Keys To The Game: Eagles-Seahawks
Here are my keys to the game for the riveting Eagle-Seahawk affair tonight at Century Link Field:
1. Eagles coverage unit vs. Lucky Leon Washington: Both the Eagles kickoff and punt coverage teams are ranked in the leagues' top five. They will be tested by Seattle's dynamic return man tonight. He's no Devin Hester or Patrick Peterson, but he still is one of the league's best return men. He has averaged 12.3 yards per PR in the least eight games and had a 51-yard KR vs. Washington.
2. Eagles defensive line vs. Seahawks offensive line: The supposed strength of the Eagles defense needs to play with the kind of fire and passion that they brought to the Giants game and first quarter against New England. The young Seattle line has talent, but injuries have ravaged a group that has now given up 35 sacks. Rookie's RT James Carpenter and RG John Moffitt, future staples upfront, both are out and on the IR.
3. Offensive balance: With or without LeSean McCoy, Andy Reid needs to keep Seattle's defense honest. They are OK against the pass, but excel in run defense. You can make the case that they will be able to limit a banged up LeSean McCoy or shut down Ronnie Brown all together. Something tells me that VY is going to be throwing the ball up for grabs to the leagues tallest corner duo way too many times.
4. Overcoming the short week travel: Having to travel three times zones to play a Thursday game against the leagues best home crowd? Good luck.
5. Limit the penalties: Rookies Danny Watkins and Jason Kelce need to lock themselves in mentally early and often to avoid dropping Philadelphia to a place worse than 20th in the league in penalty yardage.