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Week 9 Redskins vs. Seahawks Preview: Recent history suggests trouble in Seattle

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Week 9 Redskins vs. Seahawks Preview: Recent history suggests trouble in Seattle

After losing two straight contests, the Redskins will limp into Century Link Field on Sunday afternoon in Seattle in desperate need of a win. Getting that victory will be very tough.

The Seahawks have won their last four games and own a 5-2 record on the season. Russell Wilson ranks sixth in the NFL with more than 2,000 passing yards on the season, and Seattle is fresh off a 41-38 shootout win over the Texans last weekend. 

For Washington, the vibe is quite different.

The Redskins are incredibly beat up and injuries will be a big part of the game plan for Jay Gruden's team.

There is plenty to watch about this matchup, but here are three of the biggest stories:

RELATED: WEEK 9 NFL POWER RANKINGS

Not What You Think:

For much of the Pete Carroll era in Seattle, the Seahawks have been stout up front against the run.

That hasn't been the case this season, as the Seahawks rank 20th in the NFL in yards-per-game allowed on the ground. When the Redskins played their best this season, the team ran the ball. A lot. In consecutive wins against the Rams and Raiders earlier this season, the Redskins ran the ball more than 30 times. In their losses, Redskins running backs have not combined for more than 20 carries in any of the four games.

Even behind an injured offensive line, Rob Kelley and Chris Thompson should get the ball early and often. Running the ball well gives Gruden's team their best chance at winning, and keeps the dynamic Seattle offense off the field.

Use Your Strength:

Seattle's offense is pretty one-dimensional. Wilson carries the group with his arm as their pass offense ranks third in the NFL in yards.

The run game, however, is terrible.

They rank 21st in the NFL in rush yards and gained only 33 yards on the ground last week in the win over Houston. Not having Matt Ioannidis or Jonathan Allen this week, the Redskins will be susceptible to a good run game, but luckily, Seattle doesn't have it. That means the 'Skins secondary needs to be prepared and deliver for the defense. D.J. Swearinger, Montae Nicholson, Bashaud Breeland, Kendall Fuller and Josh Norman will all be leaned on to win this one. 

Go For 3:

Redskins fans know well that the team has struggled to get off the field on third down. This week could be big trouble.

Wilson makes a living scrambling around, extending plays, and picking up key first downs. Seattle's offense ranks 6th in the NFL in converting third downs. Washington's defense ranks 23rd in the NFL in stopping third down conversions. The numbers certainly tilt in the Seahawks favor, and Redskins defensive coordinator Greg Manusky must prepare to attack  onthird downs. 

"I think you’ve got to be cautious of your pass lanes and trying to make sure you’re in those pass lanes as a defensive lineman," he said. "And then, from a back end, you’ve got to plaster the receivers because he does a great job keeping his eyes up the field and letting the ball loose and he has a great arm to get the ball down the field. Overall, we’ve got to make sure we harass him in the pocket."

News & Notes

  • The Redskins have scored points on their first possession in six straight games. 
  • On the flip side, the Redskins defense has only allowed one score on opening drives all season.
  • Chris Thompson is first in the NFL and the NFC in receiving yards amongst running backs (442).
  • Kirk Cousins is first in the NFC and third in the NFL in passer rating (103.3) .
  • Zach Brown is first in the NFL and the NFC in tackles (75).
  • Vernon Davis is first in the NFL and the NFC in average yards per reception (18.4).


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Looking at cheap, reasonable and expensive wide receiver scenarios for Redskins

Looking at cheap, reasonable and expensive wide receiver scenarios for Redskins

Most NFL teams usually carry at least six wide receivers, but going into the 2018 season, only Jamison Crowder, Josh Doctson, Maurice Harris and Robert Davis hold signed contracts with the Redskins.

That means Washington must consider adding receiver help via free agency, especially considering Harris and Davis rarely played in 2017. Terrelle Pryor and Ryan Grant both played with the Burgundy and Gold in 2017, and while Grant has a solid chance to return, it would seem Pryor will head elsewhere after a disappointing season in D.C. 

Like every year, a number of receivers will be available via free agency, but what guys make sense for Jay Gruden's team? Let's take a look at three different scenarios, knowing Washington likely needs to add at least one free agent wideout. 

