Battle of the rookies
What: Seahawks @ Redskins
When: Sunday, January 6, 2013
Where: FedEx Field, Landover, Maryland
Weather: Hi 46 degrees, Lo 32, 10% chance of precipitation, winds WNW 9MPH Via The Weather Channel
Watching the Seahawks over the past several weeks has made it easy to feel overly confident about this upcoming matchup. We have to take into consideration that it is not only the Seahawks who are riding a winning streak heading into the game, it has actually been longer since the Redskins lost.
The teams have a combined record of 14-2 over the second half of the season.
Something will have to give Sunday
The Redskins are 0-2 at home against teams that have qualified for the 2012 playoffs. I would say that bodes well for the Seahawks, however Seattle is 0-1 this season against playoff teams on the road.
The Redskins have a 23-17 record in the post season, with their last home victory coming on January 8, 2000. Washington has a 13-3 playoff record at home all time.
On the other hand, the Seahawks are 8-11 in the post season with their last, and only, road playoff win coming on December, 31, 1983. Yes your reading that right. 1983.
One more loss and they set an NFL record.
Everyone wants to talk about Robert Griffin III versus Russell Wilson, and I can understand why. One of those two will be named rookie of the year, my money is on RGIII but I believe it should really be Wilson.
While most people were out having fun yesterday I was sitting at my computer breaking down the Redskins and RGIII. What I noticed was that Griffin has been extremely lucky.
He loves to just throw the ball in the air and hope his receivers come down with the ball, which they usually do. Several big plays have come because defenders just couldn’t make plays. The Seahawks secondary is much better than that.
If he throws the ball up for grabs Richard Sherman and Co. will make him pay.
I also noticed that while running the option, after handing the ball off, Griffin does a little hop a majority of the time. He never hops when he keeps the ball, so our defense should be able to key off that trigger even if they cannot see the ball.
His favored cadence is “Ready, (pause) Ready set” and every time he takes that pause it is followed by “Ready Set” quickly, then the ball is snapped. He does skip the first “Ready” about 15% of the time, going on a quick count of “Ready set.”
Griffin also has a hard count, but it doesn’t worry me because usually it causes his offensive lineman to jump, it is actually comical. It shouldn’t cause any problems even if they don’t jump because it is so different from his regular snap count that it is obvious what he is doing as soon as he starts.
One more Rook to watch!
Alfred Morris has me concerned, he kind of reminds me of a poor man’s Jim Brown. If the Seahawks aren’t fundamentally sound tackling I see him having a big day.
When the Seahawks have the ball, they are going to have to deal with a relentless pass rush from Washington. As Pete Carroll alluded to earlier in the week, the Redskins are committed to the pass rush.
Washington is tied with Seattle at 33 team sacks this season, but their aggressive style has made them the 5th best team in the league against the rush. If Marshawn Lynch can break through the initial wave of defenders he is going to break some big runs of his own because they don’t leave many players on the back end.
The Redskins pass rush has forced teams to make a lot of mistakes, they are ranked third in turn over differential. The Seahawks meanwhile, aren’t too shabby themselves and are ranked 5th in turn over differential.
If I was making the game plan I would attack this defense by using a lot of miss direction plays. I would use a lot of read option, play-action and some trickery.
I don’t think this will be an easy task, but I have the Seahawks winning on the road in the playoffs for the second time in team history, 24-23 with Russell Wilson leading the team to victory on the final drive of the game.