Eagles-Seahawks predictions

Eagles-Seahawks predictions

A win in Week 13 would be pretty special for the Eagles.

It would mark their 10th straight while clinching the NFC East.

But standing in the way are the Seahawks (7-4) and CenturyLink Field, a combination the NFL-best Eagles (10-1) will try to tackle on Sunday Night Football (8:30 p.m./NBC).

Can Carson Wentz and company punch their playoff ticket in Seattle?

Our experts provide their predictions:

Reuben Frank (11-0)
The Eagles have been blowing out teams so routinely lately it’s hard to remember what a close game feels like. It’s been a while. Sunday night, they face a team that certainly isn’t going to get blown out. The Seahawks have never lost a game by more than a touchdown under Russell Wilson, so most likely we will see an intense, taut game decided in the final few minutes of the fourth quarter.

But let’s be honest. The Seahawks are not who they used to be. With their injuries and changes, some of the intimidation factor is gone. No Marshawn Lynch. No Richard Sherman. No Kam Chancellor. Different team. And at home, where they were essentially unbeatable from 2012 through last year, they just lost to the Falcons and the Redskins.

So good game. Close game. Competitive game. But I see one team moving up into the NFC elite and one team that’s maybe moving out. Birds keep on rolling. Bring on the Rams! 

Eagles 27, Seahawks 26

Dave Zangaro (9-2)
I know Seattle is supposed to be a scary place to play and I know the Seahawks are supposed to be unbeatable there. But they're not. There's a reason Seattle has lost its last two home games: it's not that team anymore. 

Sure, it still has Wilson, who is really special. And it has Earl Thomas and Bobby Wagner on defense, who are both fantastic. But this isn't the same team that won the Super Bowl. This isn't even the same team the Eagles faced last year in Seattle. 

And the Eagles aren't the same team from last year either. The Birds are the best team in football and they now have a chance to clinch the division on Sunday Night Football. They're going to do it. 

You have probably heard a lot about the Eagles' easy schedule this season, but they're a reason it looks so easy. They've beaten teams so bad that those teams have trouble recovering. And now those wins in L.A. and Carolina look much better. Add another quality victory to the list this weekend. The Eagles are going to prove their dominance. 

Eagles 31, Seahawks 21

Derrick Gunn (10-1)
Now we get to a game that means something. After four weeks of watching the Birds blow out lesser competition, they step up in a challenge against a foe that knows how to prepare for big encounters. The Seahawks have been to the playoffs five years in a row, including two Super Bowl appearances. The 'Hawks are hurting on defense — Sherman is out for the year, Chancellor has a neck injury and Cliff Avril is out, as well. But Seattle still has that guy Wilson, who has thrown for 23 touchdown passes this year — 15 of them have come in the last six games. Wilson is the master of the scramble drill and he has a versatile group of talented receivers. It will be interesting to see how the Eagles' secondary matches up with their personnel. 

Carson Wentz and his offense will be thoroughly tested by the Seahawks' defensive scheme. If the Birds can get their run game going, it will take a lot of pressure off Wentz in the passing game. A win for the Eagles in the loudest stadium in the NFL will go a long way in terms of preparing them for what's to come in the postseason. So many different ways this one could go, but I'm going with a hunch that Wentz learned some valuable lessons about how to play in that environment last year, and because this team is on a roll right now, I'll say Eagles.

Eagles 23, Seahawks 20

Ray Didinger (10-1)
There was a time when the Seahawks were unbeatable at CenturyLink Field. Remember the 12th Man Mystique? The crowd noise that made it almost impossible for a visiting team to run a play?

Well, CenturyLink is still loud but it is no longer an intimidating place. Why? Simple. The team isn't as good. Injuries have crippled the defense and with Lynch gone, it can't run the football. Wilson leads the team in rushing by almost 200 yards. He is the reason the Seahawks (7-4) are still alive in the playoff race.

The Seahawks have lost their last two home games and they haven't lost three in a row at CenturyLink since 2008. I'm sure the Seahawks will be ready to play on Sunday and the 12th Man will be at full roar, but right now the Eagles are the better team.

Eagles 28, Seahawks 21

Andrew Kulp (10-1)
Two weeks ago, the Falcons went into Seattle and tied a season high with 34 points against the once-vaunted Seahawks defense. It simply isn't the same unit without Sherman and Chancellor in the secondary, and I would expect Wentz to expose this weakness.

Wilson may be able keep the Seahawks afloat for awhile, but if the Eagles can score their weekly 30, they should be safe.

Eagles 34, Seahawks 21

LeGarrette Blount has found a new home

AP Images

LeGarrette Blount has found a new home

A big piece of the Eagles’ 2017 Super Bowl season is moving on. 

