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Kelly: Seahawks' secondary 'best' we'll play in 2014

The rebirth of Mark Sanchez in Philadelphia has been one of the season's better story lines.

Exorcising the demons of his fall from grace with the Jets, the Eagles quarterback has resurfaced to play clean, productive football in Chip Kelly's high-flying offense. Sanchez looked especially effective carving up the Cowboys on Thanksgiving, but his duel with the Seahawks on Sunday looms as the true acid test.

Sanchez is tasked with guiding Philly's fourth-ranked scoring attack against the "Legion of Boom," the only defense in the NFL with top-five marks in total defense, scoring defense, passing defense and rushing D. With linebacker Bobby Wagner and cornerback Byron Maxwell back in the lineup, the Seahawks have looked every bit as fearsome as last year's Super Bowl unit over the past month.

Richard Sherman gets all the attention, but simply avoiding the NFL's least-targeted cornerback won't cut it against Pete Carroll's Cover 3 scheme. As a team, Seattle has jelled to allow 10.2 fewer points per game over their last six outings than over their first six.

"If you spend too much time worrying about one guy," Sanchez said this week, per the Philadelphia Inquirer, "(you forget) they have so many playmakers."

He's right. It's not just Sherman -- never has been. While he's generated a league-leading 23 interceptions since 2011, it's Seattle's ball-hawking defense as a whole that's trending upward with 13 of their 18 takeaways coming over the past six games. The Seahawks looked utterly dominant in shutting down Drew Stanton and Colin Kaepernick over the past two weeks.

Sanchez has found his groove in Kelly's offense, showing poise outside the pocket and less inclination to alter his team's fate with game-crushing turnovers. Sunday will require his finest effort yet.

As Kelly correctly noted, "It will be the best secondary that we play."

The latest Around The NFL Podcast previews Cowboys-Bears and reacts to Brian Hoyer earning the nod over Johnny Manziel. Find more Around The NFL content on NFL NOW.

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