PHILADELPHIA, PA – NOVEMBER 24: Fletcher Cox #91 of the Philadelphia Eagles rushes Russell Wilson #3 … [+]
The Wild Card round of the 2020 NFL Playoffs will conclude on Sunday afternoon with the Seattle Seahawks (11-5, No. 5 NFC) taking on the Philadelphia Eagles (9-7, No. 4 NFC) in a win-or-go-home showdown at 4:40 p.m. ET on NBC. Despite their superior record, the Seahawks are traveling to the City of Brotherly Love for this contest after failing to win the NFC West crown on the final day of the regular season. Seattle’s defeat to the rival San Francisco 49ers was the its third loss in four games, an ugly spiral that landed the club in the Wild Card rather than the Divisional portion of the bracket to start the playoffs. The Eagles finished their year with far more momentum then their upcoming opponent. The squad appeared well on its way to missing the playoffs entirely this year, but put things together down the stretch by winning four consecutive games against divisional opponents to secure a third consecutive postseason appearance.
Bookmakers are indicating that this is the most evenly matched game of the Wild Card round. Most shops have this game as a pick ‘em, moving the line a point in Philadelphia’s favor after initially installing the Seahawks as the narrowest of favorites to advance. Interestingly enough, this shift wasn’t made because of how the public is betting this game, as a whopping 79% of all wagers and 69% of all money bet against the spread has been on Seattle to cover. The sharps are the ones responsible for the line movement, since the smart money has been betting that the Eagles take care of business at home ever since this game went up on the board. The total on the contest has also been adjusted slightly, although this movement coincides with public betting trends. The line has dropped one point off the opening mark of 46 points, with 59% of tickets and 72% of the handle on the under.
Will the Eagles find a way to fly into the Divisional Round by beating the Seahawks for the first time since 2011, or will Seattle continue its dominance of this opponent and secure its sixth consecutive win over Philadelphia? Pro handicapper Jon Price of SportsInformationTraders.com has a lean on this Wild Card game that you will not want to miss. Before seeing which team the Vegas expert is predicting to cover the spread, have a look at the full schedule, start times, updated odds and viewing information for both of today’s 2020 NFL Playoff matchups. You can also find key betting trends and more to help you make the right pick when betting on the Seahawks vs. Eagles.
2020 NFL Playoffs TV Schedule And Odds
Sunday, January 5
- Minnesota Vikings at New Orleans Saints (-8, 49.5), 1:05 p.m. ET, FOX
- Seattle Seahawks at Philadelphia Eagles (PK, 45), 4:40 p.m. ET, NBC
Saturday, January 11
- Vikings / Seahawks / Eagles at San Francisco 49ers, 4:35 p.m. ET, NBC
- Tennessee Titans at Baltimore Ravens, 8:15 p.m. ET, CBS
Sunday, January 12
- Houston Texans at Kansas City Chiefs, 3:05 p.m. ET, CBS
- Seahawks / Eagles / Saints at Green Bay Packers, 6:40 p.m. ET, FOX
Sunday, January 19
- AFC Championship Game, 3:05 p.m. ET, CBS
- NFC Championship Game, 6:40 p.m. ET, FOX
Super Bowl LIV
Sunday, February 3
- AFC vs. NFC, 6:30 p.m. ET, FOX
2020 NFL Playoff Scores
Saturday, January 4
Buffalo Bills at Houston Texans (-2.5, 43.5): HOU 22 – BUF 19
Tennessee Titans at New England Patriots (-5, 44.5): TEN 20 – NE 13
NFL Playoff Bracket 2020
Sports Speaks posted the updated NFL Playoff bracket after Saturday’s Wild Card results came in:
Seattle Seahawks At Philadelphia Eagles Betting Trends
The Seahawks have won and covered in each of their last five matchups with the Philadelphia Eagles.
The total has gone UNDER in four of the last five meetings between these teams.
The Eagles haven’t won at home against the Seahawks since 1989, losing all five games held in Philadelphia since then.
Seattle went 7-1 SU—tied for the best mark in the NFL—and 5-2-1 ATS on the road in 2019, while Philadelphia was 5-3 SU and 3-5 ATS at home.
