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NFL Playoffs Preview: Seattle Seahawks At Washington Redskins

USATSI_8129100_154224518_lowresThe last wild card match up may be the most interesting one to fans with no vested interest in any game in particular as two Rookie of the Year candidates square off in what promises to be a fun, exciting game.

Both Robert Griffin III and Russell Wilson exceeded expectations this season by leading their respective teams to the post season. The Redskins, despite all odds, were able to win their last seven games of the regular season, including five straight over divisional rivals to win the NFC East after starting 3-6 and looking like the post season was out of the question.

The Seahawks were a 49ers loss away from winning the NFC West going into Week 17 of the regular season despite pundits believing that San Francisco would run away with the division. A Week 16 blowout win over the 49ers was the third straight game that the Seahawks scored at least 40 points which was in the midst of a five-game winning streak to close out the season.

With both teams coming into the post season as hot as anyone, the game will naturally come down to which quarterback performs better on the day.

The Redskins defense has recorded 21 interceptions this season, with 13 of those coming when they send a blitz package. Russell Wilson hasn’t thrown an interceptions when teams have rushed more than four since Week 7. So the ‘Skins are going to have to find a nice balance between their feisty blitz packages and only rushing four to keep Wilson guessing — which is the best way to get opposing quarterbacks to make mistakes, especially young ones.

The Seahawks rank fourth in total defense, but will have to deal with RG3 and running back Alfred Morris who combined for a total of 46 touchdowns this season — the highest total between teammates this year. As much as Griffin has been receiving, rookie Morris has been equally as fantastic in his rookie campaign with 55 rushes for at least 10 yards this season, which was only second to Adrian Peterson’s 61. In fact, Morris’ 55 rushes for at least 10 yards would have topped the NFL in every season except one (not including this year) since 2001.

We can’t speak about running backs without bringing up Marshawn Lynch who has rushed for at least 100 yards in each of the Seahawks’ last four games and has eclipsed the 100-yard mark in eight of his last 10. Outside of Peterson, Lynch may be the most physical runner in the NFL and has made Wilson’s life much easier during his rookie campaign.

During the regular season, the Redskins and the Seahawks ran the ball more than the other 30 teams in the league, and establishing the ground game will be essential for both ball clubs. And conversely, stopping the run will be equally as important for each defense. Regardless of who wins, we should be in store for an exciting finale to Wild Card Weekend.

For more on today’s game, check out Serena Winters’ pre-game report:

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Phillip Barnett is the Senior NFL Editor at Sports City and is currently suffering through a decade long (and counting) playoff drought from the Oakland Raiders.

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