November 29, 2020
For the first time in two months, the Eagles will enter a game on Monday night not in first place in their division — and, to be honest, the biggest surprise is that it's taken this long. But that's life in 2020, especially in the NFC East. At 3-6-1, things don't appear to be getting any easier for the Birds, as they'll begin one of their toughest stretches of games all season in primetime when they host the Seahawks.
Not only is Seattle a six-point favorite according to TheLines.com, but they also haven't lost to the Eagles in their last six meetings — and quarterback Russell Wilson has never lost to the Birds, including beating them twice in the last year, once in the regular season and again in the playoffs. Both of those games were home games for the Birds, just like Monday night's game will be. Except this time, there won't be any fans in the stadium.
We've given you some "things" to watch, broken down the injuries, and offered up our own predictions — as well as rounded up some from the local and national media. Now, as we do every week, let's give you some numbers we'll be keeping an eye on in the form of our five over/unders...
[A quick reminder for those new to our over/unders: Unless it's explicitly stated, these are my own over/unders based on how I think the players/teams will perform on Sunday — and the advice that follows is where I would put my money if I had to. They are not all actual numbers you can bet on, but we'll let you know when they are.]
That's the current total being offered by all three sports books listed on TheLines.com. The Eagles offense is bad — and has yet to score more than 30 points all season — but not as bad as the Seattle defense, who is 28th in the league in points allowed. Combine that with the fact that the Seahawks offense is second in the league in scoring, and it's easy to see how this game hits the over. Seattle is likely going to score its fair share of points, so the real question here comes down to how many points the Eagles can put on the board. They certainly won't need to hit 30 points for this to reach the over, as Seattle has scored at least 30 in seven of their 10 games. They've also finished with at least 49 total points scored in every game but one this season. All the Eagles need to do is not go out and lay a total stinker on offense — which is certainly possible, but not very likely against this defense.
I wrote a bit more about Jalen Hurts reportedly getting additional snaps — with Carson Wentz on the sideline — against the Seahawks after taking first-team reps at practice this week. Suffice it to say, I don't think this is the right move, bouncing back and forth between two different quarterbacks won't allow either to get into a rhythm and could have a negative impact on not just one, but both of them. I think you either play Hurts or you don't. Maybe the time to fully turn the offense over to Hurts is coming, but the awful NFC East is keeping them in the race, so maybe this is the most we'll see all season. Remember that in the offseason when the Eagles have to make decisions but claim they didn't get to see enough from Hurts to make a decision. This is your chance to see what you've got. Don't waste it.
All that aside, the question here is just how much more involved Hurts will be on Monday night. If there was ever a defense to get him involved against, it would be this Seahawks defense, which is one of the worst in NFL history, especially against the pass. So far from Hurts this season, we've mainly seen him used as a rusher with Wentz lined up out wide. With Wentz off the field, allowing another receiver to enter the game, it would seem that the plan is to open up the playbook a bit for the rookie. But to hit the over here, it doesn't really matter what the play call is, it just matters that he's on the field.
After not appearing in the opener, Hurts has played at least one snap in each of the Eagles nine other games this season, with a high of seven coming against the Ravens. If Doug Pederson plans on giving Hurts a couple of plays here and a couple of plays there, then it's not hard to see that quickly adding up to a new season high and hitting the over. There's a reason the Eagles let this news leak, and I don't think it was to trick the Seahawks into questioning their defensive gameplan. Hurts is going to play.
Wentz has thrown for over 300 yards just once this season — in the Eagles' Week 7 win over the Giants — but if there's a team to bet on him doing that against the rest of the season, it's the Seahawks. They're allowing 343 pass yards per game this season, but I'm not convinced Wentz will be able to crack the 300-yard mark on Monday night. Why? Well, for starters, we already know that he's going to lose some of his snaps to Jalen Hurts, which already puts him at a disadvantage. Then there's the lack of weapons at his disposal, with Ertz still expected to miss another game. And on top of that, the Seahawks defense has actually looked slightly better in recent weeks, allowing over 300 yards in just one of their last four games. Oh, and the Eagles offensive line remains a mess with Lane Johnson lost for the season and an injured Jason Peters moving to right guard.
Anyone who's watched the Eagles defense play this year knows they struggle to stop the run against quarterbacks and wide receivers. They've been fine against opposing running backs, but other players have been killing them — and each week it seems to be a different play design that gets the better of Jim Schwartz's defense.
While Alex Singleton has been a breath of fresh air, the Eagles linebackers still stink. And that could be a problem against a quarterback who is as good as any at extending the play and, if no one's open, taking what the defense can give him with his legs. He doesn't often run designed runs, but he still averages over 35 yards per game on the ground, which should tell you all you need to know about his improvisational skills. With his receivers against this Eagles secondary, Wilson might be just fine finding open receivers all night and barely need to use his legs at all. But the Eagles front four can still put some pressure on opposing QBs, so the bet here is Wilson gets flushed out a few times in this one. He'll get half of these yards on one run, and will ultimately reach his season average.
Seattle is averaging exactly 2.5 sacks per game this season. The Eagles defense is giving up an average of 4 per game and has allowed at least three in every game but one this season. Furthermore, their situation along the offensive line is only getting worse. And the addition of Jalen Hurts to the offense will only throw things off more. The Seahawks will finish with at least three sacks on Monday night.
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