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Russell Wilson Takes His Place As Tom Brady's Biggest MVP Challenger in Win Over Eagles

Russell Wilson vs. Carson Wentz, going head-to-head, gave both players the opportunity to make their cases for MVP.

Three quick thoughts from the Seahawks’ 24–10 win over the Eagles on Sunday Night Football...

1. A few years back, a game like Sunday night’s Seahawks-Eagles tilt wouldn’t have felt so rare or special. But as the league churns through its best aging passers and searches for the next group of must-see arms, Russell Wilson vs. Carson Wentz reminded us that the future is still bright. It’s not Manning vs. Brady just yet, but give it time.

Wilson also reminded the eastern half of the United States that there is someone ahead of Wentz in the race to catch Tom Brady for NFL MVP. Consider their numbers going in to Sunday night:

WILSON: 62.3 completion percentage, 3,029 yards, 23 touchdowns, eight interceptions. On the ground: 65 carries for 401 yards and three touchdowns.

WENTZ: 60.2 completion percentage, 2,657 yards, 28 touchdowns, five interceptions. On the ground: 55 rushes for 253 yards and no touchdowns.

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The Seahawks QB finished Sunday’s game with 227 yards passing and three touchdowns (118.6 passer rating). Wentz was 26-of-40 for 314 yards, one touchdown and one interception (86.9 rating).

Wilson has been under immense pressure and forced to be creative for so long that it feels like there isn’t much a defense can do to stymie him anymore. The blueprint is obvious: Either put a spy on Wilson or push your defensive ends up field to prevent his circular scrambling tendencies. And still, he manages to find a way. Wentz is still getting there. Over the team’s rocket-boosted 10–1 start, Wentz wasn’t pressured as consistently as he was on Sunday save for the team’s only other loss of the season against Kansas City.

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2. No one in Philadelphia is sounding the alarm quite yet, but this game was a fascinating window into how Wentz, head coach Doug Pederson and defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz would handle a playoff scenario with this team. Pederson made some odd decisions, most notably not challenging a what may have been a forward lateral Wilson made to his running back after the line of scrimmage on a crucial third down in the fourth quarter (at the time, Seattle was up just 17–10). If they’re able to stay on their feet and beat the Rams next weekend in Los Angeles, all is well. If they stumble a bit, the narrative changes: Philadelphia will have only beaten one team all season that currently has a winning record (the Carolina Panthers). Their only other “quality” wins on the season thus far? Two wins over Washington (5–7), a win over Dallas (6–6) sans Ezekiel Elliott and a win over the Chargers (6–6).

3. The addition of Sheldon Richardson has elevated this defense from great to outright daunting. Outside of three 30-plus point outliers (a win over the Texans and two losses to the Falcons and Titans) the Seahawks have not allowed more than 18 points in a single game this year. Philadelphia came in as arguably the second most intimidating offense in football and left with their leading rusher carrying the ball nine times for 35 yards. This is the seventh time on the season that Seattle has held its opponent under 100 rushing yards.