RENTON, Wash. – Sometimes, Pete Carroll launches into a monologue on the many virtues of the team the Seattle Seahawks are about to face, and it’s obvious he’s trying to make sure his team stays focused on an inferior opponent.
This isn’t one of those times.
The Seattle Seahawks’ coach was effusive in his praise of the Philadelphia Eagles last week, making it clear he understands why this is the rare time Vegas odds-makers have installed his team as a home underdog. In a press conference Wednesday, Carroll said he hoped a good week in practice would at least “give us a chance” in the 5:30 p.m. game at CenturyLink Field.
“This is a heck of a good football game, we hope, coming up,” Carroll said. “We’re trying to take it one day at a time in preparation and put together a week that gives us a chance against a team that’s just high-flying. Philadelphia is just doing everything well.
“They’re very well-balanced, and their numbers are in the right places: Turnovers, running the football, explosive plays, quarterback efficiency, all that stuff. Everything is really lining up great and they’re having a fantastic year.”
He’s not kidding about any of that, by the way. The Eagles are indeed having a fantastic year, jumping out to the best start in the NFL (10-1) on the strength of the league’s highest-scoring offense (31.9 points per game) and third-stingiest defense (17.4 PPG) – a whopping 14.5 PPG differential, by far the best in the NFL.
“They’re not gonna fool you; they’re gonna line up and play football and come after you,” Carroll said. “They’ve been ahead so much in these games, they’ve had the great opportunity of running the ball at the end and keeping you from wanting to run the ball because you’ve gotta keep up.
“The score differentials are crazy.”
On offense, they do it with a balanced attack. LeGarrette Blount has 658 yards on the ground, one of four running backs who have at least 150 yards this season.
Quarterback Carson Wentz is having a breakout year, completing 213 of 354 passes for 2,657 yards and 28 touchdowns, with just five interceptions, while rushing for 253 yards.
“He just seems more in command of everything,” Carroll said. “He was good last year – I said some stuff about him last time around and in preparation after we had seen him … I thought he was really going to be a great player. He’s just doing everything. He’s protecting the football well, he’s really making big plays. They’re very explosive. He’s got a rushing average, he’s running the football. They’ve got a running game with him as well. He’s really tough in the pocket. He scrambles effectively, and has been really creative and resourceful with big plays.
“They have a ton of explosive plays, and he’s right in the middle of most of that.”
Carroll said some of the Eagles’ success traces back to solid fundamentals.
“Their blocking and the principles of what they’re doing is just working out great for them, and they’re complimenting it very well with the play-action off of it,” he said. “So, it’s very difficult.”