Moore Predicts: Seahawks’ defensive turnaround will hit a snag vs Eagles
It’s strange to see the Eagles favored by 1 1/2 points over the Seahawks, a 5-5, injury-riddled team over an 8-2 team coming off a victory in San Francisco on Monday Night Football.
The Seahawks have the better team and better quarterback, and they’re 5-0 on the road with a good chance of tying or beating the franchise’s all-time single-season road record of 6-2 set by the 2013 Super Bowl champion Seahawks.
The Eagles’ injury situation should help their case – Philadelphia is already missing receiver DeSean Jackson and figure to have two other hobbled receivers, Nelson Agholor (knee) and Alshon Jeffery (ankle), playing at much less than 100 percent on Sunday. Starting running back Jordan Howard is also dealing with a shoulder injury.
Lane Johnson is the bigger question mark. The Eagles’ starting right tackle is in concussion protocol, and if he doesn’t play, rookie Andre Dillard from Washington State will replace him and try to keep Seahawks’ defensive end Jadeveon Clowney from being a game-long disruptive nuisance like he was in San Francisco.
Then again, it’s fair to wonder if Clowney will be at full strength himself – he missed practice on Wednesday and Thursday with knee and hip injuries. If he were to miss the game or be limited, the Seahawks’ defense gets a dramatic downgrade, even against a sputtering Eagles’ offense.
I’m not convinced that the Seahawks’ defensive turnaround against the 49ers is a permanent thing, not when there were nine previous games that were subpar on that side of the ball. Yes, you can come up with tangible reasons why the defense was much improved – the insertion of new free safety starter Quandre Diggs and more aggressive play-calling by defensive coordinator Ken Norton, mixing up blitzes and pass coverages.
I’m more into thinking the Seahawks got an emotional lift in San Francisco from Human Nature based on post-game comments from linebacker Bobby Wagner and Clowney. They were tired of hearing about the 49ers’ terrific defense and wanted to show that Seattle had one of its own.
I don’t expect a complete regression to what we saw in the first nine games when guys like Andy Dalton, Jared Goff and Matt Schaub decimated the Seahawks’ secondary, but I also don’t think we’re going to see anything close to that performance against the Niners.
I also have a hard time believing that this Seahawks’ team is good enough to post the best road record in franchise history. As much fun as this 8-2 season has been thus far, does anyone think the 2019 Seahawks are as good as the 2013 Seahawks? Can we agree on that at least? Maybe we can’t, and I’ll be honest, this team has been surprising on many different levels, if you want to debate why the 2019 Seahawks will finish with the NFC’s best record, I could see your point.
But here’s something else – what I’ve learned over the years from looking at point spreads that appear out of whack is they generally are spot-on regardless of what you think. And still, I’m with you if you believe the Seahawks should beat the battered Eagles, and it’s crazy to think they’re underdogs in the game.
But I’m tipping my cap to the guys who set the lines while anticipating a third consecutive overtime game for the Seahawks. They beat Tampa Bay in overtime three weeks ago and San Francisco in overtime two weeks ago, but this time they’ll come up short against the Eagles.
Prediction: Eagles 27, Seahawks 24 (OT)
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