The Philadelphia Eagles vs Seattle Seahawks matchup was flexed into the Week 15 primetime Monday Night Football slot by the NFL, replacing the originally scheduled New England Patriots vs Kansas City Chiefs game.
On paper that looks like a smart move, but it could become a battle of the backups with doubts over the participation of both starting quarterbacks.
Eagles QB Jalen Hurts has been suffering from an illness and has been downgraded to questionable to play. He missed practice on Saturday and flew to Seattle separately from his teammates.
Seahawks starter Geno Smith missed last week's game against the 49ers due to a groin injury and is hoping to return this week, but it's not guaranteed.
The Eagles (10-3) are looking to shore up their position at the top of the NFC East standings and match the 49ers' NFC-best record of 11-3. The Seahawks are still in the NFC wild-card race at 6-7, but there is no longer much margin for error for Pete Carroll's team.
|Philadelphia Eagles at Seattle Seahawks
|Lumen Field, Seattle
|8:15PM ET, Monday December 18
|How to watch
|Eagles -3.5, Seahawks +135 ML
Bettors may want to wait until as close to kick-off as they can due to the uncertainty over the availability of both teams' starting quarterbacks. The over/under for total points is currently set at 45.0, which could change if either quarterback is officially ruled out.
The drop-off to the second-string passers would likely be more harmful for the Eagles than the Seahawks, as Drew Lock played well enough against the 49ers last week, registering 269 passing yards and two touchdowns, although he also had two interceptions.
Hurts' back-up is 2015 second-overall pick Marcus Mariota, who is now on his fourth team after playing for the Titans, Raiders and Falcons, but who has yet to start for the Eagles.
The QBs are not the only injury issues in this game either: The Eagles have ruled out cornerback Darius Slay (knee), guard Cam Jurgens (pectoral) and Zach Cunningham (knee). Safety Reed Blankenship (concussion) is expected to be able to play.
The Seahawks have four other players listed as questionable in addition to Smith,
The biggest worries concern two of their starting defensive backs, safety Jamal Adams (knee) and cornerback Devon Witherspoon (hip), with special-teams ace Nick Bellore (knee) and wide receiver D’Wayne Eskridge (ribs) also listed.
The Eagles have some making up to do with their fans after flopping in their big NFC East showdown against the Cowboys last week.
They missed the chance to take a huge step toward sealing the NFC East title when losing 33-13 in Dallas, which came on the heels of a 42-19 blowout loss to the 49ers in what was billed as a potential NFC Championship preview.
After starting the season 10-1, Nick Sirianni's team will be desperate to stop their late-season slip developing into a crisis. In the buildup to the Seahawks game, Sirianni handed defensive playcalling duties to senior defensive assistant coach Matt Patricia after a couple of poor defensive performances under coordinator Sean Desai.
The Eagles are joint-third favorites for the NFL Championship at +700 and they are -500 favorites to win the NFC East.
They got a huge break on Sunday when the Cowboys lost 31-10 to the Bills. While the Birds are 5-2 on the road this season including wins over the Los Angeles Rams and Kansas City Chiefs, they are heading into one of the most hostile environments for away teams in the league.
If Hurts is able to play, he has an array of offensive weapons at his disposal with wide receiver AJ Brown already over the 1,000 receiving-yard mark for the season at 1,258 (an average of 96.8 per game) and Devonta Smith also closing in on a four-figure tally at 907 yards.
Tight end Dallas Goedert returned from injury against the Cowboys last week. Running back D'Andre Swift has established himself as Philly's feature back this season with 822 yards, although his four rushing touchdowns is only a third of Hurts' total.
Everything looked great for the Seahawks at the end of October, when they had seemingly defied some gloomy preseason expectations to post a 5-2 record in their first seven games.
It has been much tougher sledding for them since, however, as they have lost five of their last six games to slip to ninth place in the NFC standings at 6-7.
All of those recent losses were to playoff contenders in the Ravens, Rams, Cowboys and the 49ers (twice), but the Eagles come from the same tier of teams.
The Seahawks have a forgiving finish to their schedule with the Titans, Steelers and Cardinals to round out their regular season, but they will still be keen to avoid falling to 6-8 before they start that run stretch.
The Seahawks are +180 to make the playoffs and are -230 odds to miss out.
As they bid to improve their chances, they will be hoping for a big night from their young and talented offensive stars.
The Seahawks' running backs have been blighted by injuries again this season, but Kenneth Walker III was able to return with a limited workload last week and should be able to lead the way against the Eagles. Second-round rookie Zach Charbonnet led the ground attack for the last few weeks and provides a good second option in the run game.
Seattle has a talented stable of wide receivers, led by DK Metcalf, who is a big-play threat on every snap and who has scored four touchdowns across his last two games against the Cowboys and 49ers.
Tyler Lockett and rookie Jaxon Smith-Njiba will also be hoping to take advantage of the injury-hit Philadelphia secondary.