As the Seattle Seahawks travel to Washington in Week 15, it's a game that will certainly draw comparisons to their 2012 NFC Wild Card game.
Washington fans know how it went, Seattle left with a win and Robert Griffin III suffered a knee injury. The Seahawks went on to build a budding, always-competitive franchise that won a Super Bowl, while Washington remains in limbo.
With the current scope of the NFC playoff picture, Sunday might not be the last time the two teams see each other this season. If the playoffs ended today, Seattle would travel to Washington to face off in the Wild Card game, creating a nearly-parallel situation to 2012.
Although the Seahawks will likely have the better record and higher ceiling, Washington will have a chance, according to NBC Sports Northwest's Joe Fann.
“You look at this team, and would you be surprised if they had to travel to Washington in January and lost in the first round?" Fann said on the Washington Football Talk Podcast. "I don’t think it would surprise anybody.”
The reason Fann and others wouldn't be surprised by a Washington victory stems from what Seattle has shown throughout the 2020 season. The team is 9-4 and still competing for a division title in a talented NFC West, but there are holes within their game.
The defense has struggled to contain opposing offenses, and while Russell Wilson and DK Metcalf lead a talented unit on that side of the ball, there have been instances where the offense has floundered games it should have won. A recent loss to the New York Giants is a prime example of that.
Seattle also enjoys keeping a majority of its games close. The only real blowout win came against the New York Jets. Therefore, in Week 15 and potentially the playoffs, Washington could easily catch them off guard.
“I do think the Seahawks are the superior team here and should win this game, and I would say if they played again in January they should win again," Fann said. "But as we’ve seen from Seattle, they’re prone to a dud and they can lose to anybody and they certainly need to be ready for a dogfight in Washington this weekend.”
For Fann, it's not just that the Seahawks are susceptible to lapses, but the entire NFC playoff field. From top to bottom there is talent, but no one is perfect, and there are areas where each seed can be beaten.
“While the Seahawks are flawed, every team in the NFC is flawed," Fann said. "The Saints have shown that, the Packers defense can be had."
“I don’t look at any team in the NFC the way I look at the Chiefs in the AFC," Fann said.
So while Seattle could make a run into deep January, there's a chance Washington could end it quickly should they meet up. Maybe there's even an opportunity for Washington to be that team that wins multiple games in the playoffs. It sure would make 2012 feel less painful.
However, according to NBC Sports Washington's JP Finlay, the unpredictability of the NFC may once again come into play on Sunday.
No matter who wins, it may not say much about what could happen a few weeks down the line. Nothing is certain in 2020.
“Whoever wins this weekend, if they play again in January, the other team will win," Finlay said.