3 Keys to Victory for the Seahawks in the Wild Card Game
By Tristan Jung
The Seattle Seahawks came just short of winning the NFC West, meaning that they will go on the road to face the Philadelphia Eagles in the final game of the Wild Card Round.
Russell Wilson and the Seahawks have been resilient all season, overcoming key injuries to go 11-5. They were 7-1 on the road and will go into Sunday's game as 1.5-point road favorites. The Seahawks beat the Eagles 17-9 in Philadelphia in Week 12, and they will need to repeat that winning formula if they want to advance in the playoffs.
Here are the Seahawks' three keys to victory to Sunday's game:
1. Establish A Strong Passing Attack Through Tyler Lockett
The biggest weakness for the Eagles is their secondary, which ranks 16th in pass defense DVOA and has been shaky all season. The Seahawks need Russell Wilson to be explosive and efficient while throwing downfield. While the Seahawks were able to successfully run the ball in Week 12, a season-ending injury to Chris Carson and an Eagles run defense that ranks fourth in DVOA should make running the ball more difficult, even with the return of Marshawn Lynch. Luckily, Seattle will have a fully healthy Tyler Lockett ready for this game. Lockett was still recovering from a leg injury in the first game, but the dynamic wide receiver can do some serious damage to the Eagles' secondary. Expect the Seahawks to get him the ball as much as possible.
2. Contain the Eagles' Running Backs
While this matchup could play out in different ways depending on the health of Miles Sanders and Jordan Howard, there's no doubt that the Seahawks must stop the Eagles from getting anything going on the ground. The Seahawks have the No. 26 rush defense by DVOA and have really struggled against opposing running backs down the stretch. Kenyan Drake and Raheem Mostert had two-TD games against the Seahawks in Weeks 16 and 17. The Seahawks' coaching staff must find a way to limit the Eagles' running backs like they did in Week 12, when Sanders had only 63 yards. That matchup is also not limited to handoffs. The Eagles make excellent use of Sanders and Boston Scott as pass catchers. Seattle will need a vintage day from K.J. Wright and Bobby Wagner, especially after Mychal Kendricks suffered a season-ending torn ACL last week.
3. Pressure Carson Wentz Consistently
Despite giving up a third-round pick for Jadaveon Clowney in the offseason, the Seahawks rank No. 30 in adjusted sack rate and have struggled to develop a consistent pass rush in 2019. Clowney has been banged up for much of the season, but he expects to play on Sunday. That being said, whatever Clowney's status is, the Seahawks will need more from the entire unit on Sunday. Ziggy Ansah, Quinton Jefferson, and Jarran Reed must find a way to get to Carson Wentz. The Eagles lost Pro Bowl right guard Brandon Brooks for the season in Week 17, and the Seahawks must take advantage. If Wentz is given enough time, he should find plenty of holes against the Seahawks' secondary, just as other quarterbacks have done all season.
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Tristan Jung is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Tristan Jung also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username tristan1117. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.