Seahawks vs. Eagles preview
1 With last week's win, are the Seahawks poised to go on a roll? It doesn't appear likely, but one never knows. The NFL is a crazy league where anything can happen. After today's game it's on to Miami, the longest trip of the season. Then the Seahawks get the next two games at home, but against no patsies: First come the division-leading Arizona Cardinals (4-3) in two weeks, then Washington (6-2). After that, they travel to Dallas (5-3) on Thanksgiving and face New England (5-2 even without Tom Brady) at home the following week.
2 What's the Eagles' game plan on defense? Blitz, blitz and blitz some more. That's the hallmark of defensive coordinator Jim Johnson. Coach Andy Reid credits general manager Tom Heckert for bringing in players that fit the scheme, then the players for execution. Johnson, who has long been known for good defenses in Philadelphia, was once the Seahawks' defensive coordinator, working for Dennis Erickson in 1998. Reid remembers Johnson from when he was at Indianapolis and Reid was in Green Bay with Mike Holmgren, and the Colts "destroyed" Brett Favre, as Reid put it. "In the back of my mind, I said, 'If I was ever a head coach I would like to hire that guy,' " Reid said. Reid did, in 1999, and Johnson and his blitzes have been in Philadelphia since. "When you're on the sidelines watching our defense out there," quarterback Donovan McNabb said, "it's exciting because you see it coming and you know when they don't have the answer that it could be trouble."
3 Where does Philadelphia have a distinct advantage? The Eagles might not have the league's best rushing offense, but RB Brian Westbrook is a do-everything back with 500 rushing and receiving yards combined. Defensively, the Eagles are seventh-best in the league, allowing 287.3 yards per game. They allow almost seven full points per game fewer than the Seahawks (19.6 to 26.3) and have eight interceptions to the Seahawks' two. The biggest stat, though, is turnover differential, where the Eagles are plus-7 (second in the NFL) while the Seahawks are minus-4.
Seahawks: DE Patrick Kerney, who has 16 sacks in the past 15 games, is out today (shoulder). ... LB Julian Peterson has three sacks in five games against the Eagles and 25 ½ sacks in 43 games as a Seahawk, including playoffs. ... The Seahawks' win over San Francisco last week was the 172nd career victory for coach Mike Holmgren, which moved him into 10th place among all-time NFL coaches. ... Bobby Engram is now in fourth place on Seattle's all-time receiving yards list with 4,479 yards. He passed Joey Galloway last week.
Eagles: In November and December, the Eagles are second in the NFL in overall winning percentage. (.701) and road winning percentage (.743). ... Philadelphia leads the all-time series over Seattle 6-5, but the Seahawks have won the past two games. ... Eight Eagles draft picks since 1999 have combined for 16 Pro Bowls, including four of Andy Reid's eight first-round picks. ... S Brian Dawkins is one of five DBs in NFL history with at least 20 sacks. ... The Eagles rank first in the NFL in yards-after-catch average (5.7) since 2004.
Seahawks: WR Deion Branch (foot), QB Matt Hasselbeck (back), DE Patrick Kerney (shoulder), TE Will Heller (knee) are out. LB Lofa Tatupu (groin) and FB Leonard Weaver (foot) are questionable. WR Koren Robinson (knee) is probable.
Eagles: G Shawn Andrews (back) and TE L.J. Smith (concussion) are out. WR Jason Avant (neck) is questionable. DE Juqua Parker (knee), WR Reggie Brown (groin), WR DeSean Jackson (shoulder) and RB Brian Westbrook (rib/ankle) are probable.
Last gameSeahawks: The Seahawks broke a three-game losing streak with a 34-13 win at San Francisco last Sunday. FB Leonard Weaver caught four passes for 116 yards and scored twice, on plays of 43 and 62 yards. CB Josh Wilson returned an interception 75 yards for a touchdown just before halftime, a play that led to the benching of 49ers starting QB J.T. O'Sullivan. The Seahawks forced four fumbles and had five sacks, and Seneca Wallace passed for 222 yards. Seattle gained only 261 yards of total offense but controlled the game on defense, and WR Koren Robinson threw two key blocks to help Weaver on his touchdowns.
Eagles: Philadelphia, led by running back Brian Westbrook's 167 rushing yards, defeated the Atlanta Falcons 27-14 at home last Sunday. Westbrook had a pair of touchdowns and QB Donovan McNabb passed for 253 yards and rushed for a score in the Eagles' win. Philadelphia improved to 4-3 and won for the 500th time, including the postseason, in franchise history.
José Miguel Romero: 206-464-2409 or email@example.com
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