Eagles take road woes to Seattle
PHILADELPHIA » To get to where the Eagles want to go, they’re going to need a road win.
The Birds are unbeaten at Lincoln Financial Field this season. They’ve lost four of five away games.
With a 5-4 record, it’s possible, but highly unlikely, the Eagles can get into the playoffs by winning out in their last four home games.
Right now the Eagles are the seventh seed in the NFC where, we all know, only the first six seeds are in the playoffs. The Birds also are last in the NFC East.
Dallas (8-1) is the first seed in the NFC, followed by the Seattle Seahawks, the Eagles’ opponent Sunday at Century Link Field. The third seed is Atlanta (64), followed by Detroit (5-4), the New York Giants (6-3) and Washington (5-3-1).
With the exception of the Seahawks (6-2-1), who are 6½ point favorites this weekend, the Eagles have lost to all of those teams except Atlanta. Not a good place to be in terms of tiebreakers.
The 4-0 home dominance versus the road ineptitude is an issue that puzzles the Eagles more than their critics. The Birds have lost four of five road games by seven or fewer points.
“It’s crazy because literally last year, it was a totally different story,” Eagles leading receiver Jordan Matthews said. “We played better on the road and we were terrible at home. I know for a fact we’re feeding off this energy from the crowd at home. It’s been great. We can’t say enough about the fans coming out and supporting the way they do.”
Matthews offered another perspective on the road struggles. It’s entirely possible, for example, that the Eagles are guilty of playing to the level of competition.
The home victories are largely against solid teams, including the previously unbeaten Pittsburgh Steelers and Minnesota Vikings, as well as the explosive Falcons.
“I just think guys are juiced up and a lot of our home games have been big games we felt like we’ve got to go out and win,” Matthews said. “Now we’ve got to take that same approach and add it to every single game. Going into the Steelers game, there were a lot of people saying we didn’t have a chance. We went out there and got the job done. Same way with the Vikings. I think even coming into (the Atlanta) game, a lot of people probably kind of thought we were on the downhill slope. So we’ve just got to take that same aggression into each game no matter who we’re playing.”
Last year the Eagles were 4-4 on the road and 3-5 at the Linc.
In 2014 the Eagles were 6-2 at home and 4-4 on the road.
Three years ago the Birds were just 4-4 at home and 6-2 on the road.
Why is this Eagles team so shaky on the road?
“Because I think we kind of hear you all talk about us losing,” defensive end Brandon Graham said, only half kidding after the win over the Falcons. “All of you picked us to lose. But I don’t know, man. We need to bring that energy that we brought to practice last week because it was a home game, and take it and carry it over to these away games. As you can see, the teams that win in this league are the ones that can win away games.”
The Seahawks are on a pretty good roll themselves. They’re unbeaten at home. Quarterback Russell Wilson has connected on 68.6 percent of his throws for 2,422 yards and 10 TDs with two interceptions and a 99.4 rating. The defense is allowing just 17.5 points per game.
“It’s going to be tough because we’re going into a hostile environment,” said Graham, who leads the Eagles with 5 sacks.
The Eagles have momentum. Rookie quarterback Carson Wentz is coming off his first fourth-quarter comeback victory. He’s completed 65 percent of his attempts for 2,121 yards and nine TDs with five interceptions and an 87.6 rating.
The Eagles, though, have lost four of their last five games in the series with the Seahawks, who are 4-0 at Century Link Field this season.