For the first time in NFL history, two teams coming off winning streaks of at least five games will meet in the postseason. The Seattle Seahawks and the Washington Redskins ended the regular season with the two longest winning streaks in the NFC.
The Seahawks won seven of their last eight games, which included a five-game winning streak. After their Week 10 bye, the Redskins went on a seven-game winning streak of their own, which led to their NFC East divisional title.
To add to this history-making event, this will be only the second time since the Super Bowl era that two teams will have rookie quarterbacks starting in the same playoff game.
Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson and Washington quarterback Robert Griffin III are two of the frontrunners for the Rookie of the Year Award, and both have made major contributions to the success of their respective teams.
In addition to their passing games, both Wilson and Griffin adds an extra dimension with their ability to run the ball. The two rookie signal callers have combined for over 1,300 rushing yards and 11 rushing touchdowns.
However, they are only a small part of their teams’ running attack. Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch and Redskins rookie running back Alfred Morris are two of the best running backs in the league. Lynch finished the regular season with 1,590 rushing yards (third in the NFL), while Morris topped Lynch with 1,613 yards (second in the NFL).
The intriguing matchups in this wildcard game will be how both defenses defend their opponent’s ground attack. Washington and Seattle were first and third in the league in rushing respectively. On the flipside, the Redskins run defense surrendered an average of 95.8 yards per game (fifth in the league), and the Seahawks’ 10th ranked run defense gave up an average of 103.1.
Looking at the strengths of both teams, everything seems to be evenly matched. However, the one thing that stands out the most is Seattle’s 3-5 regular season road record. The lack of success away from the northwestern part of the country is due to the inconsistent play of Russell.
The play of Russell has been lights-out at home with 17 touchdown passes and just two interceptions. Unfortunately, those numbers couldn’t be translated on the road, tossing eight interceptions to go along with just nine touchdowns.
I believe that the road woes for the Seahawks will continue, and this game will be the game that puts RG3 over the top for the Rookie of the Year honors.
Prediction: Redskins 24, Seahawks 20
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