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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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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Where's Galette, Cousins' future

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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Where's Galette, Cousins' future

NEW ORLEANS—Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, November 18, one day before the Washington Redskins play the New Orleans Saints at Mercedes Benz Superdome.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: AM walkthrough and then travel to New Orleans. No media availability.

Days until:

—Giants @ Redskins Thanksgiving (11/23) 6
—Redskins @ Cowboys Thursday night (11/30) 13
—Redskins @ Chargers (12/19) 23

Quick Redskins news hits

C Spencer Long tried to play last week and he couldn’t make it more than a dozen snaps before sitting down for the rest of the day. He is out against the Seahawks tomorrow.

With Brian Quick and Ryan Grant questionable with concussions and Terrelle Pryor out with an ankle injury, the Redskins are down to three healthy wide receivers. While Quick and Grant might play, the depth chart could have Doctson, Crowder, and Harris on it.

The Redskins week that was

2 reasons Redskins didn't trade Terrelle Pryor—If you want to know why the deal with the Browns didn’t happen, follow the money. Between his signing bonus and the half of the year’s salary, the Redskins have already paid $4.5 million. Although he hasn’t been nearly as productive as they hoped he would be, there was no point in letting him go to save $1.5 million unless they got a second-day draft pick, or maybe a fourth, in return. See that Jay Gruden said that he didn’t hear of the proposed trade, talks must not have become too serious.

Remember Junior Galette? The Redskins don't seem to—As with Pryor, everyone is waiting for Galette to break out. But unlike Pryor, he’s not an expensive unproductive player. He’s making the veteran minimum. Against the Vikings, he played just 19 snaps. Perhaps a return to New Orleans for a game against his old team will spark a sack or two.

Recent comments from Cousins may hint at future in D.C.—Cousins has been big on making statements about the long-term future with the Redskins (read the post for specifics). That doesn’t mean that it’s a lock that he stays in town. But it should give some pause to those who believe that it is a lock that he will be in another uniform when 2018 or, at the latest, 2019 rolls around. He has never been inclined to go to the highest bidder and if the Redskins make a competitive offer that delivers what he wants he could well stick around.

How the Vikings scored 21 unanswered points against the Redskins—The 21-0 run in about seven minutes of game time that the Vikings used to make a competitive game at FedEx Field a rout was a combination of good offense by the Vikings and bad defense and offense by the Redskins. They couldn’t cover Adam Thielen on either drive. Cousins threw an interception off of his back foot and that set up the middle of the three touchdowns. If the Redskins end the season a game out of a playoff spot that seven-minute stretch will be one of the big reasons why they failed to make it.

Player one-liners, defense— Usually, the offensive edition of the player one-liners tends to be the most popular but this week it was the defense that drew the most interest. The defensive player I’m going to keep an eye on the most in the last seven games is rookie safety Montae Nicholson. He has the speed and hard hitting ability that the secondary needs. When asked what will happen when Nicholson is healthy, Jay Gruden said without hesitation that he is the starter. Nicholson’s health will be important for the defense down the stretch. DeAngelo Hall is better suited to a part-time role at this stage of his career.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerNBCS and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.

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Redskins getting thin at receiver with two more injured wideouts out on Sunday

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Redskins getting thin at receiver with two more injured wideouts out on Sunday

In August, Redskins fans would freak out if they heard Jordan Reed and Terrelle Pryor would both miss a November game.

In November, that news doesn’t carry much worry.

Washington coach Jay Gruden announced that Reed and Pryor, along with center Spencer Long, won’t play Sunday against the Saints.

RELATED: KEYS TO VICTORY AGAINST THE SAINTS

Reed hasn’t played in a few weeks as he is dealing with a hamstring injury. It seemed he might have returned last week before a setback slowed down his progress.

In his place, Vernon Davis has proved to be a sturdy backup capable of some big games.

Long injured his knee and while he played last week, he did not practice this week.

Not having Pryor is a bit of a surprise. His ankle injury popped up this week and he will see a specialist next week to examine the joint. In the middle of a disappointing season, the Redskins offense won’t lose much with his absence.

Elsewhere on the injury list, a number of players will be questionable for Sunday’s contest against the 7-2 Saints.

Perhaps most important, Trent Williams is questionable but will probably play.

MORE ON THE REDSKINS: FIVE PLAYERS UNDER PRESSURE

Receivers Ryan Grant and Brian Quick are expected to play after undergoing concussion protocol, but that will leave the Redskins with only three fully healthy wideouts: Jamison Crowder, Josh Doctson and Maurice Harris.