Match-Up Focus: Eagles vs Seahawks

PREVIOUS GAME RESULTS

2014 WEEK 14 SEA 24 PHI 14

2011 WEEK 13 PHI 14 SEA 31

2008 WEEK 9 PHI 26 SEA 7

Player to Watch – Allen Barbre – He returns this week from an injury.  He essentially has missed 2 1/2 games after leaving the Dallas game early.  Wiz stepped in nicely for him and with the way this line is playing I’m a little surprised the coaching staff so easily handed the job back to Barbre.  I understand you can’t lose your job to injury “technically” but if Barbre struggles I expect to see Wiz in there quickly.  Per PFF.com the Eagles OL as a unit is currently 2nd in the league behind the Dallas Cowboys.  Barbre personally grades out at 78.9 through 10 weeks.  He’s better in the run game at 82.4 vs the pass at 74.5 per PFF.com.  Barbre will have his hands full with this Seattle DL particularly Frank Clark.

Player to Watch – Ryan Mathews – I really like how Deuce and Doug handled the running backs last week.  Sproles was finally used how he was supposed to be used and Mathews and Smallwood handled the running duties.  Mathews finished with 19 carries for 109 carries and 2 TDs while Smallwood added another 70.  I want to see more of this against Seattle.  When Mathews has been giving ample carries he’s been solid.  There’s definite correlation between his number of carries and the Eagles wins.  Mathews needs 20-25 touches this week against Seattle for the Eagles to have a punchers chance.  He’s decent enough in the screen and swing game where he could catch 3-4 balls as well.  This Seattle defense is a physical defense.  It’s time for the Eagles to get just as physical on the offensive side.  Mathews can deliver some big hits and can be a handful to get on the ground.  When he’s played he’s graded out with an overall grade of 70.2 per PFF.com.  He has a grade of 67.8 in the run game and 74.0 catching the football.

Matchup to Watch – Eagles Skill Players (non WR’s) vs Seattle Defense (non CB’s) – I know that’s a very specific matchup but I think it ultimately could decide the game for the Eagles.    I don’t have a lot of faith in these Eagles WR’s outside of 3rd year pro Jordan Matthews.  He might be able to catch 4 balls for 30 yards we’ll see.  Most WR’s struggle against this secondary.  What I’m looking for is the other players to step up.  My eyes will be on Zach Ertz again.  He’s been outstanding the last 2 games catching 14 balls for 150 yards.  The Eagles will need the likes of Brent Celek and Trey Burton to step up as well.  I eluded to Ryan Mathews in the screen game but he will need to be a duel threat.  Doug needs to able to single Sproles on Seattle LB’s KJ Wright and Bobby Wagner.  These cats can run and cover sideline to sideline but Sproles is quick enough where he should be able to make some plays.

Player to Watch – CJ Prosise – The rookie running back from Notre Dame had little impact during the early portion of the Seahawks season as he dealt with an injury. Prosise made his presence known this past Sunday night in Foxboro as Seattle’s lead back. He carried the ball 17 times for 66 yards while also catching seven passes for 87 yards including a long of 38 yards. As a former wide receiver during his time in South Bend, Prosise brings a different dimension to the Seahawks backfield that veteran Christine Michael simply cannot provide. Pro Football Focus gave Prosise a grade of 80 against the Patriots which was the highest for a player on the Seahawks offense. The Eagles linebackers have been terrific in coverage this season, and even Mychal Kendricks had arguably his best game of the season last week despite continued limited snaps. The Seahawks offensive line is still one of the worst in the league despite the recent strides they’ve made. I could see offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell deciding to spread out the Eagles defense in this game putting it on Russell Wilson’s shoulders. In that case, Prosise figures to factor into the game plan heavily based on his success from last week.

Player to Watch – Jalen Mills – I already mentioned a rookie for the Seahawks who is making an immediate impact on offense. Now let’s focus on the rookie corner from LSU who in many ways has been a godsend to the Eagles banged up secondary. By no means am I saying Mills deserves to make the All-Rookie team, but at the same time he has a trait you desire in any cornerback in this league. Mills is not intimidated by any player he lines up against week in and week out. He’s squared off with some of the most talented players in the league this season including Julio Jones this past weekend. Mills takes his lumps, but you’ll never see him hang his head or give up on the rest of his teammates which Eagles fans love. According to PFF Mills allowed four receptions to Jones totaling 48 yards, and he currently ranks last in the NFL in yards per cover snap at 1.97. I realize the numbers may look bad for Mills, but I can’t help the fight he plays with. He’ll face another tough test this weekend potentially having to cover Doug Baldwin. Baldwin torched the Pats secondary last week for three scores after going a month without a touchdown. He has a much different skillset than Julio Jones, but his route running is among the best in the league.

Matchup to Watch – Tyler Lockett vs Malcolm Jenkins – Jenkins has all but assumed the role of nickel cornerback for this Eagles defense in the absence of Ron Brooks. I believe Jenkins is the MVP of the defense and would be the most difficult player to replace even above Fletcher Cox. He was a standout again in the Falcons game allowing four catches for only 32 yards. According to PFF, since joining the Eagles in 2014 Jenkins has only allowed 87 yards to a receiver one time during that span. Jenkins is currently graded as the 11th best safety, but I would argue anyone he’s an All-Pro safety in this league. Lockett had his best game of the season against the Patriots since Week 2 as he’s been battling nagging injuries for most of the year. He caught three passes for 72 yards including a 36 yard reception. PFF gave Lockett a grade of 74.1 which ranked in the top five for the Seahawks offense in Week 10. He won’t be winning any jump balls, but his speed and elusiveness creates problems for opposing defenses. Seattle lines up Lockett on the outside as well as the slot which is where Jenkins would see him. Cowboys Cole Beasley gave Jenkins issues before and Lockett is a similar type receiver. As I mentioned before I wouldn’t be surprised if Seattle decided to spread out the Eagles defense leaning towards more multiple wideout sets.

Source – www.profootballfocus.com

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