The Eagles are just trying to get through the final five weeks of the season because it appears that the failed expectations have taken a toll on their psyche. The injuries to Michael Vick and Jeremy Maclin and the shenanigans of DeSean Jackson have also done a number on this team.
The Seahawks have been a little bit better this season than most people expected, though they are still terrible and are one loss away from being eliminated from contention in the NFC West. Still, Pete Carroll’s squad has played hard throughout the season and can move closer to .500 with a victory.
Where: Century Link Field in Seattle, Washington
When: Thursday, Dec. 1 at 8:20 p.m. EDT
Watch: NFL Network
Spread: Philadelphia (-3)
These spreads are based as much on the talent of each team as it is performance, so I can justify making the Eagles a slight favorite in this game. They are not playing well, but they have more playmakers on offense, and the defense has moments of brilliance against inferior competition.
Still, you would think that winning two straight games before last week’s setback against Washington and playing at home would earn the Seahawks a little more respect.
Then again, maybe three points is the oddsmakers way of showing them respect.
That number strikes me as a bit high. With Michael Vick and Jeremy Maclin likely out for this game, they are not going to be as explosive as they normally would be.
Vince Young’s performance against New England last week was an aberration because the Patriots were so far ahead that they played prevent coverage late in the game, so don’t expect another 400-yard passing day.
The Seahawks have only scored more than 20 points four times this season, so that would require a lot of scoring on the Eagles part to get over that 44.5 total.
Eagles Injury Report
Out: LB Moise Fokou (Ankle), CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (Knee), WR Jeremy Maclin (Shoulder)
Questionable: QB Michael Vick (Ribs), CB Nnamdi Asomugha (Knee), RB LeSean McCoy (Toe)
Seahawks Injury Report
Out: WR Sidney Rice (Head), LB David Vobora (Shoulder), DL Alan Branch (Ankle)
Fantasy Start ‘Em, Sit ‘Em, Sleeper
Start ‘Em: Eagles RB LeSean McCoy
Even though he has been hampered by a toe injury, McCoy will have a big day against the Seahawks run defense. He is the best playmaker on the team and should be featured prominently in the game plan.
Unlike last week against the Patriots, the Eagles will keep the game close, and that will allow them to run the ball with McCoy a lot more than normal.
Sit ‘Em: Seahawks QB Tarvaris Jackson
Jackson has had moments this season where he looks like a solid fantasy quarterback, but those moments have been few and far between.
With the fantasy playoffs starting this week, you can’t afford to take any chances and try to catch lightning in a bottle.
If you are thinking about starting Jackson, just keep him on the bench and let your usual starters do their thing.
Sleeper: Eagles QB Vince Young
Let me just state this right off the bat: Young is not going to throw for 400 yards again. But he doesn’t have to do that to be an effective fantasy player.
The Seahawks boast the league’s 20th ranked pass defense, and Rex Grossman was able to burn them for 314 yards last week.
The Eagles have better playmakers than the Redskins, so Young should be able to let it fly a couple of times and finish with around 250 yards and two touchdowns.
Keys To Eagles Win
Running the ball and controlling the line of scrimmage.
Under Andy Reid, the Eagles always tend to get away from running the ball despite having a number of effective backs. LeSean McCoy is one of the best all-purpose backs in the league, and when healthy, he can dominate a game by himself.
The offensive and defensive lines have been problematic all season, so they have to be able to get off the ball and protect Vince Young on offense and create pressure on Tarvaris Jackson when they are on defense.
Keys To Seahawks Win
Mix in big plays with a solid running game.
After a slow start to the season, Marshawn Lynch has caught fire. He has run for at least 100 yards in three of the last four games with three touchdowns.
Even though his yards per carry isn’t that great, the commitment to keeping the ball on the ground has helped stabilize the offense.
That stability is nice, but they have to take more chances down the field to prevent teams from ganging up on the line of scrimmage. They have a big-play receiver in Doug Baldwin, and Tarvaris Jackson has the arm to let it fly; he just needs the freedom to do so.
On a short week and traveling across the country, the Eagles will likely be fatigued. That said, they are the better team and will find a way to win.
Eagles 20, Seahawks 16