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:
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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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