REDSKINS (3-4) VS. SEAHAWKS (5-2)
SUNDAY, 4:05 P.M. ET, CENTURYLINK FIELD, SEATTLE uTV: FOX, DIRECTV 713
Announcers: Kevin Burkhardt, Charles Davis, Pam Oliver
About the Redskins: Playing in what might the toughest division in football has hurt a team that has played relatively well most of the season but is quickly slipping out of contention in the NFC East. A defense that held the Oakland Raiders to 10 points a few weeks ago has given up more than 30 points to Philadelphia and Dallas in back-to-back weeks, and the Seahawks are coming off their most impressive offensive performance of the season. QB Kirk Cousins might have to be at his best, and the running game needs to find a spark as well. The team’s leading rusher last week, RB Rob Kelley, gained 19 yards. Washington’s run defense had its share of issues last week as well, but the Seattle offensive line won’t pose the same challenge that the Cowboys’ line does. About the Seahawks: Having survived another near miss last week, the Seahawks are perfect at home this year but haven’t exactly been dominant there. Seattle’s offense got going in the last-second win over the Houston Texans, but the game left a lot of questions about its defense. While QB Russell Wilson continues to make plays when needed, he’s going to need something out of the run game and a more typical performance from the defense if the Seahawks are to survive again. Seattle’s defense rarely has back-to-back duds, especially when S Earl Thomas is healthy, so Washington could see an even more inspired unit but no doubt will test rookie CB Shaquill
Griffin, who looks vulnerable. The Seahawks have been inconsistent but still have the second-best record in the NFC. The Seahawks also had acquired Pro Bowl OT Duane Brown from the Houston Texans, ESPN's Adam Schefter reported at press time. Matchup to watch: Redskins CB Josh Norman vs. Seahawks WR Doug Baldwin. While Seattle WR Paul Richardson has started to make plays in the passing game (six catches for 105 yards against Houston), the Seahawks typically don’t get a lot of production outside of Baldwin. If Norman, Washing-
ton’s best cover man, can keep Baldwin in check, it significantly could impact Wilson’s ability to generate much offense. Player to watch: Redskins TE Jordan Reed. Washington is trying to feed him the ball as much as possible, and this would be a good week for Reed to do more damage — except that he left the Dallas game because of a hamstring injury and is questionable. Number crunching: 4. Touchdown receptions by Seahawks TE Jimmy Graham over the last three games, including three that came inside the 5-yard line. Wilson was having trouble finding Graham as a red-zone target for most of his Seahawks career before this. KEYS TO THE GAME
1. Run … and don’t get run on: Washington is 10-2 under coach Jay Gruden when rushing for 115 yards or more in a game. Defensively, Washington is 3-1 this season when holding opponents to fewer than 100 yards and 0-3 when teams run for triple digits.
2. Push the tempo: Washington, which has played pretty well on the road this season despite its 1-2 record, might have success running an up-tempo offense at CenturyLink Field — it worked for the Texans last week.
3. Keep Wilson healthy: Whether it’s because of a leaky offensive line or a receiving corps that struggles, the Seahawks just can’t seem to give Wilson many easy downs.
4. Start faster: Seattle has had success coming back this season. Pete Carroll’s team has been maddeningly inconsistent but knows how to finish.
STEVEN BISIG, USA TODAY SPORTS Seahawks’ Doug Baldwin