Eagles at Seahawks MNF: Backup Quarterbacks Set to Take Center Stage

Dec 10, 2023; Santa Clara, California, USA; Seattle Seahawks quarterback Drew Lock (2) is likely to make his second straight start Monday as the Seahawks host the Eagles. Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 10, 2023; Santa Clara, California, USA; Seattle Seahawks quarterback Drew Lock (2) is likely to make his second straight start Monday as the Seahawks host the Eagles. Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

Philadelphia (10-3) at Seattle (6-7), Monday Night Football, ESPN, 8:15 ET


The Eagles received an early Xmas gift yesterday from Buffalo when the Bills thrashed the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday, 31-10.


Now the Eagles are presented a chance to reclaim sole possession of first place in the NFC East.


To do that, though, they must venture into as difficult a road environment as exists in the NFL: Seattle’s Lumen Field. The Seahawks, losers of five straight, are reeling. Still, their loud stadium can energize them as much as it disrupts the opposition’s offense. Seattle still controls its destiny — winning out will assuredly lock up a wild-card spot. That's the best they can do since San Francisco laid claim to the NFC West title by beating Arizona yesterday.


For Seattle to right itself, they will need an effective quarterback performance. Unfortunately, Geno Smith, their regular starter, is a long shot to play because of a groin injury that kept him out of the Seahawks' loss to San Francisco last week. If he does not go, then Drew Lock, who threw for 269 yards and two scores against the 49ers, will again start.


Philadelphia might also be without its starting quarterback and MVP candidate, Jalen Hurts. On Saturday, Hurts came down with flu-like symptoms and is questionable as of Monday morning. His availability will likely be a game-time decision. 


If Hurts is unable to go, then former Oregon Duck star Marcus Mariota returns to the Pacific Northwest in what would be his first NFL start since last season when he was with the Atlanta Falcons.


On defense, the Eagles will be without corner Darius Slay. The five-time Pro Bowler underwent arthroscopic knee surgery this week and will miss this game at the very least. His absence puts more pressure on an Eagles defense that has struggled in recent games, and the prospects of going up against D.K. Metcalf and a talented group of Seattle receivers without Slay can not be a pleasant one for coach Matt Patricia, who, in a shakeup among the Eagles’ coaching staff, will handle the play-calling duties instead of defensive coordinator Sean Desai.


Given Slay’s injury and the likelihood that they will not be able to run the ball effectively, look for the Seahawks to test that depleted secondary and Philadelphia’s 28th-ranked pass defense — no matter who starts at quarterback. 


In recent weeks, the production from Philadelphia’s offense has also slipped, especially its once-vaunted red-zone offense. The Eagles scored just 32 points combined in their blowout losses to San Francisco and Dallas. Their running game, which faltered against San Francisco, needs to step up to keep Hurts out of third-and-long situations, when the Seahawks’ 12th Man can be especially troublesome. If Philadelphia wins on first down, them look for A.J. Brown and tight end Dallas Goedert to make big plays in the red zone.


We expect the Eagles to be energized by the opportunity afforded them by Dallas’ loss. If they withstand an early surge by the Seahawks, then the Eagles win handily. Philadelphia 31, Seattle 21.



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