SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (11-5)
at WASHINGTON REDSKINS (10-6)
NFC Wild Card Playoff Game
Kickoff: Sunday, 4:30 p.m. EDT
Line: Seattle -3, Total: 46
Two teams riding long winning streaks meet on Sunday in the first round of the NFC playoffs when Seattle visits Washington.
The Redskins earned their seventh consecutive win last week, though QB Robert Griffin III (knee) clearly wasn’t 100 percent. Griffin threw for 100 yards and ran for 63 in the win, as the Redskins had to lean heavily on rookie RB Alfred Morris (200 yards, 3 TD). The Seahawks come into this game as the NFL’s hottest team, going 5-0 SU (4-1 ATS) in December and outscoring opponents 193-60 in those games. They have been less impressive on the road this year, where they’re 3-5 SU and 4-4 ATS. But they won their last two road games, a blowout over the Bills in Toronto and an overtime win at Chicago.
Which team will extend its winning streak on Sunday afternoon? For the answer, connect to The Platinum Sheet for all the StatFox Experts picks for every NFL game throughout the 2012 season and playoffs.
Seahawks QB Russell Wilson has been outstanding in the second half of the season, winning seven of eight games with a 67% completion rate, 9.0 YPA, 16 TD and 2 INT, equaling an impressive 120.3 passer rating. He's also rushed for 361 yards and 4 TD in these eight contests. RB Marshawn Lynch has certainly lived up to his "Beast Mode" nickname down the stretch with eight 100-yard efforts in his past 10 games, including four in a row. Lynch was a monster in his first career playoff game in Jan. 2011, rushing for 131 yards on just 19 carries, including a highlight reel, 67-yard touchdown run in a 41-36 win over the Saints. But in the next game, he carried the football just four times for two yards. The Redskins have an excellent rushing defense (95.8 YPG, 5th in NFL), but they have been burned through the air constantly, allowing 282 passing YPG (3rd-worst in NFL). The good news for Washington is that CB Cedric Griffin is eligible to play after serving a suspension for testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs. But Seattle has great depth in its receiving corps with eight players catching more than a dozen passes this year, led by Sidney Rice (50 rec, 748 yds, 7 TD) and Golden Tate (45 rec, 688 yds, 7 TD).
Robert Griffin III has thrown just one interception in 190 pass attempts on his home field this season, but has just 8 TD passes in these eight games, compared to 12 TD tosses in seven road games. Although he's clearly been bothered by his knee injury, Griffin is still completing 66% of his passes for 9.2 YPA, 12 TD and 2 INT in the past six games, equaling a 119.4 rating. Griffin gets all the hype, but rookie RB Alfred Morris has been tremendous in the past six games, galloping for 744 yards (124 YPG) and 8 TD. He'll have his work cut out for him though as Seattle ranks 10th in the NFL in rushing defense (103 YPG). If Morris cannot be effective, the Redskins will try to throw the football, but that could be even more dangerous against Seattle's sixth-ranked passing defense (203 YPG allowed). The Seahawks defense has 18 interceptions while allowing just 15 TD through the air. Only Atlanta (14 pass TD allowed) has given up fewer passing touchdowns in the league, while Washington has given up more than twice as many passing TD (31). When Griffin drops back, he will rely mostly on WR Pierre Garcon, who has 33 catches for 475 yards and 3 TD in the past six games. Garcon has also been clutch in the postseason, totaling 329 receiving yards and 3 TD in his past three playoff games, scoring once in each game.