PREVIEW: Eagles at Hawks Sunday Night Showdown


Between the Philadelphia Eagles and Seattle Seahawks, who will square off in the nationally-televised game on Sunday evening, the narratives seemed pretty entrenched before the season started.
Given the betting odds for Philadelphia Eagles at Seattle Seahawks game everyone wants a piece of the action. The ff-winners.com artificial intelligence computer projects Seattle to win 25-22.

One of these two teams was the presumed favorite to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl, thanks to a ferocious defense that could single-handedly wrest control of the game from whoever they played, and an MVP-caliber quarterback who could make up for the fact that the team really didn’t have any other stars on offense.

The other team was likely going to be right in the playoff mix themselves, but probably on the outside looking in around this time of year. There were a lot of interesting and talented pieces on defense to work with, and they had a promising do-it-all quarterback of their own, but they didn’t quite seem like they could compete with the very best that the conference had to offer.

Of course, back in September, everyone thought the Seahawks fit that first team description, and the Eagles fit that second team description. And yet, entering the first week of December of 2017, it’s actually the complete opposite.

In a conference that legitimately has as many as 10 teams who could realistically challenge for a playoff spot, the Philadelphia Eagles have been head-and-shoulders above the other nine teams – if not any other team in the NFL. The last time they lost a game, it was still technically summertime (September 17th). They’ve outscored teams by a league-leading 160 points, which is 37 more points than the team with the second-highest point differential. We’re barely clearing our Thanksgiving meals off the table, and yet the Eagles could very likely clinch a playoff spot already.

Meanwhile, if the playoffs started today, the Seahawks would snap a five-year playoff streak, as they’re currently behind the Atlanta Falcons in the playoff standings (both teams have a 7-4 record, but Atlanta has the head-to-head victory tiebreaker). The previously impenetrable Seattle defense has been decimated by injuries along the defensive line, but especially among the pillars of its vaunted “Legion of Boom” secondary; cornerback Richard Sherman and safety Kam Chancellor have both been placed on season-ending injured reserve.

But what really makes this game worth watching is the duel between the two quarterbacks playing in this game. We’re very likely looking at two of the three finalists for the 2017-2018 Most Valuable Player award.

Through 12 weeks this season, Carson Wentz of the Eagles leads the NFL in touchdown passes (28), and could become only the third quarterback in NFL history to lead the NFL in touchdown passes in his second year of the league; the other two guys who did so are in the Hall of Fame: Dan Marino and Kurt Warner.

Wilson gets overlooked because he’s seemingly not even the top quarterback in his own conference. But, he has the third most touchdown passes this year (23), is second in total touchdowns (passing + rushing) only behind Wentz, and averages 35 more passing yards per game than Wentz (275 to 240). You could easily make the argument that the Seahawks would be in much bigger trouble if they lost Wilson to a long-term injury, versus if the Eagles lost Wentz to a similar injury.

Regardless, Seattle is going to give Philadelphia everything they have on Sunday evening. The Eagles find themselves in a really tough spot, having to play the Seahawks in Seattle, knowing in the back of their mind that they’ll face the NFC West-leading Los Angeles Rams one week later. If the Eagles were going to lose again at some point in the regular season, early December looks like the time frame for that to happen.

Washington Versus Dallas: Thursday Night Preview

FF-Winners.com AI Program has Dallas winning 24-23 based on a weak Washington defense. What do you think?

Thursday Night Preview: Buffalo Bills at New York Jets

 

It was only two months ago when many people believed the Buffalo Bills and New York Jets might not only be two of the worst teams in the NFL, but contenders to finish with the lowest win total in the NFL overall.

After all, new General Manager Brandon Beane and new head coach Sean McDermott came into Buffalo, and started dismantling remnants of regimes past, with eyes on the future. Meanwhile, only two seasons removed from an impetuous free agent spending spree, General Manager Mike Maccagnan and head coach Todd Bowles found themselves with what many considered to be the least-talented roster in the NFL, and their job security being tenuous at best.

And yet, halfway through the season, not only are the Buffalo Bills only one-half game behind the New England Patriots in the AFC East standings, but their 5-2 record is tied for the second best record in the entire conference. Their +38 point differential this year is the third highest in the conference, and even greater than that of the Patriots. And perhaps most notably, Buffalo is the only team in the AFC to have not lost a single home game this season.

If the New York Jets entered this game with a 1-6 or 2-7 record, nobody would’ve thought twice about it. There was still a ton of housecleaning needed on that team, before they could be anywhere near competitive in the division or the conference. And yet, their 3-5 record is actually something to be positive about, considering they’ve won three of their past six games, after starting the year 0-2. Their three losses in the past six games were all seven points or loss, and they actually held third quarter leads in two of those three losses.

The biggest matchup to watch in this game will be whether the beleaguered Jets rushing defense can stop a Bills team that would prefer to pound the football right down the collective throats of their opponents.

The Jets are ranked 27th in the NFL in rushing yards allowed to opponents, giving up over 128 yards on the ground per game. Meanwhile, Buffalo is ranked 10th in the NFL in rushing yards per game, putting up an average of over 124 yards per game on the ground. Veteran running back LeSean McCoy of the Bills is currently ranked 6th in the NFL in rushing yards with 521, and quarterback Tyrod Taylor is always a threat to pile up rushing yards because of his athletic ability.

If the Bills are able to control the clock with the running game, then it will be up to the Jets to score anytime they get the ball on offense. Unfortunately, that might be easier said than done. In contrast to the Jets, the Bills are one of the most stout teams in the NFL against the run, giving up only 80 yards per game (good for third in the NFL). On top of that, they only allow 16.9 points per game to opponents in general (also good for third in the NFL). The Jets only score less than 20 points per game themselves, so it might be the case where the first team to score 20 points ends up winning the game.