Five on the Seahawks
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - The 2016 Philadelphia Eagles story has been well documented, dominant at home and shaky on the road.
Trying to cure those road woes at Seattle’s CenturyLink Field is probably not the optimal plan but that’s exactly what the Eagles have to do Sunday as they visit the Seahawks and their imposing 12th man, the loudest environment in all of football, which has induced 150 false start penalties since the 2005 season, tops in the game.
“Going into this stadium, this 12th man – it's real,” Philadelphia coach Doug Pederson, a Seattle-area native, said earlier this week. “The last time that I was up there was with the Eagles a few years back, and it's a loud place. Those things are the things that keep your offense from executing and staying on the field, and this team definitely feeds off that and tries to get you into those second-and-long, third-and-long situations. The point of emphasis this week obviously is to be able to handle that and minimize those (false-start) penalties.
Here’s what you need to know about the NFC West-leading Seahawks:
HOUSE OF HORRORS
Seattle has the NFC’s best home winning percentage since moving to the conference in 2002 with an 82-34 record and is one of two teams with 80-plus wins during that span (Green Bay).
Since 2012 and Russell Wilson’s arrival, the Seahawks are 31-5 at home with a startling point differential of plus-440 in those games.
The calendar turning over to Turkey month is typically when the Wilson-era ‘Hawks kick in the extra gear and start to take off in the standings. Since 2012 when Wilson arrived in the Pacific Northwest, Seattle is now an imposing 30-6 over the final two months of the regular season, including 2-0 this season.
FORGET ABOUT A BLOWOUT
Those hoping for the best-case scenario and an easy Eagles win should probably stop crossing their fingers or asking their higher power for a little help. Seattle simply doesn’t get blown out and has not lost by more than 10 points in its last 82 regular season games (92 games including playoffs), an NFL record.
Furthermore, the Seahawks have a league-record streak of 87 regular season games (97 games including the postseason) where it has led or been within one score in the fourth quarter.
The last time the Seahawks were not in the lead or within a score in the fourth quarter was Sept. 18, 2011 before Wilson arrived and the team lost at Pittsburgh, 24-0.
DEFENSE, DEFENSE, DEFENSE
Seattle has led the NFL in scoring defense for four consecutive seasons (2012-15), becoming the first defense in the Super Bowl era to accomplish that feat. The Seahawks are currently second in the NFL this season, allowing 17.6 points per game with only free-falling Minnesota on top of them.
If Seattle does end up leading the league in scoring defense again, it will be the first team to so that in five straight years since the 1953-57 Cleveland Browns.
The Eagles defense is third in scoring defense at 17.8 ppg and actually ahead of the Seahawks D in yardage allowed as the Eagles are sixth, giving up 323.0 yards and Seattle is ninth at 338.4 ypg.
“Their sample size is a lot bigger, they've done it for a lot longer, they've had a lot of success, they got a bunch of Pro Bowl players on every level of their defense," Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins said. "And we're a defense that's trying to earn the respect of the league, trying to make a name for ourselves this year. But that being said, if you wanted to talk in the context of this season, there's not a defense that I wouldn't compare us to."
IT’S RUSSELL’S WORLD
Wilson’s 52 regular season wins in his first 73 games to begin a career are an NFL record, and already rank third in NFL history for most wins in a quarterback’s first five seasons. With four more this season, he will surpass Matt Ryan’s record of 56.
Meanwhile, Wilson is just one of three QBs with a passer rating over 100.0 since he began his career. His 101.4 career rating is second in league history to Aaron Rodgers.
He's taken Seattle to four straight postseasons, helped the franchise win its first Super Bowl and was a yard away from another.
And for all of that he gets to sleep next to Ciara nect to a pile of money and the Eagles were one pick away.
973espn.com Prediction: Go big or go home.
If you really want to break through on the road and gather some confidence moving forward, this is the place to do it and a win in Seattle could propel this organization to great things.
The guess here, however, is that the Eagles simply aren't read yet and despite Seattle’s deficiencies on the offensive line and the absence of Michael Bennett, the Seahawks do what they always do at home … win. Seahawks 24, Eagles 17
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen