Redskins Brace For Seattle Showdown
For the first time in 13 years, the Redskins won the NFC East and are preparing to host a playoff game at FedEx Field.
Following a memorable 28-18 victory over the archrival Dallas Cowboys last week that capped off their longest winning streak since 1996, the Redskins seek to avenge a postseason nemesis that has haunted them twice in the past seven seasons.
In 2005, the Redskins reeled off five straight victories to close out a 10-6 regular season. With very little offensive production, they were able to defeat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on the road in the Wild Card round. Washington then traveled to take on the Seattle Seahawks and their vaunted "12th Man." The Redskins came up short, losing 20-10.
Just two years later, riding a wave of emotion and a four game winning streak following the death of beloved safety Sean Taylor, the Redskins again headed into Seattle. This time, Washington fell 35-13.
This time around, the Redskins dropped to 3-6 and were set to look ahead to the 2013 season. Seven games later, led by rookie superstar Robert Griffin III and rookie surprise Alfred Morris, the Redskins have captured a division title and get to host the dreaded Seahawks at FedEx Field.
The Redskins won four of the last seven games at home and were 5-3 in Landover this season, their first winning home record since 2007.
Seahawks fans are known for providing a home-field advantage for Seattle. This year was no different, as they posted an 8-0 record at CenturyLink Field. Washington's fans have been a factor in recent home wins, helping garner a home-field advantage that hasn't been around for years. The Redskins are 13-3 all-time in home playoff games and the Seahawks have not won a road playoff game in 29 years.
Enthusiasm surrounding the Redskins has been fueled by the dynamic Griffin, who finally gets to showcase his talents on the same field as another talented rookie quarterback, Russell Wilson.
Griffin, Morris and Wilson are all in the discussion for rookie of the year and for good reason. Griffin ran for more yards than any rookie quarterback in league history, surpassing Cam Newton's phenomenal 2011 campaign. Griffin threw for 3,200 yards, 20 touchdowns and only five interceptions and broke a rookie record with a 102.4 passer rating. Morris first made himself noticed in the preseason after being selected as a sixth-round pick from Florida Atlantic. But no one predicted he would rush for 1,613 and 13 touchdowns and break the Redskins single-season rushing record. Wilson, less-heralded than Griffin but more highly touted than Morris, was drafted in the third round and threw for 3,118 yards, 26 touchdowns and finished the season with a 100.0 passer rating.
All eyes will be on Wilson and Griffin Sunday. For Wilson, it will be to see if he can earn the respect of the D.C. audience and for Griffin, it will be to see if he can overcome the limitations his knee brace provides him.
Seattle comes to Washington boasting the NFL's top-ranked scoring defense, only allowing 15.3 points per game. They are also 10th in the league in run defense, only allowing 103.1 yards per game on the ground. It will make for an interesting matchup against the Redskins, who own the league's top rushing offense, averaging 169.3 yards per game.
On offense, the Seahawks have dominated in the last four weeks, outscoring their opponents 170-43. Running back Marshawn Lynch has run for 10 touchdowns and is third in the NFL with 1,590 rushing yards, behind only Morris and Minnesota's Adrian Peterson. Seattle's offense will provide a strong test for a Redskins defense that was on pace to surpass the NFL's yards-allowed record but have stiffened up over the course of the second half of the season.
The Redskins will also need to contain explosive returner Leon Washington on special teams. He could become an X-factor in the blink of an eye.
This article was released on 2013-01-05.
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