. Why, you ask? Because lineman love run-blocking. They love firing off the ball and being able to be the aggressor. In passing situations, they have to be passive aggressive, it’s just the nature of pass-blocking.
Knowing all of these facts, it is absolutely preposterous to me that Doug Pederson still elects to throw the ball 40 times a game. It makes no logical sense. Somebody make it make sense. I’m losing my mind typing these words and trying to make sense of this incompetence.
If Pederson is going to elect to throw the ball so much, at least play to Carson Wentz’s strengths. That’s not a long list this year, but one thing about Wentz’s game that has remained constant is his elite ability to throw on the run. As odd as it may seem, Wentz is so much more comfortable out of the pocket than he is in the pocket.
Is that a problem? Maybe. But at this point, the Eagles should be looking for something, anything at all, to make Wentz comfortable. They might be able to figure that out too, if only they had an offensive coordinator. Maybe if they had literally anyone else that could offer a different perspective in play-calling, things might change. What a joke.
Did someone ask for another punch to the stomach? I believe someone asked for an additional punch to the stomach.
Eagles RT Lane Johnson says his season is over. Says the inside of his ankle has collapsed.— Tim McManus (@Tim_McManus) November 27, 2020
That injury description gives me such strong “Sixers first-round pick” vibes. How does the inside of an ankle collapse? How? Only Philadelphia sports, baby.
As for the Seahawks defense, they have a lot of talent in terms of individuals, but they have not been able to put it together as a team. They are dead last in yards allowed per game as well as pass yards allowed per game, but they are fourth in rush yards allowed per game. Nobody tell Doug Pederson.
Logic says that the Eagles should be able to throw the ball against Seattle’s piss poor defense. However, I said the same thing when the Eagles played poor pass defenses in New York and Cleveland. So, I expect the Seahawks to look like the ‘85 Bears on Monday night.
The Eagles game plan for Monday night should be to try their best to be balanced. This is the exact same thing I said last week as well as the week before. Whether Doug Pederson follows through with it will be a different story.
- Can't execute basic plays— Thomas R. Petersen 🦅 (@thomasrp93) November 22, 2020
- Rolls out Wentz once
- No offensive creativity
- Refuse to play young guys
- Bench Mailata for JP
- Abandon run after 1 fumble, but keep passing despite 100 INTs
I don't know if it's Wentz, Doug, Howie, other coaches. I'm just tired. I'm tired.
Eagles Defense vs. Seahawks Offense
Despite all the frustration the Eagles offense has caused, the Birds defense has kind of gotten lost in all the hoopla. They played really well on Sunday against a mediocre Browns offense. However, they did keep an elite rushing attack intact for most of the afternoon.
The Eagles defense still ranks second in the league in sacks per game, averaging just over three sacks. Brandon Graham leads the team with seven sacks on the season, and would likely be the team MVP at this point in the year (not that there’s a lot of players to choose from).
A guy that I’ve been impressed with has been defensive end Josh Sweat. He doesn’t start, but is used mainly as a rotational pass-rusher in obvious passing situations. He has four sacks on the year, including one last week. He just always seems to be causing havoc in the pocket, even if he doesn’t get there in time for a sack.
Another guy that has made his presence felt the past few weeks has been linebacker Alex Singleton. He’s been on fans radars since his pick six against the 49ers in week four, but has really shined the last couple weeks because he’s been all over the field. The second year linebacker out of Montana State has 28 tackles in the last two games, and is playing himself into a possible starting spot on this team past 2020.
Lost in the loss: Alex Singleton is a legitimate starting NFL linebacker. He was fantastic today. #Eagles— Mike Kaye (@mike_e_kaye) November 23, 2020
One of the main problems with the Eagles defense this season has been their lack of takeaways. This was an issue last year as well, and may be worse in 2020. The Eagles have just three interceptions on the year, the last one coming in week eight against the Giants. The other two came at the expense of Nick Mullens, on throws that went directly to an Eagles defender.
The Eagles currently rank as the third worst team in turnover differential at -9. The combination of not being able to create turnovers on defense and having a quarterback who leads the league in turnovers is truly lethal.
It will not get any easier for the Eagles defense this week, as they will be going up against Russell Wilson and the Seahawks top five offense. Wilson is as dangerous a quarterback as they come. He has pinpoint accuracy, has an incredible deep ball, and can beat you with his legs if all else fails.
His weapons are just as good. Receiver D.K. Metcalf is quickly becoming one of the top playmakers in the league, as his deadly combo of size and speed will be unstoppable against the Eagles secondary. You may remember him torching the Birds back-end in both games last season.
Oh, and the Eagles passed on Metcalf for J.J. Arcega-Whiteside. The thought of Metcalf being a top receiver in the NFL for the next ten years is really going to twist the knife for Eagles fans.
think DK Metcalf's stat line next Monday in Philly will probably be around 4-300-4— shamus (@shamus_clancy) November 23, 2020
The game plan for the Eagles defense this week should be...does anyone have any suggestions? Obviously the best way to contain Wilson would be to get pressure on him, which is something the Eagles are good at. However, Wilson excels at avoiding pressure and getting the ball out before the rush gets there.
I don’t see the Eagles having an answer for Metcalf or his running mate at receiver, Tyler Lockett. Wilson is going to have a field day on Monday night.
This game is going to be ugly. Like, Eagles vs. Seahawks in 2005 ugly. I don’t trust the Eagles offense to do anything right now. I don’t trust Pederson as a coach or play-caller, I don’t trust Wentz as a quarterback, and I don’t trust any defense to stop Russell Wilson.
I’m keeping this short and sweet, because this game truly does not warrant a deep analysis.
Seahawks win, a-lot-to-a-little.
Time: 8:15 p.m.
Radio: 94.1 FM WIP
Online: NFL Gamepass