Lincoln Financial Field will be rockin' at 4:25 PM on Sunday afternoon as the Eagles host the Seattle Seahawks in the biggest game of the year. There is so much on the line for the 9-3 Eagles, who look to maintain their one-game lead in the NFC East. The Eagles also want to make the road to the postseason tougher for the defending Super Bowl champions. The Seahawks have won two straight games, and five of their last six overall, to get to 8-4 and are positioned just one game out of first place in the NFC West. Our live coverage featuring the in-stadium pre-game festivities begins Sunday at 4 PM online and on our app. Until then, on the eve of the big showdown, enjoy these 5 Things To Know Today ...
1. Montgomery Thrilled For McCoy
Wilbert Montgomery has held onto the franchise's all-time rushing record for just over 30 years. However, LeSean McCoy will rise to the top of the leaderboard with just 48 yards rushing on Sunday against the Seahawks.
Montgomery is now the running backs coach in Cleveland and has known McCoy since the current Eagles running back was 15 years old. Montgomery was introduced to McCoy's family through McCoy's Pop Warner coach Paul Kreider. Needless to say, Montgomery is thrilled that his record is set to belong to McCoy.
"Shady, he's my guy. I would love for him to get it on the first touch," Montgomery told Chuck Betson on WOND Radio this week. "They're (records) out there to be broken and it's coming at a great time."
As having closely followed McCoy's entire career, Montgomery had a unique pro comparison for the All-Pro running back. Most fans and experts have said that McCoy is the closest running back to emulate Hall of Famer Barry Sanders' style. But Montgomery thought of another Hall of Fame back.
"He's the closest thing to one of my idols in Gale Sayers that you're probably going to see on the football field," Montgomery said. "Gale Sayers had that elusive run style. He put his foot in the ground to make the cut and run against the grain and all of that. He's one of those guys who if you can remember a phone booth, can make 11 people miss in a phone booth. That's the same thing you can say about Shady. He's just an unbelievable talent. He's been blessed with a skill set that no one else has in the league right now."
2. Who Will Defend The Zone-Read Better?
The Eagles and the Seahawks are two of the biggest proponents of the zone-read. According to Gil Brandt from NFL.com, the Seahawks utilize the zone-read a league-high 13.3 percent of the time this season. Quarterback Russell Wilson is second on the Seahawks with a career-high 679 yards rushing. The Eagles are third in zone-read usage at 7.9 percent of the time. And it was effective for the Eagles in the win over the Cowboys on Thanksgiving.
According to ESPN Stats and Info, the Eagles ran six zone-read rushes for 34 yards in quarterback Mark Sanchez's first three starts. The Eagles did not run it at all in Week 12, but it was the blowout win over the Titans. On Thanksgiving, the Eagles had 21 zone-read rushes for 135 yards and two touchdowns. Sanchez gained 28 yards on the ground himself, the second-highest total of his career.
Utilizing the play-action has also helped Sanchez's effectiveness in the pass game. Per ESPN Stats and Info, Sanchez has completed 69 percent of his pass attempts out of play-action at an average of 9.2 yards per attempt for six touchdowns and just one interception this year.
3. Get Your Holiday Photos With Santa SWOOP Today!
Santa SWOOP will be at the Lincoln Financial Field Pro Shop today from 11 AM-2 PM for families who want to get their holiday photos with the Eagles' mascot.
Fans will also receive a complimentary Eagles reindeer ornament with any in-store purchase of $25 or more while supplies last.
4. Eagles-Cowboys Proved To Be Must-See TV
Eagles fans delighted in the Thanksgiving win over the Dallas Cowboys. So did the rest of the country. It was announced on Thursday that 32 million people watched the Eagles rout the Cowboys.
It turns out that it was the most-watched TV show of the entire fall season. Not just NFL games, all TV shows.
5. Horrific Alliteration Time: Parkey's Prolific Production
The Eagles' mid-preseason trade to acquire kicker Cody Parkey has been one of the most fruitful moves of the entire offseason.
The rookie is the league leader with 123 points, which is already an Eagles rookie record. He's tied for first in the league with 27 successful field goal attempts. At one point, Parkey connected on 17 straight field goal attempts, which tied the second-longest streak in team history. Parkey's current 93.1 percent success rate on field goals would be a franchise record. In fact, no kicker in team history has ever finished above 90 percent. He's the first kicker in team history make four field goals of 50 yards or more in a single season. Parkey is also tied for fifth in the league with 41 touchbacks, more than the Eagles had in all of 2013.
"He's a really professional player. He's a hard worker," said special teams coordinator Dave Fipp. "What he's done off the field is just as important as what he does on the field. He's exceptional off the field. He trains really hard. He watches all of the film. He studies every kick he's ever hard. He charts everything he's ever done. He's extremely consistent off the field and I think that leads him to being consistent on the field."