We have almost made it through one of the wildest weeks in recent NFL history. Tyreek Hill racked up more than 200 receiving yards in the first quarter, and Patrick Mahomes finished with more than 416 passing yards for the second time in four weeks. The Raiders went from nearly upsetting the Chiefs the last week to losing by 37 points to the Falcons. The Browns escaped with a two-point win over the Jaguars, becoming arguably the most fraudulent 8-3 team in league history.
Of course, the biggest storyline involved the Broncos, who trotted out practice squad WR Kendall Hinton at QB vs. the Saints after all four of their QBs were deemed ineligible for COVID-19 reasons. Hinton spent three seasons playing QB in college, but that clearly didn’t help him vs. the Saints: He finished with just one completion for 13 yards to go along with two interceptions.
What does Monday Night Football have in store for us? This could be another memorable contest, as rumors are swirling that Jalen Hurts will be a big part of the Eagles’ game plan this week.
Could a QB change be enough to push the Eagles over the Seahawks?
Let’s break this contest down and try to identify some potential betting value.
Seattle Seahawks (-6.5) @ Philadelphia Eagles — 48.5 total
Moneylines: Seahawks -275/Eagles +230
This season has gotten off to a disastrous start for the Eagles. They’ve limped to just a 3-6-1 record through their first 10 games, and while that still puts them in contention in the NFC East, they’ve fallen out of first place in the division for the first time since Week 8. They’ll need a win as home underdogs in this contest if they want to jump back to the top of the NFC East standings.
That will be harder said than done. They are significant home underdogs in this contest, and it’s pretty easy to see why. They rank merely 28th in Football Outsiders’ overall DVOA, and they’ve struggled in particular on the offensive side of the ball. Seattle ranks sixth in overall DVOA and boasts one of the best offensive units in the league. Philly is going to need to do more offensively if they want to keep up in this contest.
That’s the biggest reason why they are debating increasing Hurt’s involvement in this contest. The rookie second round pick was reportedly taking first-team reps at practice this week, and NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport is reporting that he is going to see playing time in place of Carson Wentz in this contest.
Hurts is an interesting prospect at the NFL level. Fans familar with his work in college will know that he was prolific at times with both Alabama and Oklahoma. He is known more for his work as a runner, and he checks all the boxes athletically. He ran a 4.59 40-yard dash at the combine — which ranks in the 95th percentile at the QB position — and his 123.8 burst score ranks in the 91st percentile.
What might surprise people is just how capable he was as a passer. His college QBR, YPA, and breakout age are all in at least the 95th percentile, and he finished with 32 passing touchdowns in his senior season.
The big question is whether or not that production is legitimate. He benefited from playing some of the best playmakers in football at Alabama, and the same goes for his time with the Sooners.
He has some questions to answer at the NFL-level, but I still think it would be a mistake to write him off completely. We’ve seen excellent athletes find success at QB in the NFL, even if it’s only for a limited time frame.
The Eagles should also be able to ease his transition by limiting his snaps. Wentz is still going to be a factor, and I would imagine that he’s going to play in most of the obvious passing situations. How much Hurts will actually play remains to be seen, but I think he could be dangerous if used properly.
The Eagles clearly need to try something because what they’ve done up until this point has simply not worked. Wentz is in the midst of his worst season as a passer, limping to an adjusted yards per attempt of 5.2. That’s the third-lowest mark among 36 qualified QBs this season.
It hasn’t been all his fault though. They’ve sustained numerous injuries along the offensive line and at the WR position, which would make life difficult for any QB. That said, they have gotten healthier recently, and their offense hasn’t shown any progression over the past two weeks.
On the other side of this matchup, the Seahawks offense matches up pretty well with the Eagles defense. The Eagles have been ok on that side of the ball this season — they rank 13th in defensive DVOA — but their biggest struggles have come against the pass. That is where the Seahawks have thrived this season.
That said, Russell Wilson has cooled off a bit after a torrid start to the season. He’s thrown 14 touchdowns compared to just eight interceptions over his past six contests, and his adjusted yards per attempt has dipped to 7.2. Wilson finished with 16 touchdowns and an 11.06 AYA through his first four games, so that represents a pretty drastic drop in production.
