Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Why The Seattle Seahawks Will Beat The Philadelphia Eagles....And Why The Philadelphia Eagles Will Beat The Seattle Seahawks

As incredible as it may seem, tomorrow night will be the first time since I started blogging* that my Philadelphia Eagles will play my internet friend Mookie's Seattle Seahawks.  Earlier this week, Mookie reached out to me via email to ask if I wanted to join him in doing a series of posts, with me saying some words on why the Seahawks will beat the Eagles, and him writing a few words on why the Eagles will beat the Seahawks.  The results of that are as follows.

*I started blogging after what is still the latest tie in the NFL.  The Eagles last played the Seahawks a few weeks prior to that infamous game.  I have no visual recollection of that Eagles win at Seattle in 2008.  No amount of hard alcohol has been able to wash away the memories of the two Seahawks-Eagles games prior to that one.

Why the Seahawks will beat the Eagles, by Justin F.

The Eagles Defensive Coordinator is their old offensive line coach:  The Eagles Defensive coordinator is their offensive line coach.  It as worked out about as well as most imagined.  It's imbarrassing.  As much as I (and the Eagles players themselves) did not like Sean McDermott, the Eagles defense put up a respectable -11.0% DVOA last season.  This season, the Eagles defensive DVOA (DVOA explained) is a sub-par 2.8% (in case you do not know or have not yet figured out, in terms of defense, a negative DVOA is better than a positive DVOA).  That's right.  The Eagles defense has actually regressed from last season.

The Eagles are traveling to Seattle on short rest:  Some people like the idea of Thursday Night Football games.  I am not one of those people.  Each team has three days rest as compared to the standard six and in the case of the road teams, they have to spend one of those days travelling.  There may be substance to this theory, as this season road teams playing on Thursday night are 2-4, with the two wins being the Raiders in San Diego and the Packers in Detroit.  In the case of the Eagles, this week, they have to travel what is for them the farthest possible distance on short rest.  And oh by the way, CenturyLink Field* is a notoriously difficult stadium for road teams.

*CenturyLink Field is nicknamed "The Clink."  I'd laugh at how horrible of a nickname that is for a stadium, but I think I know where they got the inspiration for that one.  

The Eagles have been bitten by the injury bug:  Michael Vick and Jeremy Maclin have been ruled out for Thursday while Nnamdi Asomugha, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, and LeSean McCoy are all at best questionable to play in Seattle.  Vince Young, Riley Cooper (beautiful looks aside), and Brandon Hughes are hardly suitable replacements for the aforementioned Eagles.  While Vince Young did throw for 400 yards, he did throw 48 passes against a not-so-great secondary, so that is not something that should be taken as a sign of things to come.  While Pete Carroll probably has spent many a night rocking back-and-forth muttering the name "Vince Young" in between ear-piercing shrieks, he should really learn to relax. The Vince Young that tormented his soul in 2006 is not the same as the Vince Young of today.  Just last week, with only Julian Edelman in the open field standing in the way between Vince Young and a first down, the 6'5 233 lb Young allowed himself to get tackled short of the marker by the 5'10 198 lb Edelman.  Seriously.  It was as embarrassing as it reads.

The Eagles Defensive Coordinator is their old offensive line coach:  Enough said.

Why The Philadelphia Eagles Will Beat The Seattle Seahawks, by Mookie.

1.) Seattle’s injured, too. Sidney Rice was put on IR after suffering a concussion in Sunday’s loss to the Washington Redskins. Tarvaris Jackson has played most of the season with a strained pectoral muscle. Marcus Trufant, Matt McCoy, Walter Thurmond III, and ST ace David Vobora are all on IR. It took a little bit longer than usual, but the Seahawks are getting their annual rush of injuries to key players. Tomorrow night CB Richard Sherman and LB David Hawthorne are questionable on the injury report, and they’re both starters. Seattle already has a terrible CB depth situation, having lost Trufant and Thurmond to injury. Sherman has been awesome and perhaps an improvement over Trufant, so you knew the honeymoon was too good to be true. David Hawthorne is arguably Seattle’s only good linebacker, another position Seattle completely scraped of depth by releasing Lofa Tatupu (which probably needed to be done), losing Will Herring to the Saints, and trading Aaron Curry to the Raiders. While the Eagles have the depth to handle injuries to key players, Seattle does not. Last weekend when DT Alan Branch could not play, the run defense completely blew chunks out there and gave up a 100 yard game to Roy Helu.

2.) Vince Young is the exact type of QB Seattle struggles with. The Seahawks have just 20 sacks and 8 of them are by Chris Clemons. What’s infuriating is they’ve played Rex Grossman, Sam Bradford, Joe Flacco, Alex Smith, Kevin Kolb, and Colt McCoy. I doubt these teams all have elite offensive lines, Seattle’s pass rush is just that bad. Vince Young is 6’4, 240 pounds, and is mobile as long as he doesn’t twist his ankle. He may not be the greatest thrower but you just know that if the pocket collapses, the Seahawks will leave about 15 yards of grass for him to run for a first down. Seattle’s worst defensive performances came against Ben Roethlisberger and Tony Romo, both very mobile. Hopefully Young doesn’t realize his strengths, but I’m not counting on that.

3.) Philadelphia has a pass rush. The Eagles have recorded 31 sacks and the Seahawks are tied for 30th in sacks allowed. Tarvaris Jackson doesn’t scramble very often and less so with the injury. The Seahawks also have a horrible right side of the offensive line. Carnage.

4.) LeSean McCoy is arguably the best running back in the NFL. Everyone knows this except Andy Reid, who basically abandoned him against one of the worst defenses in the NFL last Sunday. He leads the NFL in rushing with 1,060 yards and is only behind Matt Forte in runs of 20 yards or more. I don’t care how good Seattle’s run defense is, McCoy can make any team look amateurish. He’s like a better version of Brian Westbrook and he’s so fun to watch. I believe McCoy is at his most dangerous when he’s used in the screen passing plays, something the Seahawks have failed to consistently defend in three years. When he has the ball in his hands he’s got the speed to get past the secondary and is excellent at exploiting holes between the tackles. He is as complete a RB as there is, and Reid/Mornhinweg should be fired if they continue to lose games by not using him enough. Ten carries against the Patriots is deplorable.

5.) Seattle is an undisciplined bunch. The Seahawks have over 100 penalties and are only better than the Raiders in avoiding the yellow flag. Brandon Browner has 11 penalties in 11 weeks. God forbid he covers any Eagles receiver with speed as he’ll either get beat or he’ll get flagged because he got beat. Russell Okung has 9 penalties and James Carpenter had 9 before going to IR. They will hold, false start, illegally shift, intentionally ground, face mask, and rough the passer like no other team in football. It’s pure dirtbag play. You happy now, Jim Mora?

Well, there you have it.  I will put up a link to Mookie's live blog tomorrow, where you can join us in commiserating the failure of the 2011 editions of our teams.  You should join us as we torture ourselves tomorrow night!

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