Matchup: Seattle Seahawks at Washington Redskins
The Seattle Seahawks and Washington Redskins meet in a battle of teams led by standout rookie quarterbacks in the first round of the NFL postseason.
3 Keys to Victory for the Redskins
—Get the ball to Alfred Morris
Alfred Morris, the unsung 6th-round draft pick out of Florida Atlantic University, has been a key cog in the Redskin offense this year. Morris ran all over the Cowboys in Week 17, collecting 200 yards and 3 touchdowns on 33 carries, and the Redskins need similar output to defeat Seattle on Sunday.
—Stop the read option
The zone read-option has become a staple for the Seahawks offense, as quarterback Russell Wilson uses his athleticism to create running lanes and outrun over-pursuing defenders. If the Redskins are to win this game, they need to consistently stop Seattle on this play; otherwise the Seahawks can open up play-action and take advantage of Washington’s weak secondary.
—Hope “RGIII” is fully healthy
Robert Griffin III suffered a sprained LCL in Washington’s Week 14 clash with the Ravens, and frankly, he hasn’t looked the same since. He completed just 9 of 18 passes for 100 yards in Week 17, running for 63 yards on six carries, still laboring from his injury. If Griffin is not fully healthy, the Redskins have no chance against Seattle’s 4th ranked defense.
3 Keys to Victory for the Seahawks
—Teach Russell Wilson to play away from Qwest Field
Russell Wilson, the 3rd round draft choice from Wisconsin, has been a revelation at the quarterback position for the Seahawks. However, Wilson has been noticeably better within the friendly confines of Seattle’s Qwest Field, compiling a 123.6 passer rating at home and just an 83.1 passer rating on the road. For the Seahawks to win this game, Wilson must figure out how to make plays out of his comfort zone at what is sure to be a loud FedEx Field.
—Get “Beast Mode” rolling early
Marshawn Lynch, well known for his 67-yard run against the Saints in the 2011 postseason, has been among the best running backs in the league this year. Seattle needs him to be a workhorse in this game to win. The Redskins are 5th in the league against the run, so Lynch needs to truly perform well against this stout defensive stop unit in order to set up play-action for Wilson.
—Use tall corners to limit RG3’s options
The Seattle defense is known for their tall and rangy corners, Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner, who measure out at 6’3” and 6’4”, respectively. Browner and Sherman will need to use their height and range to take away Redskin wideouts Pierre Garcon, Santana Moss, and Josh Morgan.
Nachmany Football’s Prediction: Seattle Seahawks 21-17
On paper, these are two extremely similar teams, led by impressive, athletic rookie quarterbacks, both backed by strong rushing attacks. However, Griffin still did not look totally healthy last week, and the Redskins will be hard-pressed to score on Sunday without a fully healthy RG3. Look for Sherman and Browner to smother the Redskin wide receivers and Wilson to figure out his road problems, leading Seattle to the divisional round.
Check out our other game previews here for other Wild Card round game previews and predictions.