Still, he did bounce back with a nice performance last week vs. the Cardinals, resulting in a Pro Football Focus grade of 89.4. To put that in perspective, that was his third-highest mark of the season.
He should have no problem leaning on his talented group of pass catchers in this matchup. Two of the Eagles top three corners have been absolutely dreadful this season: Nickell Robey-Coleman ranks 91st out of 125 qualified corners according to PFF, while Avonte Maddox ranks 120th.
The Eagles’ biggest strength defensively is on their defensive line, but the Seahawks’ offensive line has played great this season. It may not seem like it on the surface — they own the second-highest adjusted sack rate allowed — but that stems more from Wilson’s play style than anything else. His ability to move around in the pocket and buy time leads to big plays down the field, but it also results in plenty of sacks. Overall, the Seahawks have three players on their offensive line who own a top-10 PFF grade at their position.
From a betting perspective, the public unsurprisingly wants nothing to do with the Eagles. They’ve garnered just 34% of the early spread tickets, which has caused this line to move all the way to Seattle -6.5.
However, there has been some sharp activity on the Eagles recently. They’ve received 42% of the betting dollars, which does represent a slight increase compared to the ticket count. It wouldn’t surprise me if more big action comes in on the Eagles closer to game time.
The biggest sharp activity in this contest has come on the under, which has caused this line to drop to 48.5 despite opening at 53.0.
I’m a bit conflicted here. I see a formula for the Seahawks offense to blow this game wide open, but I also think the Eagles could be better offensively with Hurts in the lineup. Hurts should also slow this game down a bit for the Eagles, so I see why the sharp bets have landed on the under. However, I don’t see a ton of value chasing the steam at the current number.
This game ultimately feels like a pass, and I’ll look to limit my action to the player prop market instead.
The Pick: Pass
Player Prop Bets
Seahawks TE Jacob Hollister
- Over 2.0 receptions (+135)
- Over 15.5 receiving yards (-115)
Hollister is a player I definitely want exposure to tonight in DFS and the prop market. Greg Olsen is going to miss an extended period of time with an injury, which leaves Hollister and Will Dissly to handle most of the snaps at TE. Dissly is the better bet to see more playing time, but Hollister has been the superior option as a pass catcher this season. Hollister has seen at least three targets in three of his past five games despite being used pretty sparingly. If he sees more playing time today, I love his chances of getting to at least three catches.
The Seahawks are also dealing with some injuries at the WR position — David Moore and Freddie Swaim are both questionable — so they may have no choice but to utilize more two-TE formations in this contest.
Seahawks WR D.K. Metcalf
- Under 75.5 receiving yards (-105)
Metcalf is a bonafide stud. There’s no doubting that at this point. He checks basically every box you’re looking for in an alpha WR, and he gets to play with one of the best QBs in football.
I’m not going to make a habit of fading a player this talented, but I do think he’s being a bit overvalued for this particular matchup. Darious Slay is expected to shadow Metcalf, and he is the Eagles only good corner. With that in mind, I think Wilson will likely look to Lockett more than Metcalf on tonight’s slate.
We’ve seen a pretty similar game script for the Seahawks in their past two contests. Metcalf has had to deal with Patrick Peterson and Jalen Ramsey, and he’s received just nine total targets. Lockett has received nine targets in each game. Metcalf is obviously capable of making me look foolish, but I think this is the right call.
Eagles WR Jalen Raegor
- Under 53.5 receiving yards (-110)
I’m not going to try to decipher the Eagles QB situation. Hurts could be on the field for five snaps, or he could be on the field for 50. There’s just too much uncertainty to target either Hurts or Wentz in the prop market.
Instead, I like the idea of selling Raegor. He has some talent as a first-round pick in last year’s draft, and he also played on 93% of the Eagles’ snaps last week. However, the QB carousel has the potential to hurt all of Philly’s pass catchers. If Hurts plays more than expected, that will likely kill the value for all of their receivers. I would expect them to use a run-first style of offense similar to the way that Baltimore uses Lamar Jackson.
If Hurts is only going to spell Wentz periodically, that could still have a negative effect on their pass catchers. He hasn’t been great to begin with this season, and being in and out of the lineup could prevent him from getting into a rhythm.