RUSSELL WILSON WILL HAVE BIRDS UNDIVIDED ATTENTION
The Eagles (10-1) will have a lot on the line Sunday night (8:30 p.m. NBC) when they take on the Seattle Seahawks (7-4) at CenturyLink Field.
With a win they can clinch the NFC East and secure a home playoff and keep their drivers seat for the top seeding in the NFC playoffs.
For the Seahawks this game is probably more important. Going into this week’s action, they are on the outside looking in, but are right on the edge in the No. 7 spot. If Seattle loses, they fall back with the Detroit Lions (6-5), Dallas Cowboys (6-6) and Green Bay Packers (5-6).
Seattle is hurting coming into the game. Their defense is banged and will be without defensive backs Richard Sherman and Kam Chancellor who are out for the season.
Their offensive line has been banged up all season and will not be a position of strength. Wilson eads the team in rushing with 401 yards and three TDs on the ground.
Seahawks other running backs Eddie Lacy is not scaring anyone.
Defensive end Michael Bennett (7.5 sacks) and DT Sheldon Richardson can get after it, but the Eagles rushing attack is second in the NFL (147.5 ypg), behind only Jacksonville. The Birds have three different looks it can give defenses on the ground and will be tough to handle, especially with the way Carson Wentz has been throwing the ball. He leads the league in touchdown passes (28) and the Eagles, right now, are virtually unstoppable in the Red Zone.
Seattle’s chances really lie in the hands of quarterback Russell Wilson. The six-year veteran is 256 of 411 for 3,029 yards and 23 touchdowns on the season.
Eagle linebacker Nigel Bradham talked at his locker this week about Wilson and why he is such a tough matchup for any team.
“It’s his mobility,” Bradham said. “It’s his ability to stay accurate while being mobile. His eyes are always downfield looking for he big play. So we pretty much want to stay in coverage. Up front we have to put pressure on him to keep him contained for the most part and we need to be able to get to him. He can scramble anywhere. That’s the difference in this kind of quarterback. He can be any place.”
Wilson’s rushing numbers are a bit deceiving according to Bradham.
“I think most of his rushing yards come from scrambling,” Bradham said. “That’s why he’s leading the team in rushing. It’s not designed runs, it’s just him scrambling and putting the ball down and trying to make a play.”
Wilson is also as clutch as they come. Eagles head coach Doug Pederson was asked why he is so tough in the fourth quarter.
“I just think in the quarterbacks that I’ve been around that have been successful in the fourth quarter, they just focus that much more,” Pederson said at his Friday press conference. “They just zero in on their assignment, they just zero in on the task at hand. They know that it’s the last drive or two of the game, and they’ve got to make a play. I think that’s what separates them from just a young quarterback or a quarterback that maybe doesn’t have quite that same intensity, that same focus. I saw it with [former NFL quarterback Dan] Marino. I saw it with [Brett] Favre. Obviously, you see it in QB Carson Wentz and you see it in Russell. These are guys that just zero in and lock in on their jobs.”
When the Dallas Cowboys defeated the Washington Redskins Thursday night, it kept the Eagles from clinching the NFC East.
Any combination of an Eagles win or tie, or a Cowboys loss or tie will give the Eagles the division and a home playoff game.
Bradham said the Eagles don’t want to win anything unless they decided it on the field.
“We’re just trying to do everything we do to win games,” Bradham said. “We ain’t trying to worry about nobody else. We’re just trying to worry about us. I we clinch it, we want to clinch it ourselves. We don’t need nobody’s help.” *
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