After losing Brandon Mebane for the year and allowing 190 yards rushing to the Kansas City Chiefs three weeks ago, the Seattle Seahawks defense looked like it may be unable to recapture its dominant form from last season.
Consecutive 19-3 victories over the Arizona Cardinals and San Francisco 49ers have quieted those concerns as the Seahawks have allowed just one touchdown in their last 10 quarters of play.
"After the Kansas City game, it was a mess," head coach Pete Carroll said. "We jumped right back to business and really recaptured the chance of having a great finish to the season. It was a hard way to learn but it was worth it. That's obviously the most important thing that's shown up."
Seattle held Arizona to just 204 yards of offense and the 49ers to just 164 total yards. The return of safety Kam Chancellor and linebacker Bobby Wagner to the lineup has solidified the unit with just 64 rushing yards allowed in each of the last two games.
"We've got talent across the board," Wagner said. "Teams try to look for matchup problems against us and they aren't going to find many, if any."
The defensive resurgence will be tested this week against the fast-paced offensive attack of the Philadelphia Eagles. Philadelphia enters the game ranked fourth in total offense and sixth in rushing. LeSean McCoy and Darren Sproles will present a challenge for Seattle's run defense.
"You're going to see some shaking and baking in this game from those guys. They got it," Carroll said.
McCoy rushed for 159 yards and a touchdown last week against the Dallas Cowboys.
"Guys have got to be disciplined," linebacker K.J. Wright said. "We've all got to be out there together and just make sure that we can't let this guy get out because it will be a long day if he has a big game."
"This guy is really looking to get outside on the perimeter, getting one-on-ones with defensive ends and linebackers in the open field and get his yardage like that."
The Seahawks hope to continue their strong play against the run and keep McCoy and Sproles in check. If they can accomplish that, it will put more pressure on Mark Sanchez to make plays against Seattle's imposing secondary.
"It starts with McCoy first and foremost," defensive end Cliff Avril said. "If we can make the game lopsided and put the game in (Mark) Sanchez's hands, it will be all about getting the pass rush and making him nervous back there."
Sanchez started one game against the Seahawks in his career. He completed just nine of 22 passes for 124 yards and an interception in a 28-7 loss while with the New York Jets in 2012.