The Washington Redskins hosted a playoff game at FedEx Field exactly one week after the Y2K New Year. Almost exactly thirteen years to the day later, they're about to play their second postseason game this century in Landover, as the red-hot Seattle Seahawks come to town.
Later in the week, we'll have an in-depth breakdown of what the Redskins have to do to win as well as a preview and prediction. But before we get to that, let's take a broad opening look at the matchup.
The Seahawks have the best defense in the NFL. At least in terms of points allowed. In fact, the next-best team, San Francisco, gave up 28 points more than the Seahawks. That's 1.8 points per game more than Seattle.
The Seahawks and Redskins are the two hottest teams in the NFC. At least in terms of consecutive wins. Washington has won seven straight, Seattle has won five straight, and Minnesota and Carolina have each won four straight. The only NFL team on a longer winning streak is Denver (11).
Since Week 14, the Seahawks have scored at least 30 more points than any other team in the NFL. The Redskins scored 24 more points and put up 521 more yards of total offense during the entire season, but Seattle got extra hot late. In that same span, Washington ranks sixth in the NFL in points scored. (Seattle has 170, while the Redskins have 124.)
This will mark the second time in NFL history that rookie quarterbacks have faced each other in a playoff game. Andy Dalton and T.J. Yates went head-to-head in last year's Wild Card Game between Cincinnati and Houston. Robert Griffin III goes up against Russell Wilson Sunday in a matchup between the league's two leading Offensive Rookie of the Year candidates.
Since Week 9, Griffin and Wilson are the league's highest-rated passers. Wilson's first at 120.3, followed by Griffin at 109.0.
Wilson has outrushed Griffin the last three weeks. While Griffin finished with a league-high (for quarterbacks) 815 rushing yards to Wilson's 489, Wilson has been running more effectively late in the season. Griffin, who's been hampered by a knee injury, has just 101 rushing yards in his last three games, while Wilson has 179. His three best rushing outputs of the year came in the final five weeks of the regular season.
Alfred Morris and Marshawn Lynch finished second and third in the league in rushing. Adrian Peterson and Jamaal Charles were the only other backs in the league to hit the 1,500-yard mark this season. Morris averaged 4.8 yards per carry, while Lynch averaged 5.0. Combined, they've gone over 100 yards eight times in their last 10 games.
Neither team takes many sacks. As Redskins fans know, hits are a different story. But both Washington and Seattle gave up exactly 33 sacks this season, ranking above average in that area. The luxury of having mobile quarterbacks, I suppose.
The Seahawks were just 3-5 on the road. Washington was 5-3 at home, winning its last four home games. Yet Seattle won its last two on the road, one of which came in Chicago. They also put up 50 points on the Bills in Toronto.