Martin Frank - Delaware Online Sports
PHILADELPHIA – We have seen both Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz and Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson deal with injuries to key teammates over the last several weeks.
The Eagles' issues, primarily at wide receiver, have been well documented, as Wentz has had to make do for the last several weeks without his top three of DeSean Jackson and Alshon Jeffery, who are on injured reserve (Jackson is eligible to return if the Eagles beat Seattle), and Nelson Agholor.
The Seahawks have been decimated at running back. Over the last month, they have lost their top three in Chris Carson, Rashaad Penny and C.J. Prosise. Both teams are also dealing with other injuries, such as Zach Ertz and Lane Johnson for the Eagles, and left tackle Duane Brown and defensive end Jadeveon Clowney for the Seahawks.
So far, Wentz has adjusted better than Wilson. Wentz led the Eagles to four straight wins, enabling the Eagles to make the playoffs. During that time, he threw for 1,199 yards with 10 touchdowns and 1 interception and a passer rating of 100.8.
The Seahawks have lost three of their last four games. And as The Athletic pointed out,Wilson is going to need help from a porous offensive line.
In those four games, Wilson has completed 62.4% of his passes for 933 yards with 5 TDs and an interception. His passer rating is 92.7. Those numbers pale in comparison to Wilson's season totals, when he was a leading MVP candidate in Seattle's 10-2 start. For the season, Wilson had a 66.1 completion percentage, 31 TDs, 5 INTs and a passer rating of 106.3.
Wentz was even worse, with four turnovers – two lost fumbles and two interceptions.
Wilson will need help from running backs Travis Homer, a rookie sixth-round pick, and Marshawn Lynch, the 33-year-old whom Seattle just signed out of retirement last week. Lynch had 12 carries for 34 yards and a touchdown against the 49ers. It was his first game in 14 months.
Earlier this week, Eagles coach Doug Pederson said he doesn't want Wentz putting too much pressure on himself. Seahawks coach Pete Carroll echoed those thoughts about Wilson.
"He’s gotta do his job, and count on his guys to come through," Carroll said on a conference call. "That’s why it’s so important to have a mentality that the next guy up is going to get the job done."
The Eagles need to take advantage of their home-field advantage, even though according to this Philadelphia Inquirer report, home teams had their worst record in years, and were outscored collectively by the road team for the first time since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970.
The Seahawks went 7-1 away from home this season. But in their playoff history, Seattle is 3-12 on the road, compared to 12-2 at home.
The Eagles are listed as the underdog for the sixth straight playoff game. The Eagles are 4-1 in those games, which includes a Super Bowl victory.
But the Eagles are much better defensively at home than on the road. They allow just 16 points per game at home, compared to 29 on the road. The Seahawks, contrary to their glory days, are ranked 26th in the NFL in defense, allowing 382 yards per game.
The Eagles were moving the ball in the first game. They just turned the ball over five times (four by Wentz). That won't happen again.
As the era of head coach Jason Garrett draws to an end, USA Today has a suggestion for who should be the new coach: That's right, owner Jerry Jones himself. After all, he is always front and center with the media after every game and with his weekly radio show.
"All of those press conferences after games where he sometimes throws gasoline on a lit fire are a lesson in narcissism that easily could have been avoided," the article says.
If Jones is the coach, he'd just be pouring gasoline on himself.
To say the Giants are a mess is an understatement. They're 12-36 over the last three years, the worst record in the NFL, and are looking for their third head coach during that time. They just fired Pat Shurmur, who had a 9-23 record over two seasons, but are keeping general manager Dave Gettleman, who said he's joining the analytics age by hiring "four computer folks."
The next coach has his work cut out for him. Northjersey.com presents a list of candidates, including former Packers coach Mike McCarthy.
Ron Rivera is Washington's new head coach, which has a familiar feel to it considering that Washington has gone down that road before with an experienced, well-respected coach. But as USA Today wonders, will owner Daniel Snyder move aside and let Rivera rebuild the team?
One of Rivera's first order of business was removing the ping pong table from the locker room. Yeah, that was the reason for the 3-13 season.