SportsPulse: USA TODAY Sports’ NFL experts tell you who’s going to win the biggest matchups of Week 13.
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Russell Wilson might be in for a test of just how far he can carry the Seattle Seahawks.
The quarterback’s undue burden has been the story of the Seahawks’ offense. He has accounted for 85.9% of Seattle’s offensive yardage and a staggering 96.3% of the team’s offensive touchdowns, which would both mark all-time highs for the Super Bowl era.
But that formula might prove untenable down the stretch, perhaps starting Sunday night against the 10-1 Philadelphia Eagles. And a slip-up at home could send the 7-4 Seahawks back in the chase for both the NFC West race and for the second wild-card spot.
While Carson Wentz has ignited the league’s top-scoring offense, a fearsome pass rush has helped Philadelphia allow the third-lowest opposing passer rating (74) of any defense. Brandon Graham and Fletcher Cox lead the way for a group that is tied for seventh with 31 sacks, but the group is deep and can rotate fresh bodies in to take advantage of gassed fronts.
That could spell trouble for the Seahawks. Wilson wasn’t sacked last week for the first time all season, and the starting offensive line is finally healthy after a string of injuries. But Seattle has consistently ceded to pressure, and Wilson has at times exacerbated the problem by running into it.
Help from the running game is unlikely this week. The Eagles have allowed a league-low 65.1 yards per game, though the figure has been swollen slightly by opponents abandoning the run to catch up after early deficits.
Here are four other matchups that will define Week 13 in the NFL:
Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton vs. New Orleans Saints DE Cameron Jordan
Newton and Jordan playfully traded jabs this week after the Saints DE ribbed the Panthers QB for his outlandish fashion choices after New Orleans’ 34-13 drubbing in Week 3. The stars might end up as the two key figures in determining who takes the outright lead in the NFC South on Sunday.
Much like Wilson with the Seahawks, Newton has been tasked with carrying an outsized proportion of the Panthers’ offense. Adding to the burden are the injuries of tight end Greg Olsen, who…