Try to temper your excitement for this week’s Thursday night NFL Network telecast as it features Philadelphia and Seattle—a pair of 2010 division winners who have been disappointments this season, with both at 4-7 and playing out the string.
Not much was expected for Seattle after losing starting QB Matt Hasselbeck this offseason—shoot, 4-7 would have been only a game out of the NFC West at this time last year—a division the Seahawks won at 7-9.
Seattle actually had been playing better of late, having won two straight and taking a 17-7 lead Sunday over Washington into the fourth quarter. But then the wheels fell off for the NFL’s third-youngest team in a 23-17 loss. After the Skins totaled just 93 yards in the second and third quarters combined, Washington totaled 138 yards on 10 plays for 13 points in its first two drives of the fourth quarter.
Seattle had nine penalties in the game and at least six dropped passes.
You know all about the Eagles; how they were one of the preseason favorites among Super Bowl contenders. But their season was still very much alive entering last week’s game with New England.
Eagles at Seahawks Betting Storylines
Don’t look for either Vick or Maclin again on Thursday night as neither has practiced yet this week. That means Vince Young will start his third game in a row at QB.
Young has been solid, leading a game-winning drive two weeks ago versus the Giants and then throwing for a career-high 400 yards and a TD last week, getting picked only once.
Riley Cooper would start again for Maclin. Cooper has eight catches for 146 yards and a score in his two starts in place of Maclin.
RB LeSean McCoy has a toe injury but should start. His 78 points lead the league for non-kickers. And he leads the NFL in rushing yards (1,050) and first downs (77).
And then there’s top Eagles' WR DeSean Jackson, who seems to be punching his ticket out of town. Of course, Jackson was benched for a game earlier this season—a disastrous loss to Arizona—for missing a team meeting that really was Jackson making a point about being unhappy about not getting a contract extension.
Against the Pats, Jackson was benched in the fourth quarter following two dropped potential touchdown passes that he seemed to shy away from. Eagles' coach Andy Reid confirmed to reporters after the game that he held Jackson out of the game because he "wanted to give the other guys an opportunity." But Reid says Jackson will start Thursday.
In two games with Young as the starting quarterback, Jackson has 10 catches for 161 yards and no touchdowns.
As for Seattle, QB Tarvaris Jackson, who has been a bust this season, has been playing through an injured pectoral muscle. It has shown, as his passing yardage has declined in each of the past four games. In the past two weeks, Jackson has completed just two passes that gained more than 20 yards as the injury is seriously affecting the velocity he can get on throws.
Jackson completed only 46.7 percent of his throws versus Washington as the Seahawks managed just 11 yards on their final four possessions. Seattle failed to pick up any first downs and had three penalties, two sacks and a turnover.
The Seahawks have gained more than 400 yards only twice this season. The Eagles average 420.
It’s not clear yet if Jackson will have WR Sidney Rice, who reportedly suffered a concussion early in the Redskins’ loss. It seems like the quick turnaround would not allow Rice to play.
Fellow WR Mike Williams suffered a shoulder injury vs. Washington. He played through it but didn’t have a catch. Williams has had a monumentally disappointing season with just 14 catches for 192 yards and one score off his breakout 2010 season. But certainly, some of that can be blamed on the QB position.
With such a lousy Seattle WR corps (and QB), look for the Eagles to stack the line against Seattle’s best weapon—RB Marshawn Lynch.
The last time Philly and Seattle met was in 2008.
Eagles at Seahawks Betting Odds and Trends
The Eagles opened as three-point favorites with the total at 44 on NFL odds. Philly is 4-7 ATS this season and 3-2 on road. Seattle is 6-4-1 ATS this year and 3-2 at home. "Over/under" records: Both 6-5.
Philly is 4-0 ATS in past four Thursday games. But the Eagles are 0-5 ATS in past five vs. teams with a losing record.
Seattle is 4-1 ATS in past five following a loss. Seahawks are 5-1 ATS in past six vs. NFC.
The "over" is 9-2 in Philly’s past nine on road. The "under" is 4-0 in Seattle’s past four after an ATS loss.
For what it’s worth, the road team has covered the past six in this series, but that dates way back.
NFL Picks: Eagles at Seahawks Betting Preview
Eagles defensive tackle Trevor Laws said this week that the Eagles “should blow out” the Seahawks. And on talent and numbers alone, he’s right.
However, Seattle has beaten a few good teams this year in Baltimore and the Giants—although those two tend to lay the occasional egg. Plus, the Eagles have that cross-country trip barely 72 hours after playing New England.
Still, I can’t ignore the talent discrepancy. As long as McCoy plays, the Eagles should win by at least a TD. The weather shouldn’t be a factor in terms of precipitation, although it will be in the mid-30s.
But with two inaccurate QBs, I can see some offensive problems. So take the "under."
Doc Moseman is the owner of Doc’s Sports football picks Web site.