Monday Night Football: Seattle at Washington Features Hawks’ O and Skins’ D

Monday Night Football for October 6, 2015, has the Seattle Seahawks (2-1) visiting the Washington Redskins (1-3). Seattle is coming off its bye week while the Skins are trying to recover from their 45-14 loss to the New York Giants last week. Washington has lost two straight. The last time Seattle played, two weeks ago, they beat Denver 26-20 in OT. The Seahawks’ one loss this season was on the road to the Chargers.

Keys for the Seahawks

Although Seattle QB Russell Wilson doesn’t top the list in passing yards, what he does connect through the air tends to payoff. He’s hit pay dirt six times this season and tossed just one pick. His 108.9 QB rating puts him third in the league. When he’s in control of the game, completing 68-percent of his passes, he’s tough to beat.

His favorite touchdown targets, with each player catching two, are WR Ricardo Lockette and DE Zach Miller. Wideouts Percy Harvin and Doug Baldwin are the two guys that Wilson goes to the most. Both are capable of making the big catch on the long ball.

Add to that the Seattle running game, and you’ve got a dynamic offense. It isn’t that the Seahawks are high on total yards rushing; they are 14th in that stat. But, once again, they make every yard count, as their 5.1 per carry average places them third in the NFL. The question mark for the Hawks is RB Marshawn Lynch, who leads the team with 234 total yards. Lynch, who averages 4.5 YPA, is listed as “probable” for Monday night’s game. Harvin is also a threat to run and a potent one.

The Seattle defense is the second toughest as far as yards allowed is concerned. Opponents have less than 1,000 yards against them. In yards per game allowed, they are 6th and in points per game Seattle is 11th, permitting an average of 22. They are ranked 19th against the pass, and their overall lack of pressure on QBs makes them vulnerable in this area.

This Seattle team plays a controlled game. They are averaging 6.1 penalties and 52 yards in penalties per game. That’s a solid stat, especially going against a Washington club that is averaging close to 10 penalties and 97 yards per game. When the Seattle team plays a solid, disciplined game and executes, it’s tough to beat them.

Keys for the Redskins

One of the major problems for the Redskins is at quarterback. The relatively inexperienced starter Robert Griffin went down a few weeks ago and will be out once again for this game. That means that the vastly inexperienced Kirk Cousins will start again. Thus far, Cousins has thrown six touchdowns and five interceptions. He has been sacked four times. The mistakes he’s making are costly. Cousins has accumulated a decent number of passing yards in this short season, but he’s converted too few of his drives and thrown too many picks.

Running back Alfred Morris is fifth in the league with 316 total yards. He’s crossed the goal line twice on runs and has also fumbled twice. If he can get some traction against what is a stingy rushing defense, that will give the Skins some offensive clout, and it may give Cousins the opportunity to utilize his passing game.

Cousins’ top targets are Niles Paul, Pierre Garcon, and DeSean Jackson. Each has a TD catch this season and each has 200-plus yards in receptions. FB Darrel Young is the short pass catcher. He has two TDs.

Although the Washington defense will have their hands full with Seattle’s balanced attack, they do have the manpower to get the job done, force some mistakes. and create scoring chances. Washington’s 11 sacks rank them third in the NFL. Plus, they have 2 forced fumbles both of which they have recovered, and one that they took in for a score.

LB Ryan Kerrigan is a massive force on the field with 5 sacks and 1 forced fumble, while tackle leader Keenen Robinson, also at linebacker, has amassed 21 solo tackles, 30 total bring downs, 1 interception, and 1 fumble recovery. If these guys and the rest of the squad in the front can pressure the pocket and stuff the run, the Redskins will have a shot at a victory.

How This Game Looks

Seattle is favored in this game by 7 ½ to 8 points. The Redskins are 1-1 at home, while Seattle lost its only game on the road. In terms of what’s expected, it seems as if the prognosticators don’t see much of an advantage at home for Washington, as the usual home field advantage in the NFL is 3 ½ points.

All signs post to a win by the Seahawks, but the NFL is, as usual, unpredictable. Still, you have to like the Super Bowl champs playing against a team that despite the fact that they can rack up yards and keep opponents at bay for much of the game cannot seem to win consistently. Seattle brings a disciplined squad, while Washington finds it tough to not beat itself. Expect the Seahawks to take this one.

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