The predictions are rolling in, but so far most NFL media are picking the Seahawks to beat the Philadelphia Eagles.
Surpised? I am.
The Eagles (9-3) have a better record than the Seahawks (8-4), lead the NFC East and play at home.
What Philadelphia doesn’t have is last year’s Super Bowl ring.
Twenty-nine of 44 media predictions I found picked the Seahawks to win outright. Here’s a roundup of predictions for Week 14.
Three of four pick the Seahawks.
Jerry Brewer: Seahawks 26, Eagles 20 – The speedy, unconventional Eagles will provide a tougher test for the Seahawks’ rejuvenated, suffocating defense. And Seattle will pass.
Bob Condotta: Seahawks 23, Eagles 21 – A Seattle defense will face a great challenge against explosive Philadelphia. But count on the Seahawks forcing Mark Sanchez into just enough mistakes to get a victory.
Jayson Jenks: Eagles 20, Seahawks 17 – No shame in losing on the road to the Eagles, who have kept on chugging with Mark Sanchez at quarterback.
Larry Stone: Seahawks 19, Eagles 17 – The Seahawks won’t hold the Eagles to three, as they have their last two opponents, but they’ll shut down Chip Kelly’s frenetic offense just enough to escape with the narrow win.
Nine of 13 pick the Seahawks.
Terry Blount: Seahawks 27, Eagles 24 – This appears to be a classic matchup between an explosive offensive team in the Eagles (No. 4 at 416.7 yards per game) and a tenacious defensive team in the Seattle Seahawks (No. 1 in yards allowed per game at 285.8). But the game might be decided by whether the Eagles’ defense (ranked 24th and allowing 366.3 yards per game) can stop the Seattle offense (13th with 361 yards per game). The Eagles are 6-0 at home this season, but all six of those victories came against teams with losing records. And Philadelphia is 2-3 against teams with a winning record. Seattle also enters this game knowing it controls its fate in the NFC West if it wins its final four games. That should be enough incentive to pull it out.
Phil Sheridan: Seahawks 24, Eagles 23 – Green Bay. Arizona. San Francisco. The Eagles have had four chances to beat one of the better teams in the NFC. Outside of NFC East rival Dallas, they have lost each time. All of those games were on the road, but only Lambeau Field seemed to be a real difference-maker. Now they get a real test at home, with the defending Super Bowl champions traveling across the country. The Eagles were glad this game was in December, because they tend to improve as the season goes on. But they might have been better off getting the Seahawks earlier, when they were a little more vulnerable.
Three of five pick the Seahawks.
Elliott Harrison: Seahawks 24, Eagles 22 – Seattle’s defense doesn’t absolutely dominate this game, it merely wins the day. While I don’t see the Eagles‘ offense getting stampeded here, and while I think Mark Sanchez is capable of making some plays, I do feel this is a tough matchup for Philly. In celebrating Sanchez’s Turkey Day efficiency, people overlooked LeSean McCoy‘s contributions — particularly the impact his presence had on the second half of that game in Dallas. McCoy will probably accumulate 70-something rushing yards over the course of Sunday’s entire game, as opposed to reaching that number in each half, like he did on Thanksgiving. Expect short passes from Sanchez. Expect the Seahawks to pound Marshawn Lynch at Fletcher Cox, much like they ran right at San Francisco. Ultimately, Russell Wilson‘s third-down rushing could be the deciding factor — he leads the NFL in said category
Split, four pick each team.
Pete Prisco: Eagles 27, Seahawks 17 – This is the ultimate matchup of a good defense in Seattle against a good offense in the Eagles. So look to the other two units to decide this one. I think the Philadelphia defense has made big strides, and they will pressure Russell Wilson behind a bad line enough to limit Seattle’s offense. Eagles take it.
Four of seven pick the Seahawks.
One pick for the Seahawks,
David Steele: Seahawks 30, Eagles 21 – All wisecracks aside, no one can reasonably complain about the way Sanchez has filled in for Nick Foles the last five weeks for the Eagles; they’re 4-1 in that stretch, and the loss was in Green Bay. All things considered, including opponent and importance of the game, his best showing was his most recent, Thanksgiving Day in Dallas.
The Seahawks’ defense, meanwhile, reduced the 49ers’ offense to rubble later that night, so this shapes up as the irresistible force of Chip Kelly’s offense against the immovable object of Richard Sherman and Co.
If that winds up a draw, then the Eagles defense has to handle Seattle’s offense, which did enough to win last week against a far better 49ers defense. Even while being largely kept out of the end zone, Russell Wilson still looked like a magician, and there’s not much reason to think he can’t do the same, or more, against the Eagles.
One pick for the Seahawks.
Greg Cote: Seahawks 27, Eagles 24 – here are six or seven really nice games this week but none offers a better record than this one’s combined 17-7, or a tastier contrast than Seattle’s rugged defense vs. Philadelphia’s big, galloping attack. Both teams are coming off impressive Thanksgiving wins and both are looking to solidify the playoff pace each is on. It’s a coaching reunion of old Pac-10 rivals Pete Carroll and Chip Kelly. We also find Eagles QB Mark Sanchez trying to beat his former Southern Cal coach, Carroll. Philly has won 10 straight egular-season home games but give me ‘Hawks in a small upset. Russell Wilson has hot hand and Seattle’s defense, healthier, is playing the best it has all season. Time for Sanchez to be Sanchez and have the nightmare-game we’ve all been expecting, courtesy Richard Sherman and company.
Four of seven pick the Seahawks.
One pick for the Eagles.
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