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Fantasy Football Playoff Challenge: Seattle Seahawks vs. Washington Redskins Preview

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Seattle Seahawks vs. Washington Redskins Playoff Preview

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Saturday brings the kickoff to Wild Card Weekend, which is regarded by many as the most exciting weekend of the NFL season. We will break down several important statistics that will dictate the outcome of each game. Based on these stats, we will identify which players will make a big impact from a fantasy football perspective. If you haven’t already joined the Fantasy Football Playoff Challenge, then I would recommend it.

The final game to be played during Wild Card Weekend is Seattle Seahawks vs. Washington Redskins, which kicks off at 4:30 p.m. on Sunday.

Whether or not they did it on purpose, the NFL has saved the best for last. Either one of these teams has a realistic shot of representing the NFC in the Super Bowl. They are the two hottest teams in the conference and have all of the right pieces in place.

The two rookie quarterbacks are primarily responsible for getting their teams to this point. Robert Griffin III has been the talk of the league since Week 1 but his counterpart, Russell Wilson has done well to steal some of that spotlight over the past five weeks. Neither team has lost since November, but one must fall on Sunday and allow the better team to continue on a crash course for NFC supremacy.

While the teams have thrived on the backs of their quarterbacks, it has been the legs that have fueled their playoff runs. These two teams have run the ball more than anyone else in the league and have done so with tremendous success.

Only one of these dynamic teams can survive. Follow the slideshow to see who will win this matchup on Sunday and why.

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Passing Game

Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

Advantage: Seattle Seahawks


Third Down Conversion Percentage:

Seahawks: 40.20%

Redskins: 35.79%

Completion Percentage:

Seahawks: 63.95%

Redskins: 65.84

Average Team Passer Rating:

Seahawks: 100.6

Redskins: 102.1

Opponent Average Team Passer Rating:

Seahawks: 71.8

Redskins: 87.0

This advantage has more to do with defense than the anything that either quarterback can control. Both offenses have proven that they have the ability to succeed in the passing game, despite their lack of experience or elite receivers to target. However, Seattle has the clear edge in the secondary and will return Brandon Browner to complete the best cornerback duo in the league. It should be noted that Seattle's pass attack has been less effective on the road, which closes the already small gap between these two units.

Top Fantasy Players: 1. Robert Griffin III, 2. Russell Wilson, 3. Golden Tate, 4. Pierre Garcon, 5. Sidney Rice

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Running Game

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Advantage: Washington Redskins


Rushing Play Percentage:

Seahawks: 55.03%

Redskins: 52.21%

Yards per Rush Attempt:

Seahawks: 4.8

Redskins: 5.2

Rushing Yards per Game:

Seahawks: 161.2

Redskins: 169.1

Opponent Yards per Rush Attempt:

Seahawks: 4.5

Redskins: 4.2

This game features two out of the three teams that run the ball with more than 50% of their plays. This attests to the fact that running the football is the strength for each of these offenses. Both teams block almost as well as they run, which should allow for both teams to find plenty of success on the ground. In the end, Washington's weapons of Robert Griffin and Alfred Morris have run the ball more efficiently than Seattle's Russell Wilson and Marshawn Lynch and should continue to do so on Sunday.

Top Fantasy Players: 1. Alfred Morris, 2. Marshawn Lynch

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Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

Advantage: Seattle Seahawks


Total Defense:

Seahawks: 4th

Redskins: 17th

Opponent Points per Game:

Seahawks: 15.3

Redskins: 24.2

Sacks per Game:

Seahawks: 2.2

Redskins: 2.0

While these teams play comparably well in their front seven, the advantage is clearly won with the dominant play from Seattle's secondary. Richard Sherman, Brandon Browner, Cam Chancellor and Earl Thomas make up the league's biggest, baddest and most physical secondary. With this unit back at full strength, Washington receivers will be hard-pressed to find any openings.

Top Fantasy Players: 1. Seattle Defense, 2. Washington Defense

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Special Teams

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Advantage: Seattle Seahawks


Special Teams Rank*:

Seahawks: 3rd

Redskins: 27th

*Points each team receives from the five elements of special teams: field goals/extra points, kickoffs, kick returns, punts, punt returns.

The biggest difference between the two teams is in the return game. While Brandon Banks is a capable return man for Washington, Leon Washington may be the best returner in NFL history. Field position is a crucial factor in playoff games, especially when teams match up so closely. For that reason, the Seattle advantage at punter is equally important. Jon Ryan is one of the best punters in the league at both distance and accuracy. Both kickers have been superb this season and should prove to be assets to their teams.

Top Fantasy Players: 1. Kai Forbath, 2. Steven Hauschka

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Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Outcome: Seattle Seahawks - 21, Washington Redskins- 23

Turnover Margin:

Seahawks: +14

Redskins: +17

Home/Away Record:

Seahawks: 3-5

Redskins: 5-3

Last 3 Games:

Seahawks: 3-0

Redskins: 3-0

Penalties per Game:

Seahawks: 6.9

Redskins: 7.2

Seattle caught a bad break by missing out on a first round bye and drawing a hot team on the road. This will be an excellent game to watch, and the winner should move on to do some damage in the NFC. While Seattle came out with the advantage in more aspects of the game, Washington holds the advantage in the running game, which is the most crucial for these two teams. While both quarterbacks are great, I have more trust in Robert Griffin III with the game on the line.