November 30, 2017
The Seattle Seahawks defense hasn't been quite the same this year.
In large part, that's been due to injuries, specifically to the secondary with both Cam Chancellor and Richard Sherman missing significant amounts of time. Like Sherman, defensive end Cliff Avril is on Injured Reserve and each week it seems like another member of their defense is popping up on the injury report.
That, however, doesn't mean it hasn't been good.
Currently, despite those injuries, Seattle still ranks in the Top 10 in the NFL in points allowed (9th), yards allowed (8th) and takeaways (10th). The Seahawks also rank 10th in passing defense and ninth in yards per attempt (5.6), as well as ninth in rushing defense and ninth in yards per carry (3.9).
Over their last four games, two of which came on the road, the Seahawks have allowed an average of 273 yards and 20 points, with a 34-point outburst by the Atlanta Falcons in Week 11 slightly skewing the latter. And in all but three of their games this season, they've held opponents under 20 points.
It's not quite The Legion of Boom we've been accustomed to over the past several years, but it's still a formidable defense.
Just don't tell Eagles running back LeGarrette Blount that.
"We'll play them just like we play everybody else," he said when asked how the Birds offense is preparing for Seattle's D. "They're not anything special or anything different from any other team."
The Seahawks' defense is not the best one the Birds have faced this season. When they faced Denver back in Week 11, that was supposed to be one of the best – if not the best – defense in the NFL ... and the Eagles torched the Broncos for 51 points. This time, however, the Eagles will be on the road, playing in the same hostile environment where they lost, 26-15, a year ago.
On Sunday night, it will be a much different Eagles offense taking the field in Seattle. Last year, the Birds were 16th in points scored; this year, they're first. Last year, they were 22nd in total offense; this year, third. Second-year quarterback Carson Wentz went from a rookie to a seasoned vet in one offseason. The Eagles have made significant upgrades at the skill positions. And Doug Pederson went from being considered one of the worst coaches in the league to one of the best.
So will the Eagles make the Seahawks look like "everybody else" – i.e. those teams they've been consistently shredding for 30-plus points? To find out, we'll have to wait until Sunday night, when the Birds could take the field as your 2017 NFC East champs (should Dallas lose on Thursday night).
"It'd be huge for us – we want it," Blount said of the NFC title. "Obviously, I can't say that we need anything, because we hold our own destiny with us only having one loss, and that's to an AFC team. So, obviously, we want to clinch and we want to try to get to as close to home-field advantage as possible because that's the best way to get to where we want to go."
And who doesn't want to go to Minneapolis in February?
Follow Matt on Twitter: @matt_mullin
Like us on Facebook: PhillyVoice Sports