The Philadelphia Eagles visit the Seattle Seahawks in Week 13 of the 2017 NFL season. PFF previews the top player matchups of the game.
Coverage by: Mike Alessandrini
Matchup: Philadelphia Eagles offense vs. Seattle Seahawks defense
- TE Zach Ertz vs. LB Bobby Wagner – After a rough Sunday night against Dallas in Week 11, Zach Ertz exploded for his best performance of the year last week versus Chicago. The tight end led his team with 12 targets, ten receptions and 103 receiving yards, while also scoring his seventh red zone touchdown of 2017. This performance landed Ertz on our team of the week. His 2.78 yards per route run ranked fourth at his position while his 90.6 overall grade ranked first in Week 12. Philadelphia’s top receiving threat will face a stiff test on Sunday Night Football this week against one of the league’s top defenders. Wagner has allowed just 0.73 yards per coverage snap this season, picking off two passes in the process. When matched up against tight ends over his last six games, the linebacker surrendered just five catches for 30 yards.
- C Jason Kelce vs. DI Sheldon Richardson – The Eagles center is in the middle of his best season since entering the league as a sixth-round pick in 2011. His 96.8 run-blocking grade leads all players at his position this year. Kelce is a key part of an Eagles run game that ranks second league-wide in rushing yards, third in yards per carry and first in runs gaining 20 or more yards. The veteran’s key matchup along the defensive line will come against first-year Seahawk Sheldon Richardson. Richardson has accumulated 17 stops against the run in 2017, while earning an 82.8 run-defense grade. His 10.8 run-stop percentage currently ranks ninth at his position. If Kelce can best Richardson in this matchup, Philadelphia’s rushing attack could continue its dominance in Seattle.
- WR Alshon Jeffery vs. CB Shaquill Griffin – Jeffery continued his recent hot streak last week against the Bears, catching five of eight targets for 52 yards and an eight-yard touchdown: his fifth in four games. Carson Wentz had a 120.8 passer rating when targeting his tall wideout. On the season, Jeffery sports a 76.9 overall grade (34th ranked at his position) and 1.7 yards per route run (25th best). On the other side of the line, Shaquill Griffin (concussion) returns from his one game absence. The rookie has handled himself well at times, earning a 74.8 overall grade so far in 2017. His 10.7 coverage snaps per reception ranks fifth among rookie corners, while opposing quarterbacks have a 79.7 rating when targeting the former UCF Golden Knight.
Coverage by: Mike Cahill
Matchup: Seattle Seahawks offense vs. Philadelphia Eagles defense
- TE Jimmy Graham vs. Eagles coverage – With Graham lining up all over the field, he will face a bevy of coverages against the Eagles, though half of his receptions since Week 8 have come lined out either outside right or outside left. Either way, Graham’s best routes have been defended at a remarkable rate by the Eagles, with one of his best routes not even attempted against them over the last four weeks. However, in that same span, Graham has scored six touchdowns, while no other tight end has more than three, and he has been responsible for a first down or touchdown on 63 percent of his 40 targets, the second highest rate among tight ends with 30 or more targets. While the Seahawks have scored less than 20 points only once since Week 8 after doing it three times in their first six games, the Eagles have allowed more than 10 points once in that span, and have held tight ends to nine catches on 13 targets for 81 yards, one pass defended, and have two defensive players with a coverage grade at 85.0 or higher. As noted prior, it will be particularly interesting to see if Graham can have success on his four most successful routes against an Eagles team who has done so well defending slants, ‘go's', ‘ins', and haven't even been targeted on a corner route in four weeks.
- WR Paul Richardson vs. CB Ronald Darby – Richardson is currently tied for fourth in catch rate on passes of 20 or more yards with seven catches on 14 targets of such passes. Both his reception total (7) and yards (235) are both in the top-15 as well, and with 23.6 of his targets coming on deep passes, they will look for him deep often. Darby is only in his third game back since missing Weeks 2-10 due to injury. There will be no rust to shake off, as he has seen the most targets against in Weeks 11-12 with 21 and has allowed a passer rating of 51.5 into his coverage (12th lowest). Not one of the 12 receptions he has allowed has gone for more than 19 yards and but he is allowing an average of 1.70 yards per coverage snap on 64 coverage snaps, 13th most.
- RB Eddie Lacy vs. Eagles run defense – Despite his 2.7 yards per carry in Week 12, Eddie Lacy finally produced more than two forced missed tackles with five. With 42 of his 46 yards coming after contact, he showed that if his line can open wholes for him this offense can go to the next level. Even with one of the most dominate defenses in the league, the Eagles defense is missing tackles on 14.4 percent of their tackle attempts, which is tied for fourth-highest rate in the league. Lacey’s 61.8 elusive rating in Week 12 ranked seventh among running backs, while he held an elusive rating of 18.5 through his first seven games.