Running Back LeGarrette Blount has signed with the Detroit Lions. Blount's deal will be for one-year, $4.5 million, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport

Blount, 31, was scheduled to visit the Lions on Friday and he didn’t leave without a new deal. He’ll reunite with Lions head coach Matt Patricia, who was the defensive coordinator in New England when Blount was there; the familiarity probably helped. 

Last offseason, Blount took his time deciding where he’d land. He didn’t sign with the Eagles until May and his contract was worth around $1 million. He apparently showed enough during 2017 to get a bigger deal this time around. 

After beginning the season as the Eagles’ primary runner, he eventually saw his role diminish after the Birds added Jay Ajayi through a trade. Still, Blount played in all 16 games and rushed for 766 yards during the regular season. More importantly, he had 14 carries for 90 yards and a touchdown in Super Bowl LII. Blount had a rushing touchdown in all three playoff games after having just two during the regular season. 

Perhaps more important than his contributions on the field, it was Blount’s unselfish nature that seemed to rub off on his teammates. When he and Alshon Jeffery were on board with that unselfish mindset, it seemed like the rest of the team followed. 

As recently as late February, Blount indicated he wanted to return to Philadelphia, where he really seemed to fit in the locker room and under running backs coach Duce Staley, whom Blount clearly respects. 

"Obviously I like it a lot there,” Blount said in February on NFL Network. “They like me a lot there. It's a mutual respect and a mutual agreement thing about how we feel about each other. Obviously, you guys know how I feel about the team, the guys; I love those guys.”

While Blount said he wanted to return to Philly, it was unlikely the Eagles could have (or would have) offered him the type of contract he’s getting from the Lions. 

Meanwhile, the Eagles still have Ajayi and Corey Clement under contract from last season. Kenjon Barner is a free agent. The running back position still seems up in the air, but the Eagles have a few months and a draft to figure it out. 

Looking back at trio of Eagles' 2016 extensions

USA Today Images/AP Images

Looking back at trio of Eagles' 2016 extensions

Back in early 2016, just after Howie Roseman had been reinstated to his post of power, he pulled out some moves from the classic Joe Banner playbook. 

He tried to find value in projection. 

Within a nine-day span in early 2016, the Eagles signed Vinny Curry, Zach Ertz and Lane Johnson to lucrative five-year extensions. Since then, Ertz and Johnson have grown into Pro Bowl players, rendering their contracts relative bargains. 

Curry simply remained a good player, which is why he was cut on Friday afternoon

While Curry finally became a starter in 2017, he had just three sacks and the team drafted Derek Barnett and traded for Michael Bennett who was cheaper and better. It’s certainly not really a knock on Curry, who had his best professional season during the Eagles’ Super Bowl year. 

When Curry signed his five-year, $47.25 million extension in February 2016, he was just two years removed from his nine-sack season and was seen as a much better fit in the 4-3 scheme Jim Schwartz was bringing to town. So the Eagles paid Curry like he was going to play at a Pro Bowl level and it never happened. In that first year, the Eagles tried to peg him in as a starter opposite of Connor Barwin, but Brandon Graham outplayed him. After Barwin was gone, Curry became a starter, but was just good; not great. 

Meanwhile, the two other big contracts handed to Ertz and Johnson have clearly worked out. Cutting Curry really speaks more to the nature of NFL contracts these days than it does to the level of his play. 

Sure, Curry never played to the level of his contract, but the deals for Ertz and Johnson look much better. And unlike Curry, both of them had one year left on their rookie deals when the Eagles tried to gain value in re-signing them early. It’s worked out. 

Ertz was the first of the three to sign his five-year extension. His was worth $42.5 million and as a Pro Bowler in 2017, he’s beginning to outplay it. He’s now the fifth-highest-paid tight end in the league and he’ll continue to drop on that list as he plays out the next four years of that deal. The best part of Ertz’s contract is it wasn’t heavily backloaded, which has allowed the Eagles to restructure with him the last two offseasons to create some cap room. 

The second of the three big five-year extensions based on projections went to Lane Johnson. His deal was worth $56.25 million. Of course, Johnson’s suspension in 2016 was tough, but he rebounded to have an incredible 2017. He’s the highest-paid right tackle in football, but he’s 10th among all offensive tackles, which is a good value. 

Twenty days after Curry signed his deal, Malcolm Jenkins also got a five-year deal, but at that point he had already been a Pro Bowler, so his deal was more based off of production than projection. 

During that entire offseason, every single time Roseman was asked about the moves he made that offseason, he continually said the most important ones were the moves they made to keep their own players. That obviously included the projection deals for Curry, Johnson and Ertz. 

Sure, only two of the three ended up being bargains with tenable contracts. But even Curry was useful during the two years he played of his extension before the Eagles took the out they built into the deal. That’s not a bad hit rate.