Will the fallout from the delay of game penalty continue to haunt the Seahawks as we head into the playoffs?
Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russel Wilson will be looking to extend his four-game winning streak against the Philadelphia Eagles (4) at the Lincoln Financial Stadium on Sunday night (4.40 pm ET) as the two sides clash during the final game of wildcard weekend.
The Seahawks missed a golden opportunity for a bye week following an inexcusable delay of game penalty at the 49ers one-yard line during the final seconds of the regular-season finale. All eyes were on Marshawn Lynch (33-year-old coaxed out of retirement), but it was sixth-round rookie Travis Homer who grabbed the spotlight with 62 yards off 10 carries. Homer faces a stern test against an Eagles defense that’s ranked third overall against the run (average 90 yards per game).
”He’s got a really good style and attitude about running the ball,” Carroll said of Travis Homer. “He’s just downhill and gives you everything he’s got. That suddenness really is an asset. We love the way he plays. Love the style of his play.”
The two sides met back in week 12 during which Russell Wilson was sacked six times. Despite a subpar performance from the six-time Pro Bowler (13-of-25 for 200 yards, 1 Td, 1 INT) the Seahawks came away with a hard thought 17-9 victory. Derek Barnett, Brandon Graham (questionable, ankle) and Fletcher Cox (questionable, tricep) will be looking once again to exploit the offensive line frailties in a bid to temper Wilson’s unique ability to create something out of nothing.
Rookie D.K. Metcalf was targeted a season-high 12 times against the 49ers resulting in 81 yards and a touchdown. Opposite Metcalf, Tyler Lockett poses a real threat to a secondary that’s allowed the fifth-most yards (2809) and third-most touchdowns (21) by opposing receivers.
The 27th overall ranked pass defense will be bolstered by the return of Jadeveon Clowney (abdominal) and Quandre Diggs (high ankle sprain) from injury. Looking beyond the overall numbers of the secondary, Diggs presence on the field could prove to be an invaluable unforeseen advantage for the Seahawks.
”You all saw it and felt it too, you asked us questions about, ‘Hey, it looks like things are a little different when he’s playing.” Carroll said ”His experience, his savvy, his confidence, it has an effect. So I’m thrilled to get him back out there if that’s the case. We need him, we need everything we can get.”
Carson Wentz’s instrumental leadership, presence and overall performance which accumulated in a four-game winning streak down the stretch silenced the early season critics as the Eagles captured the NFC East title. During that stretch, Wentz completed 70.68% of his passes for 910 yards, 6 touchdowns, and zero interceptions. Head coach Doug Pederson was full of praise ahead of Wentz’s postseason debut.
”I think he’s grown up as a leader of this team, You’ve seen it here now the last couple of games, how he’s really just put the team on his back and said, ‘Hey, follow me,’ and I think that’s a sign of growth and a sign of maturity. I spent eight years in Green Bay with Brett Favre and that’s what Brett did. Brett just put the team on his back when the chips were against us and he said, ‘Hey, follow me,’ and that’s what Carson can do. The guys really, and I have so much faith and trust in him that I can call almost any play and he’s either going to make that one work or he’s going to get us into a better play and so he’s really grown up that way and really matured that way in this league and just really turned into a pro.”
With Zach Ertz still dealing with a lacerated kidney, Dallas Goedert will once again fill the void against a Seahawks defense that’s allowed 1099 yards by opposing tight ends (2nd most). Goedert has reeled in 13 targets for 156 yards and a touchdown during his last two games.
The formidable linebacking duo of Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright will look to suffocate the rushing threat of Miles Sanders (probably, ankle) and Boston Scott. The issue on hand for the Seahawks is preventing the duo from becoming a threat in the passing game. As a unit, they’ve surrendered 817 yards (4th highest) receiving to opposing running backs. Sanders is averaging 7.48 yards per reception through his last five whilst Boston Scott caught 4-of-6 passes for 84 yards against the Giants.