How will the defense fare against Beast Mode?
Philadelphia's defense has buckled down on some of the league's best running backs. They've wrestled against five top-10 rushers in Kareem Hunt (Chiefs), Todd Gurley (Rams), Jordan Howard (Bears), Melvin Gordon (Chargers), and C.J. Anderson (Broncos), and haven't given up a 100-yard performance to any of them.
Howard, Gordon, and Anderson combined for just 41 total rushing yards.
Marshawn Lynch comes to Philadelphia on Christmas night trying to change all of that.
While Lynch ranks outside the top 10 in yards rushing in 2017, his reputation for breaking tackles precedes him. In 10 career seasons, Lynch has six 1,000-yard rushing seasons, tied for second most among active players. He's racked up seven rushing touchdowns which are third best in the AFC.
A key component of the Seahawks' offense during its back-to-back Super Bowl appearances from 2013-14, Lynch took 2016 off but returned this season to play for his hometown Raiders.
"It's pretty impressive man, especially at that age, just to have that type of enthusiasm about the game still," says defensive tackle Tim Jernigan of the 31-year-old Lynch. "He almost takes a defensive mindset to offense. Can't take nothing from him."
"Pretty much coming into the game knowing we've got to be physical. Everybody's got to be sound. We've got to tackle very well and come with a mentality knowing we've got to tackle," said linebacker Nigel Bradham who is third on the team in total tackles. "(We) can't afford missed tackles in this game and just play physical."
The No. 1-ranked run defense will look to avoid any missteps returning home after the recent three-game road trip. At home this season, no opposing team has reached the 100-yard rushing threshold. Perhaps even more outstanding, no individual running back has more than 38 yards. The defense embraces the challenge.
"Make sure we got maximum effort to the ball because they're going to run some stuff, scheme some stuff," defensive end Brandon Graham reiterated. "(They're going to) try to get them on top of our safeties and corners and we have to make sure as a D-line we rally and help those guys out if it does happen.
"Overall, I think we just have to attack gaps and get downhill and do what we have to do to bring him down."
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