5 Seahawks to Watch in Week 12 vs. Eagles
Returning to action after a much-needed bye week, the Seahawks will look to keep pace with the 49ers in the NFC West and strengthen their grip on a wild card spot when they travel to face the Eagles in an intriguing Week 12 contest.
Which players should you keep your eyes on Sunday? To fly home with a fourth straight victory, these five Seahawks will need to turn in strong outings in Philadelphia.
Since replacing injured starter Justin Britt in the lineup last month, Hunt has already handled a couple of tough tests. He held up well against 340-plus pound behemoth Vita Vea in a win over the Buccaneers and after a dreadful start, he finished strong against a talented 49ers defensive line. But he may be facing his stiffest competition yet on Sunday in the form of four-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle Fletcher Cox.
Statistically, Cox hasn't been as dominant this year, as he has produced only 2.5 sacks and five quarterback hits through 10 games. But he's one of the few defensive linemen in the league capable of destroying an opposing game plan by himself. Hunt has actually fared well against bigger interior defenders despite his lack of size. However, athletic ones like Cox have given him fits and the Seahawks better hope the fourth-year center turns in one of the best performances of his career or it could be a long afternoon.
With three more practices under his belt, the spotlight has squarely been on Josh Gordon this week as a wild card to watch for the Seahawks. But Metcalf may have a little extra motivation playing against the Eagles, who opted to use their 57th overall pick in April's NFL Draft on J.J. Arcega-Whiteside with Metcalf still available. Philadelphia may already regret that decision, as Metcalf leads all rookie receivers in receptions, receiving yards, and touchdowns, while Arcega-Whiteside has three receptions the entire season.
Away from the draft narrative, Metcalf also should be licking his lips about the prospects of running routes against smaller cornerbacks Ronald Darby and Jalen Mills on the outside. The Eagles have made strides in coverage with both players returning to health, but they've still given up six pass plays of 40 or more yards and have proven themselves vulnerable to double moves. If Russell Wilson has time to throw, look for him to take a few shots downfield and let the rookie sensation feast.
Jadeveon Clowney won't be able to suit up on Sunday due to a hip injury, creating a major hole on Seattle's defensive line. One player alone won't be able to replicate Clowney's recent production and disruptive tendencies, but after struggling through his first seven games with just one sack and three quarterback hits, this could be the perfect opportunity for Ansah to have a breakthrough game of sorts.
Philadelphia will be without starting right tackle Lane Johnson, who remains in concussion protocol. First-round pick Andre Dillard will replace him, making his first-ever start at right tackle dating back to high school. The former Washington State standout has a bright future, but as seen on his college tape, he can be vulnerable against powerful edge rushers and has room to grow as a run blocker. Ansah possesses a favorable skill set to succeed against him, which would be a welcome sight for Seattle heading towards December.
Following the decision to waive veteran Jamar Taylor earlier this week, the nickel cornerback job appears to be Amadi's to lose. The Seahawks have anxiously been waiting to give the fourth-round pick out of Oregon another shot and though coach Pete Carroll indicated the team has other options to consider at the position, there's a good chance he'll play his first significant defensive snaps since a season-opening win over the Bengals.
“He’s done everything we’ve asked of him," Carroll said in regard to Amadi on Friday. "Had a couple big plays this week. He’s ready to go. We don’t have any reservations about it."
While it remains unknown whether or not Amadi will be able to handle quicker NFL slot receivers in coverage, he's an aggressive tackler against the run, an effective blitzer, and has a knack for making plays on the football. With a prior background playing safety as well, defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. will have extra flexibility with him on the field. Facing an Eagles squad that has been ravaged by injuries at the receiver position, including losing Desean Jackson to a season-ending abdominal tear, this should be an ideal matchup for him to receive extensive playing time and perform at a high level.
Seattle had to wait a few weeks after acquiring Diggs before he made his team debut, but he didn't disappoint against San Francisco. Even after whiffing on a couple of tackle attempts early in the game, the veteran safety shook off his rust and made several crucial plays for the Seahawks, including a 44-yard interception return. Showing off outstanding range, he also made a few big hits in coverage, adding an element the team hasn't had at free safety all season.
Now closer to 100 percent healthy thanks to the bye week and with a full grasp of the playbook, Diggs should be even better for the Seahawks heading into the final six games of the year. If the front line can generate a pass rush and get after Carson Wentz, the fourth-year quarterback has shown a propensity for uncorking some errant throws. Just as he did against Jimmy Garoppolo two weeks ago, Diggs could be the beneficiary by creating another key turnover on the road.