The Seahawks are 1-3 SU and ATS over their last four games, while the Eagles are 4-0 SU and 3-1 ATS in the same span.
Seattle is drawing more public support than any team involved in a playoff matchup over the past decade. The 79% of bets against the spread made on the Seahawks to cover is tied with the Indianapolis Colts in 2009, who earned the same percentage but outright lost as 2.5-point chalk in their Wild Card clash with the San Diego Chargers that year.
Both teams finished the 2019 NFL season with losing ATS records, with the Seahawks going 7-8-1 and the Eagles right behind at 7-9. They had similar over/under records as well, as Seattle had an 8-7-1 over record and Philadelphia was an even split at 8-8.
The Seahawks have gone 5-1 ATS over their last six appearances in the Wild Card round, while the Eagles are 5-0 ATS over their last five postseason contests overall.
Seahawks At Eagles Wild Card Preview And Prediction
The Seahawks and Eagles are gearing up to meet for the second time in the last two months, having most recently squared off in Week 12 of the regular season. Seattle was able to notch a sound 17-9 “W” at Lincoln Financial Field that had a final score line that makes the game look closer than it really was. The Seahawks were in control for much of the contest, taking a 10-3 lead into half and piling on another touchdown at the start of the fourth quarter. The Eagles scored a touchdown in the final moments, but it still wasn’t enough to cover the one-point spread. The game was a relatively ugly one, with Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson completing just 13 of his 25 passes for 200 yards and a touchdown while getting picked once and sacked six times. Wilson’s Philadelphia counterpart, Carson Wentz, didn’t fare much better, connecting on 33 of his 45 passing attempts for 256 yards and a score, but was intercepted twice and sacked on three occasions. The biggest difference-maker was Seattle running back Rashaad Penny, who was unstoppable at times as he racked up 129 yards and a TD on just 14 touches.
Unfortunately for the Seahawks, Penny won’t be available for this contest, as he was placed on injured reserve after suffering a season-ending torn ACL in Week 14. The injury started a trend for the Seattle backfield, which went on to lose both its No. 1 option Chris Carson and backup C.J. Prosise after they each suffered devastating injuries in Week 16. The only running back still on the depth chart from the start of the season is rookie Travis Homer, who will be expected to shoulder a much bigger load in the playoffs than anyone would have guessed after the Seahawks drafted him in the sixth round. He’ll work behind Marshawn Lynch, the fan-favorite back who was coaxed out of retirement ahead of Seattle’s season finale. While Beast Mode clearly still has something left in the tank—he scored a vintage touchdown last week by going over the top at the goal line—he was out of football since the end of last season and accumulated just 34 yards rushing on 12 attempts in Week 17.
Fortunately for the Seahawks, Lynch is almost caught up to speed on what the organization is doing offensively after being away from the team since the end of the 2015 playoffs, something that has opened the door for the team to utilize more of its playbook when the 33-year-old is on the field today. Offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer spoke about how quickly Lynch has picked things up after being signed just two weeks ago (via Yahoo! Sports):
I think the playbook is a little more open with him in terms of the things that we can do. I think he’s a little more comfortable. We kind of got what we wanted out of him in terms of the number of plays, 24 or whatever it was. He’s much more comfortable this week, so there’s things he can do from a pass protection standpoint. Obviously, something that he maybe wasn’t very comfortable with last week. It’s week two, a week that he’s more comfortable with the terminology and just kind of playing the position with the guys that we got, especially the blocking unit up front. It’s a big part for the back is how the holes get opened up and the combination blocks. They look a little bit different than maybe they did when he was doing it a couple years ago.
The Eagles won’t have any sympathy for the Seahawks and their injury woes, as the home side has seen its own roster decimated by ailments during the 2019 NFL season. Philadelphia will be forced to go without notable players like WRs Nelson Agholor, DeSean Jackson and Alshon Jeffery, RG Brandon Brooks, RT Lane Johnson and DT Malik Jackson for this contest. The franchise did get some good news with regards to the health of Zach Ertz, however, as the star tight end is reportedly expected to suit up to start the 2020 NFL Playoffs. His presence, along with fellow tight end Dallas Goedert—the team’s first-round draft choice last year—will almost certainly be felt against a foe that has been vulnerable to opposing TEs this year. The Seahawks have allowed the second-most yards to the position in 2019, which could spell trouble against Ertz, who racked up 88 receptions for 916 yards and six touchdowns on the season. Goedert has also come on strong in the latter portion of the campaign, generating 318 yards and a score on 27 receptions since the calendar flipped to December.
