Seahawks versus Eagles: 3 key matchups that will affect the game

Eagles' Miles Sanders (26) is swallowed up by the Seattle defense Sunday afternoon. The Seahawks defeated the Eagles 17-9.Sports Eagles Seahawks
Eagles' Miles Sanders (26) is swallowed up by the Seattle defense Sunday afternoon. The Seahawks defeated the Eagles 17-9.Sports Eagles Seahawks /

These three matchups could make the difference when the Seahawks play the Eagles.

The Seahawks are better than the Eagles – on paper. But games aren’t played on paper, of course, so individual matchups decide football games. Here are three matchups that could decide week 12’s contest between Seattle and Philadelphia.

Miles Sanders and Boston Scott versus Seahawks defensive line

The Eagles have a few avenues to winning on Monday. One of them is to take the pressure off of quarterback Carson Wentz by running the ball effectively and well with Miles Sanders and Scott. Sanders is a good running back and averages 5.7 yards a carry. In fact, the Eagles overall are third in the NFL in yards gained per carry with 5. So Philadelphia can run the ball.

This means that the interior of the Seahawks defensive line needs to be really good. 59 percent of the Eagles rushing attempts come between the tackles. Jarran Reed, Poona Ford and Snacks Harrison will need to maintain leverage, eat up blocks, and, with some penetration, could get tackles for loss.

Getting stops on early downs means more passing by Wentz and this should only be a good thing for the Seattle defense.

DK Metcalf versus Darius Slay

Slay is a good cornerback and Philadelphia acquired him this offseason to be their shutdown corner. He will likely go up against DK Metcalf on Monday. Slay is the biggest of the Eagles corners too (at least the ones with talent and experience) at 6 feet tall. He will still be at a size disadvantage to Metcalf.

The last time Metcalf went up against the Eagles was in the 2019 playoffs when Metcalf caught 7 passes for 160 yards. He might not have that many yards in week 12, but his presence alone, and taking Slay away from the rest of the Eagles secondary, will leave Tyler Lockett more open. Whether Lockett or Metcalf have a big game for Seattle is a win either way.

Cedric Ogbuehi versus Brandon Graham

Seattle will be without right tackle Brandon Shell this week. Shell has proven to be one of Seattle’s best offseason pickups and has been a really solid tackle. According to Pro Football Focus, Shell is the 35th-best graded tackle in 2020 and that is good. But he won’t play after suffering a knee injury in week 11.

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This means Ogbuechi will start and this will be his first start of any kind since 2017. Ogbuechi has been a solid backup, though. Graham is really good, however, with 7 sacks and 12 quarterback hits so far this season and he will line up over Ogbuechi. If Ogbuechi can keep Russell Wilson clean on Monday, Seattle should score enough to win relatively comfortably.