RELATED: MOCK DRAFTS LINKING 'SKINS TO BAKER MAYFIELD

  • Expensive: Jags WR Allen Robinson - A second-round pick in 2014, Robinson posted a 1,400-yard season in 2015 and has shown the ability to be a true No. 1 wideout in the NFL. He's 6-foot-3 with speed and leaping ability. In 2016, his numbers dipped to less than 900 yards receiving, but that season the Jacksonville QB Blake Bortles struggled significantly. Here's the thing: Robinson blew out his knee in the NFL opener in 2017, and that might make his price tag drop a bit. Word is the former Penn State star should be fully cleared by early March from the injury, and just 24 years old, he will be intriguing. Washington showed they would spend for a wideout in 2017 with the Pryor signing, but they did so on a one-year deal. If Robinson finds the free agent market not as robust as he wants, maybe a similar short-term deal could be reached?
  • Reasonable: Colts WR Donte Moncrief - A third-round pick in 2014, Moncrief also had a big sophomore season in 2015. He grabbed 64 catches for 733 yards and six touchdowns. That was his only full 16-game season, as injuries have continued to be an issue for the 6-foot-2, 220 lbs. wideout out of Ole Miss. In 2016, only playing in nine games, he still contributed with seven touchdowns. In 2017, his numbers slipped big-time, and he posted less than 400 yards receiving in 12 games. Moncrief's problem isn't talent, it's health. That means he could be relatively cheap, and at just 24 years old, that contract might bring a strong return. 
  • Wild Card: Jets WR Eric Decker -  The Redskins have lacked a true veteran wideout since DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garçon left the team following the 2016 season. Decker will turn 31 in March and would give Washington a different presence in the WR meeting room. He posted two 1,000 yard seasons playing with Peyton Manning in Denver and went to the Super Bowl in 2013. In 2015, while teamed up with Ryan Fitzpatrick playing for the Jets, Decker again hit the 1,000-yard mark and hit the end zone 12 times. Throughout his career, Decker has been a solid red zone threat and has shown the ability to win on tough routes. He will need to take a big pay cut from the $4.5 million, one-year deal he signed in Tennessee in 2017, but that has to be expected considering his paltry production. In 16 games with the Titans, Decker logged 563 yards and only one TD. Decker might make sense, though the cost would need to be low. 

There are plenty of other names to watch, guys like Seattle's Paul Richardson or Buffalo's Jordan Matthews. Free agency opens in mid-March, and some connections between the Redskins and wideouts will start prior to that.

Want more Redskins? Click here to follow JP on Facebook and check out @JPFinlayNBCS for live updates via Twitter! Click here for the #RedskinsTalk on Apple Podcastshere for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

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Redskins Fan of the Year bracket: Which Washington supporter deserves the title?

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Redskins Fan of the Year bracket: Which Washington supporter deserves the title?

Every week during the 2017 Redskins season, NBC Sports Washington found two Redskins fans in the crowd and paired them in a head-to-head matchup on Twitter to determine the fan of the game.

And now that the season is over, it's time to take each of those winners, throw them into a NCAA Tournament-style bracket and let Twitter pick the Redskins Fan of the Year.

Starting on January 8 over on the @NBCSRedskins Twitter account, one matchup a day will be posted at 11 a.m., and fans will have 24 hours to vote for their favorite supporter by retweeting or liking depending on their preference. Week 1's winner will face off with Week 17's, Week 2's will play Week 16's, etc.

The winners will advance, and eventually, one member of the Burgundy and Gold faithful will stand above all the rest, earning the coveted title of Redskins Fan of the Year. 

Check out the results below, which'll be updated every day. To see the tweet that corresponded with each matchup, click the link after the date, but remember, retweets and likes submitted after the 24-hour period won't be counted.

ELITE 8 RESULTS

The Elite 8's first matchup is underway. Vote now:


FIRST ROUND RESULTS

January 8: Round one, matchup one

This was a close one that came down to the last-minute, but at the 24-hour mark, Week 17's winner garnered justtttttttt enough retweets to move on.

January 9: Round one, matchup two

In this tournament, a giant Redskins chain is apparently worth more than a giant football hat.

January 10: Round one, matchup three

In the tournament's third showdown, we have our first winner from the Likes side:

January 11: Round one, matchup four

Was there anyway she wasn't gonna win, especially with the little Hogettes nose?

January 12: Round one, matchup five

Our fifth matchup's winner earned the most retweets of anyone up to this point:

January 15: Round one, matchup six

These three 'Skins fans had to witness Washington's Thursday night flop in Dallas, so it's only fair that they get to advance to the second round:

January 16: Round one, matchup seven

You'd think a turkey hat would be enough to capture a W, but not in this one:

January 17: Round one, matchup eight

The Elite 8 is now set with this showdown going to the retweets side: