Seahawks' receivers vs. Philadelphia's secondary
With Sidney Rice out for the season, it will be up to the rest of Seattle's receivers to make plays, and that won't be easy against a secondary that includes cornerbacks Nnamdi Asomugha and Asante Samuel, who have seven Pro Bowl selections between them. Mike Williams needs to pick up his game with Rice out, and Ben Obomanu and Golden Tate are sure to see increased role tonight.
Asomugha, the biggest free agent on the market this year, has not had the same impact in his first year with the Eagles as he did in Oakland, but is still a very dangerous player to target.
"We've got to be sharp," QB Tarvaris Jackson said. "We've got to be on it because those guys are Pro Bowl corners. You've got Nnamdi on one side who's a lengthy guy. He's long, he can run, he can bump and run, and he's got pretty good ball skills. ... Asante is going to take some chances, he's going to jump some routes, so we have to make sure that we're on it and we respect this team."
Of all of Seattle's receivers, Williams could make the biggest difference if he can step up his game. Williams, who caught 65 passes in a breakout 2010 season, has just 14 catches in nine games this year. Last weekend was the third time this season he has gone without a catch. With Rice sidelined, this could be a chance for Williams, who was teammates with Asomugha for a year in Oakland, to break out.
"This week is a big opportunity," Williams said. "I've got one of my buddies coming to town, Nnamdi. He's a big time player. ... Our group's a little banged up, and we're definitely going to be tested on the outside. This is a great opportunity for us to bounce back from last week."
5Fourth quarter leads blown by the Eagles this season, the biggest reason why a team many picked to go to the Super Bowl instead has a losing record.
BREAK IT DOWN
Seahawks will win if they:
Force turnovers. The Eagles rank third in the league in total offense, yet they're 4-7 and not scoring at a particularly impressive clip. The biggest reason? Their minus-nine turnover ratio.
Keep the pressure off of Tarvaris Jackson. The Eagles have a very dangerous pass rush, but are susceptible to the run. If the Seahawks, who have run the ball well in recent weeks, can get the ground game going, that will help keep Philadelphia's speedy pass rushers in check.
Fix the penalty problem. Yes we say this every week, but last weekend's loss showed it is still a big issue.
Eagles will win if they:
Finish. Expected to be one of the best team's in the league this season, the Eagles have frequently been that for three quarters, but five times they've blown fourth-quarter leads.
Get the ball to LeSean McCoy. One of the game's best dual-threat running backs, McCoy got just 14 touches in last week's loss. That number is simply too low for one of the game's most explosive runners.
Attack Seattle's secondary. The Seahawks have playmakers at CB, but Brandon Browner has shown at times he has trouble with smaller, quicker receivers. If Philadelphia can get DeSean Jackson in one-on-one situations with Browner, it could lead to big plays.
Seahawks -- WR Sidney Rice was placed on injured reserve Wednesday, ending his season after two concussions in three weeks. CB Richard Sherman (calf) and LB David Hawthorne (knee) are both questionable and will test their injuries prior to the game to see if they can go. Backup CB Byron Maxwell, who has pneumonia, has been ruled out. DT Alan Branch (ankle) is expected to play after missing last week's game.
Eagles --Several key players have been ruled out, including QB Michael Vick (ribs), WR Jeremy Maclin (hamstring/shoulder), and CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (ankle). CB Nnamdi Asomugha (knee) and RB LeSean McCoy (toe) are both questionable and will be game-day decisions.
Philadelphia leads the regular-season series 7-5, and won the last meeting between the two in 2008.
Eagles 23, Seahawks 20
Despite their record, the Eagles are a very talented team, and last week was a reminder that the Seahawks still have a lot of growing to do. If Seattle can force turnovers, however, the Eagles become very vulnerable.
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