Seahawks vs. Redskins: Biggest X-Factors to Watch for in NFC Wild Card Showdown

Patrick Clarke@@_Pat_ClarkeCorrespondent IJanuary 3, 2013

PHILADELPHIA, PA - JANUARY 01:  Josh Wilson #26 of the Washington Redskins walks off the field against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field on January 1, 2012 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images

Three sensational offensive rookies, Robert Griffin III, Alfred Morris and Russell Wilson will all leave their individual marks on Sunday afternoon's colossal NFC Wild Card showdown between the Washington Redskins and Seattle Seahawks at FedEx Field.

The three stars have been excelling on the field all season long and have no reason to stop now.

But what about the role players, the X-factors? 

Here we'll take a minute to highlight some pivotal players in Sunday's win-or-go-home contest in Landover, and break down what they must do in order to help lead their team to victory.


Josh Morgan, Washington Redskins, WR

When you think of top Redskins receivers this season you don't exactly think of Josh Morgan. But believe it or not, Morgan actually leads all Washington pass-catchers in targets and receptions this season. 

The former San Francisco 49er was targeted 73 times during this past regular season, catching 48 passes for 510 yards and two touchdowns. Morgan, like most of the Redskins receivers this season, has at times dropped big passes in big moments. But he will need to shake off the jitters prior to kickoff if he is going to be a real asset for Mike Shanahan's squad. 

With two stud corners lining up opposite Washington's offense in Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner for Seattle, Morgan will need to not only get open for the banged-up RG3, but also catch the ball when it's thrown to him.

It sounds simple, and it is.  


Golden Tate, Seattle Seahawks, WR

If Washington's defense is suspect against one thing, it's the pass, where the Redskins ranked 30th in the NFL this past season. Therefore, Seattle's second-leading wide receiver Golden Tate will be a big-time X-factor on Sunday.

Tate has 45 receptions for 688 yards and seven touchdowns coming into this weekend, and he was targeted 68 times during the regular season. With leading wide receiver Sidney Rice likely set to see plenty of DeAngelo Hall on Sunday afternoon, it's critical that Tate wins his one-on-one matchups and provides rookie quarterback Russell Wilson with a target downfield.

The former Notre Dame star doesn't boast the size of his teammate Sidney Rice, but is a sound route-runner and clearly a guy Wilson trusts in the passing game. 


Josh Wilson, Washington Redskins, CB

With DeAngelo Hall performing his best Darrelle Revis impression on the other side of the field, Redskins cornerback Josh Wilson needs to hold up his end of the deal against Seattle.

Wilson defended 13 passes during the regular season for Washington, recording two interceptions as well. It's not imperative that he get his hands on every ball Russell Wilson throws his way on Sunday, but it's critical that he keeps Seattle's wide receivers in front of him in man-to-man situations.

It should be noted that Josh Wilson actually played his first three NFL seasons with the Seahawks from 2007-09. Wilson played for the Seattle team that knocked off the Washington Redskins in the Wild Card round back in 2007.

He'll play a major role in determining whether he and the 'Skins wind up on the winning end of the rematch.


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