Playoff football returns to FedEx Field this week as the NFC East champion Redskins play host to Pete Carroll’s Seahawks in what should be one of the most exciting playoff games of the year.
Washington’s top rated rushing offense hasn’t seen many defenses like Seattle’, which although ranked tenth against the run, is ranked first In points allowed with a meagre 15.3 per game given up by Gus Bradley’s defensive unit.
Seattle’s third rated rushing offense has seen defenses like Washington’s, which has struggled at times, but has done really well against the run, with the fifth lowest yards per game allowed in the ground at 95.8 yards per game.
Marshawn Lynch and Russell Wilson will both look to find gaps in the bend-but-don’t-break Redskins run defense. Griffin and Morris will look to do the same for Washington, providing Griffin is fully mobile. Griffin and Wilson have a combined 11 touchdowns between them, with Griffin leading the way on seven. Both of these rookie quarterbacks ooze class and regardless of the result in this match, are the future of these two franchises.
Morris and Lynch’s numbers are not dramatically different for the year, with Morris having a slight edge by 23 yards and two rushing touchdowns. Between them Lynch and Morris have scored 24 rushing touchdowns for the season.
The Seahawks appear to have the edge in two key areas, firstly at wide receiver. Golden Tate and Sidney Rice each have seven touchdowns for the season, with an average of 15 yards per reception. In contrast Santana Moss has eight for the Redskins, while Garçon has four, though Garçon has suffered with injuries. Both Moss and Garçon have averaged 14 yards per reception.
The second area in which Seattle has the edge, on paper at least, is in the secondary. Washington’s secondary has had its struggles this season, with Cedric Griffin’s suspension and veteran free agent signing Brandon Meriweather’s long term injury. DeJon Gomes and DeAngelo Hall have done the rest to carry the defensive backs.
Richard Sherman and Brandon Bowner have been extremely good at cornerback for Seattle this year, although, like Cedric Griffin for the Redskins, Bowner was suspended for four games due to a ‘substance violation’. Sherman has eight interceptions so far this season, which is more than the seven put up by Washington cornerbacks, Hall, Josh Wilson and Richard Crawford put together.
It is hard to see a scenario where the Redskins come away with the win, but they have an intangible something about them this year. Washington have won games they were not supposed to, in places they were not meant to win in.
RGIII has that ‘Je ne sais quoi’. Yes, he is a total athlete. Yes, he can throw a deep ball, or an option slant, he can pitch the ball to Morris, or take off with it, but it’s more than that. He has made the players around him better. The Redskins offensive line has been much better this season than last and tonight it has to be at the very top of its game, Guard Kory Lichtensteiger is battling injury and Josh LeRibeus could be the man to step in to his shoes.
If the game comes down to the boot of the kickers, the Redskins have the in-form kicker in Kai Forbath, who hit 17 of 18 field goals for the regular season, while Steve Huschka has hardly been lax for the Seahawks, converting 24 of his 27 attempts. A kicker is only as good as his last field goal though, as 49ers kicker David Akers knows only too well.
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