Moore: There’s a lot to like about Seahawks going on road to play Eagles
I don’t know if we’re still supposed to be disappointed about the Seahawks falling inches short of the NFC West title and hosting a playoff game or if it’s OK now to consider that it might have been alright that Pete Carroll’s team lost to the 49ers Sunday night.
Think about it – the Seahawks, as a No. 3 seed, probably would have had only one playoff game at home. If they can win at Philadelphia this week, they’ll be in the same position as if they had beaten Minnesota in the first round at CenturyLink Field. Next week they’d likely be on the road, and the week after that, they’d probably be on the road for the NFC Championship Game.
I get that it’s not ideal to go on the road in the first round when the Seahawks could have secured a first-round bye if they had closed out the season with wins over Arizona and San Francisco. But let’s say they had beaten San Francisco and won the NFC West, the betting line would have been in the neighborhood of what it was when they hosted the Vikings earlier this month – Seattle was favored by 3 points. At Philadelphia on Sunday, the Seahawks are favored by 2 points.
Running back Dalvin Cook is expected back from a shoulder injury for the Vikings’ first playoff game at New Orleans. And even though the Vikings looked terrible against the Packers two Mondays ago, don’t you think they would have been a stiffer opponent at home than the Eagles will be on the road?
Listen, I know I’m wrong a lot, and that could be the case here, but if you asked me who I’d rather face, it would be this banged-up Eagles’ squad hands down. For starters, you’ve already beaten them once, posting a 17-9 victory in Philadelphia in November, and it wasn’t as close as the final score. The Seahawks didn’t dominate, but they pretty much controlled the game. The Eagles scored their only touchdown in the final two minutes, too late to mount a serious charge toward a comeback win.
If you think the injuries in Seattle are crazy, it’s worse in Philadelphia. They were down to their backup to the backup at running back against the Giants last week, and Boston Scott, a sixth-rounder from Louisiana Tech, might get the starting nod against the Seahawks. So it could be a matchup of sixth-rounders if Travis Homer starts for the second straight week for Seattle.
At least the Seahawks have their top two receivers, Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf. The Eagles will be without their top THREE receivers – DeSean Jackson, Nelson Agholor and Alshon Jeffery. Remember J.J. Arcega-Whiteside at Stanford? He’ll be one of Carson Wentz’s top targets this week, and the same goes for Greg Ward, another rookie from Houston.
When the Seahawks faced the Eagles the first time, at least Philadelphia had tight end Zach Ertz, but their top receiver with 88 catches for 916 yards probably won’t play because of a lacerated liver and fractured rib.
Eagles right tackle Lane Johnson missed the first Seattle game with an injury, and he’s been out the last three weeks with a high-ankle sprain, putting his availability in doubt again. And right guard Brandon Brooks dislocated his shoulder against the Giants, knocking him out of the playoffs.
What do you make of all this excitement in Philadelphia about the four-game winning streak to end the season? Those four wins came over teams with a combined record of 19-45. And this winning streak started after a loss to the 5-11 Dolphins. Clearly they’re going up in class facing the 11-5 Seahawks.
Plus, don’t forget that the Seahawks were a franchise-record 7-1 on the road this year and just 4-4 at home. If they beat the Eagles, won’t you feel like they have a reasonable chance to beat the 49ers in Santa Clara since they’ve already done it once? Then wouldn’t you give them a decent shot at knocking off the Packers in Green Bay or the Saints in New Orleans? If you say no, you must be forgetting that with Russell Wilson, all things are possible with a future Hall of Famer at quarterback.
Yeah, the Seahawks came up inches short against the Niners, but so what. The path they’re on is just as negotiable as the one they could have taken.
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