Editor’s note: Steve Fini chimes in prior to tonight’s Eagles-Seahawks game to look at five players who will decide which team picks up their fifth win (Jesus) of the season.
Earl Thomas (Safety/Seahawks) – I’m really excited to see Thomas play, who was the player that most fans felt like the Eagles should have drafted last year instead of Brandon Graham. And I don’t believe Graham will even dress thtonight, so it’s not like we can compare performances.
While Thomas appears to be on the verge of developing into one of the game’s top safeties, Graham was injured last year and hasn’t looked right since. Thomas is a ball-hawk and a smart player. He can also tackles well and can when called upon to do so. Meanwhile, the Eagles have had the likes of Nate Allen, Kurt Coleman, Jarrad Page, Colt Anderson and Jaiquawn Jarrett all get time at safety. You know what they all have in common? They suck.
Maybe the Eagles can exploit Thomas downfield and help quiet some of the anger fans have over this perceived draft failure. The way this season has gone, however, Thomas will probably record a sack, forced fumble, interception and touchdown.
Marshawn Lynch (RB/Seahawks) – Lynch is a player that when motivated can really get the job done. While he’s been inconsistent throughout his career, he’s been hot lately. Lynch runs hard and has deceptive speed. The Eagles have had tackling issues all season long. Add these two factors together and Lynch is the perfect back to take advantage of this defense. The Eagles are lucky that the Seahawks don’t have a quarterback or passing game to speak of, so that should at least allow defensive coordinator Juan Castillo to bring eight and nine guys in the box.
DeSean Jackson (WR/Eagles) – I fully expect Jackson to start putting up major numbers. He has to be embarrassed by the season he has had. Plus, it’s his 25th birthday today, so he’s, like, got to have a good game, right? With the Eagles out of the playoff mix, I expect the Eagles to open up the playbook and take some shots. Jackson is bound to catch a 50-yard touchdown sometime in the next few weeks. Maybe tonight’s the night.
Vince Young (QB/Eagles) – I can’t solely blame him for the loss against New England. I feel teams around the league are noticing that given the right system (which isn’t the Eagles’ system), Young could be at least a serviceable quarterback for years to come. If the Seahawks had a quarterback like Young they would still be in the race for a playoff berth. Young is on a one-year deal with the Eagles and he won’t be back with the team next year. With this likely being Young’s last game before Michael Vick returns to play out the string, this is a huge game for Young. He’ll be at least one Eagle motivated to play tonight.
LeSean McCoy (RB/Eagles) –If anyone on the Eagles needs to be paid it’s McCoy. If anyone deserves a Pro Bowl selection it’s McCoy. If anyone deserves to hate these coaches and leave this team out of frustration it’s, yup, you guessed it, McCoy. Being the leading rusher in the NFL is a great feat. When the guy does it on a team that refuses to give him the carries he deserves, it’s even more astonishing. After relying on McCoy to revive their season, the offensive coaches have gone back to their old ways. He had 14 touches against the Patriots. That not just bad play calling, it’s insane. If defensive line coach Jim Washburn and offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg really did get into a spat on the sidelines, it was likely over this.