Wild Card Weekend: Seattle Seahawks At Washington Redskins
- QuarterbackThe Seahawks have become one of the top stories during the season and much of that is due to the presence of Russell Wilson, who has been a sharp leader, an accurate passer and a brilliant leader. Wilson completed 63.4 percent of his passes during the regular season and he had a 25-10 TD-to-interception ratio.RGIII has been sensational as a rookie and he regularly carried the Redskins on his back this season. However, his running ability is somewhat impaired since taking a hit to the knee in the Redskins Week 14 win over the Ravens. Still, he has demonstrated incredible leadership ability and knows how to make things happen when the game is on the line. RGIII has thrown 20 TD passes and just 5 interceptions.
- OffenseThe Seahawks have a solid and powerful offense, largely dependent on the ground game. Marshawn Lynch gained 1,490 yards during the regular season and he averaged 5.0 yards per carry. Sidney Rice is a speedy receiver who can make big plays on the outside, while fellow receiver Golden Tate is a tough guy and a mauler who can keep drives alive.Alfred Morris is a top power runner who is capable of punishing the defense. When RGIII was struggling in the Week 17 finale vs. the Cowboys, Morris ran for 200 yards and was dominant. Santana Moss is a big-play receiver who can run by defenders, while Pierre Garcon knows how to get open and keep drives alive. The Redskins’ offensive line is playing its best football of the season.
- DefenseThe Seahawks have the fourth-ranked defense in the league and also rank fifth against the pass. The key to the Seahawks defense has been their explosive pass rush. Chris Clemons had 11.5 sacks in the regular season and Bruce Irvin had 8.0 to lead the Seahawks. Rookie middle linebacker Bobby Wagner had a team-high 140 tackles and also had 3 interceptions.The Redskins don’t have some of the individual talent of the better defenses in the league, but they play with toughness and attitude. Defensive coordinator Jim Haslett is an excellent schemer who likes to blitz. That strategy will be tested severely by the quickness of Wilson. Linebacker London Fletcher is old and a step too slow, but he led the team with 139 tackles this year.
- Special TeamsThe Seahawks regularly get solid production from their special teams and they were solid again this year. Leon Washington gives them an excellent threat on kickoff returns. Placekicker Steven Hauschka made 24-of-27 FG attempts, but he was only 1-of-4 on attempts of 50 yards or more.The Redskins have been very happy with Kai Forbath since he replaced Billy Cundiff early in the year. Forbath made 17-of-18 field goal attempts in 11 games and didn’t miss one until the regular season finale. Sav Rocca is averaging 43.9 yards per punt and he has dropped 22 of his 61 punts inside the opponents’ 20 yard line.
This game appears to be a compelling matchup of two teams on the rise, both with exceptional rookie quarterbacks. The Seahawks appear to have a much better defense, but the Redskins are playing at home and RGIII appears to have some exceptional qualities that may allow him to come out on top even if he is not 100 percent. Lynch is a good back for the Seahawks, but Morris is red-hot for the Redskins.