The playoff paths may be drastically different, but a Week 12 win would do wonders for both the Seattle Seahawks (7-3) and Philadelphia Eagles (3-6-1).
For Russell Wilson and a 'Hawks squad that's starting to round into form, a victory strengthens their positioning for a top seed in the NFC. Meanwhile, topping Seattle would keep Carson Wentz and the Eagles near the top of the worst division in football. The implications suggest otherwise, but this one certainly feels like a trap game Seattle can't afford to drop.
Here are three storylines to watch for when the Seahawks and Eagles take flight on Monday Night Football (8:15 p.m. ET, ESPN):
What will DK Metcalf do this time around?
As you might recall, the crowning achievement of DK Metcalf's exceptional rookie season came in the Wild Card Round against these Eagles. Metcalf tallied a then career-best 160 yards (the most by a rookie in the playoffs) and caught a pivotal 36-yard reception late to ice a 17-9 Seattle win. Much of the same secondary will battle the powerful receiver once more, only this time Darius Slay will be in the mix. Rarely on the losing side of a matchup physically, Metcalf will again have an edge with Slay being four inches shorter and about 40 pounds lighter. But, as Philly's top corner, Slay, who's having a bit of a down year statistically, will likely be tasked with shadowing Metcalf for most of the night. The buck can't stop with him, though, as it's going to take a collective effort and good tackling to slow the second-year wideout down and prevent him from racking up YAC. Entering Week 12, Metcalf was the only player with 850-plus rec. yards (862) and at least nine TD catches. Considering how often Wilson has looked for Metcalf, particularly since Week 8 when he's averaged over 30 more YPG than Tyler Lockett, the ball could very well find its way to the big fella often.
Can Jalen Hurts take the Eagles to higher heights?
Well, this should be interesting. NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Sunday that the Eagles, in the middle of an oddly competitive NFC East race, plan to use rookie Jalen Hurts more under center with Wentz off the field entirely. The 53rd overall pick has been used primarily as a rusher with Wentz lined up out wide on the 31 snaps he's played. Could this change lead to Doug Pederson calling more designed rollouts for the more mobile Hurts, like he recently admitted he needs to do for his QB1? If so, it could help Philly better account for Seattle's tenacious blitz -- hello, Jamal Adams -- and create more plays for guys like Dallas Goedert and Jalen Reagor. Hurts' ability to be a run threat could also add another dimension on the ground alongside Miles Sanders, who's been limited to seven games but has topped 75-plus scrimmage yards in each. Wentz has yet to miss a snap in 2020 and likely won't miss many on MNF, but a bigger dose of Hurts could be a boon for Philly's bottom-10 offense.
Which frontline will register a bigger impact?
The return of Chris Carson couldn't have come at a worse time for the Eagles. Philly's defensive line, led by Brandon Graham and Fletcher Cox, has fared decently against the run, but will have its hands full containing Carson and Carlos Hyde, both of whom missed January's clash. On top of that, it will be especially paramount for Graham (7.0 sacks) and Cox (4.5 sacks) to impose their will against an O-line that has allowed 33 sacks and a QB that's known for his ability to create when a play breaks down. Unlike Wilson, Wentz doesn't exactly have the same reputation. Thirty-three of his league-high 40 sacks have come on dropbacks of four-plus seconds, per Next Gen Stats. He's completed 36.2% of his passes in that time frame, compared to 61.7% with less time. Wentz, as well as Hurts, better hope the Eagles' battered O-line is ready for a rejuvenated Carlos Dunlap (3.5 sacks, 12 QB pressures since joining SEA) and Seattle's improving pass rush.