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Week 15 Monday Night Football selections and forecasts

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The Philadelphia Eagles enter tonight’s game against the Seattle Seahawks losers of two straight and desperate to get back in the win column, with the NFC’s top seed still very much within their reach. Over the weekend, they learned they might have to do it without their quarterback, as Jalen Hurts was downgraded to questionable with an illness. Whether it’s Hurts or Marcus Mariota taking snaps for the Eagles, they’ll still have a good chance to prevail. Seattle Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith is also questionable to play due to a hamstring injury, and it sounds as though his status is iffier than Hurts’. NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport thinks Hurts will try to go, but said Smith still has an uphill battle. That would leave an equally if not more desparate Seahawks squad to try to snap a four-game losing streak with Drew Lock under center. From The Insiders on #NFLPlus: The latest on #Eagles QB Jalen Hurts and #Seahawks QB Geno Smith for tonight… pic.twitter.com/nUHO0VwKZw — Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) December 18, 2023 Even before knowing about Hurts being sick, I picked Seattle to cover as four-point home dogs, with the caveat of “if Geno Smith plays.” But with the spread having moved in Seattle’s direction to +3.5 and Smith seemingly less likely to play, are the Seahawks still a good bet? Let’s get into it. AP Photo/Scot Tucker If I picked Seattle before knowing Hurts was sick, why would I change the pick now? Call it stubborn, but I just don’t expect an Eagles team traveling cross-country to blow out the Seahawks with their quarterback under the weather. Sure, Smith’s potential absence is concerning, but turnovers aside, Drew Lock wasn’t half bad last week against the San Francisco 49ers. He completed 71 percent of his passes for 269 yards on a healthy 8.7 yards per attempt. And the Eagles’ secondary is much more beatable. Besides, whether the starters go or not, I expect both teams to keep the ball on the ground to limit how much their quarterbacks have to do. That should help chew the clock and keep the score from getting out of hand. Despite an outright losing streak, the Seahawks have covered in three of their last four games, including two straight. AP Photo/Chris Szagola I’m not only expecting the Eagles to keep the ball on the ground because of Hurts’ illness. It’s also because they’ll find success there. Seattle’s defense has allowed the 10th-most rushing yards per game, on 4.4 yards per attempt, and it’s tied for the fourth-most touchdowns allowed, according to Pro Football Reference. It ranks 30th in expected points added per play against the run, according to rbsdm. D’Andre Swift’s rushing yards line is 59.5 at BetMGM, and I expect him to go over that number without a problem. While he failed to eclipse even 40 yards in his last two outings, the Eagles trailed big in those two games and were forced to throw. I don’t expect that to be the case in Seattle, so they’ll be able to stick to the run and get him over this number for the seventh time this year. Ezra Shaw/Getty Images Finally, I’ll take DK Metcalf to score at +125 odds. And I don’t care whether it’s Smith or Lock throwing him the ball. Metcalf has five touchdowns in his last four games, including catching one of Lock’s two touchdowns against the 49ers last Sunday. He had three against the Dallas Cowboys the week before. I’m not sure who exactly on the Eagles is supposed to stop Metcalf from getting in the end zone again, but I’m not confident they’ll succeed. The Eagles have allowed the second-most passing touchdowns to opponents this season, and that’s with one fewer game played than every other team right now. Gannett may earn revenue from sports betting operators for audience referrals to betting services. Sports betting operators have no influence over nor are any such revenues in any way dependent on or linked to the newsrooms or news coverage. Terms apply, see operator site for Terms and Conditions. If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, help is available. Call the National Council on Problem Gambling 24/7 at 1-800-GAMBLER (NJ, OH), 1-800-522-4700 (CO), 1-800-BETS-OFF (IA), 1-800-9-WITH-IT (IN). Must be 21 or older to gamble. Sports betting and gambling are not legal in all locations. Be sure to comply with laws applicable where you reside.

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