By Rob Maaddi
The Eagles are at their best under the lights on the national stage.
The good news stops there.
Their 3-0 record in prime-time games this season is on the line when the Seattle Seahawks visit the Linc for Monday Night Football.
Russell Wilson is 5-0 against the Eagles and the Seahawks have won six in a row in the series.
So, one of the two streaks will end unless the teams tie.
Carson Wentz is starting. Jalen Hurts is expected to get a few snaps with Wentz off the field instead of split wide as a decoy.
They’ll face the NFL’s worst pass defense and worst overall defense. The Seahawks are allowing 434.9 yard per game, including 343.7 in the air.
Here are three matchups to watch:
1. Eagles WR Travis Fulgham vs. Seahawks CB Shaquill Griffin
Fulgham has two catches for 16 yards on 12 targets in the last two games after an impressive start. Is Fulgham a legitimate starting receiver who had 28 catches for 427 yards and four TDs in his first five games or is he showing us why he was a sixth-round pick who was cut three times?
“I don’t think teams have adjusted that much, maybe a little bit more attention, but I think the opportunity is still there to make plays,” Fulgham said when asked if defenses are playing him any different.
Doug Pederson made it clear Fulgham needs to improve. He’s not making the contested catches he made earlier in the season and not getting open as frequently.
“We have seen a top defender, corner, at least go to his side of the field or at least guard him,” Pederson said. “It’s something that he has to, as a young player, he has to understand. If he wants to be an elite receiver in this game, and in this league, he’s going to know that’s always going to be the case every week, and he really has to focus in and detail his work and practice hard and fast and just prepare himself for that. That’s how you see some of the great players in this league, particularly at the receiver position, how they handle that. Just knowing that they’re going to gain the respect around the league the more opportunities and the better they become.”
2. Eagles DEs Brandon Graham & Vinny Curry vs. Seahawks RT Cedric Ogbuehi
The Seahawks are missing starter Brandon Snell so Ogbuehi will make his first start since 2017 with Cincinnati. Ogbuehi was a first-round pick in 2015 now playing for his third team in three years. Graham and Curry need to take advantage and pressure the quarterback. Wilson has 10 turnovers in the last five games. All of those came in Seattle’s three losses during that span.
“He’s a quarterback who takes what you give him,” Graham said. “He can beat you with his legs and his arm and he has great receivers to get it to.”
3. Eagles CB Darius Slay vs. Seahawks WR DK Metcalf
Slay will likely cover Metcalf, leaving Avonte Maddox on Tyler Lockett. That’s a mismatch so it’s even more important that Slay can handle Metcalf. That won’t be easy. Metcalf is already one of the best receivers in the NFL. He has 48 catches for 862 yards and nine TDs but has been relatively quiet the last two games with only five receptions for 74 yards and one score.
Metcalf had the best game of his rookie season against the Eagles in the playoffs last January. He caught seven balls for 160 yards and a TD. Metcalf and Lockett are the only pair of teammates this season with at least 700 yards receiving and at least eight TD catches.
“He’s so big, his arms are so long,” defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz said of Metcalf. “Slay has generally been good handling guys like that, whether it’s A.J. Green or any of these other guys that he’s been matched up on. He has those long arms and he can poke balls away and things like that. It’s a great challenge for us. It’s not just getting him covered, it’s tackling him. You have to defend every inch of the field with a guy like that. They can just throw a zero hitch to him, zero meaning it’s a zero-yard route and just get him the ball and he’s hard to handle. He’s strong and fast and he’s like a linebacker, so you have to get him tackled on that stuff. He also has the speed to be able to go deep.”