Another weakness that the Eagles can potentially exploit is Seattle’s suddenly vulnerable rush defense. Logan Banker pointed out that the Seahawks have struggled against the rush lately after being a respectable run-stopping unit for much of the 2019 campaign. Miles Sanders, Philadelphia’s rookie back, is having a great first year in the league, compiling 818 yards and three touchdowns on 179 totes and chipping in another 509 yards and three more scores on 50 catches to become a legitimate Rookie of the Year candidate. He, along with former practice squad RB Boston Scott—who has amassed 151 yards and four rushing touchdowns on 38 carries and also snared 23 receptions for 199 yards since getting his first shot at extended action in Week 14—and Jordan Howard, who could be making his first appearance since Week 9 after being cleared to return from a shoulder injury last week, should see plenty of work if Seattle remains beatable on the ground today.
Considering that head coach Doug Pederson said that his goal for the postseason is to avoid putting pressure on quarterback Carson Wentz, who will be making his first career start in the playoffs today, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him lean heavily on the ground attack to start the 2020 NFL Playoffs. Pederson indicated that he wants to utilize an up-tempo offensive attack to get his signal-caller into an early rhythm and calm his nerves to help him avoid the mistakes that many young QBs make in their postseason debut. According to Tim McManus, quarterbacks making their first playoff start have a meager 25% winning percentage since 2013, which may be a concerning trend for the Eagles:
It’s especially important to stay under control against Seattle, as Wentz is 0-3 in his career against this foe, getting sacked eight times and throwing five picks in those contests. The Seahawks have been among the most opportunistic squads in the league in 2019, coming up with 32 takeaways on the year (the third most in the NFL) and will be itching to capitalize on any mistakes made in the Wild Card round. Pederson thinks that Wentz is prepared for this, however, given how high the stakes were for the club in each of the last four must-win regular season games in order to even get into the postseason (via CBS Sports):
The last month they have been playoff-type games for us. This team is battle tested that way and we prepare that way. I think in Carson’s case, he doesn’t have to focus on that. He doesn’t have to focus on anything more than just continuing to lead this team and doing the things that have made him successful down the stretch here. I don’t want to add any more stress or pressure on him. Just the game itself, it’s a one and done mentality and I want him to play free and not have to worry about things in the past that are out of our control at this time. We are going to focus on Seattle and getting prepared for them. I think in games like this, especially in Carson’s case, being able to get him to settle into the game and try keep the emotions the best we can. Everybody is going to be excited. Seattle is going to be excited. It’s a great opportunity for both teams. But how we handle that I think during the week helps us, especially in games like this.
While Wentz may not have playoff experience after being injured for each of Philly’s last two playoff runs, the franchise still employs many players that helped the Eagles win their first Super Bowl two years ago and upset the Bears in the first round of the postseason last year. They won both their home postseason games during that title run and now get a chance to play their first playoff game at Lincoln Financial Field since then. It’s certainly an advantage for the NFC East winners, especially against a Seahawks team coming across the country to play in front of a raucous crowd that is desperate to see the Birds make some noise of their own in January.
Although they don’t have any track record of success against the Seattle, the Eagles are poised to advance to the Divisional Round of the NFC playoffs for the third straight year. The home team is clicking at the right time and bringing momentum into the Wild Card round is extremely important, especially when facing an opponent that is collapsing at the wrong time. While the Seahawks were the better team for much of the 2019 season, they haven’t played up to that level over the last month and seem to have lost their identity on both sides of the ball due to mounting injuries. With the margins so razor thin in this pick ‘em matchup, it’s a strong bet to take the side getting to play at home and riding a wave of momentum against the one lacking both of those advantages.
Pick: Eagles PK
Prediction: Eagles 23 – Seahawks 21