Gil Brandt, a senior analysis for NFL.com, shook up his crystal ball and it’s tell him that the Seahawks will beat the Redskins on Sunday. He’s predicting victories for the Packers and Seahawks in the wild card round, which means Seattle would play at Atlanta in the divisional round. The lowest remaining seed after this weekend plays at the No. 1 seed (Atlanta) on Sunday, Jan. 13.
Brandt was one of the most respected minds in the NFL when he was the vice president in charge of player personnel for the Dallas Cowboys (1960-89) and he now writes a blog for the NFL.
If Minnesota (No. 6) beats Green Bay (No. 3) and Seattle (No. 5) beats Washington (No. 4), then the Seahawks head down the coast for a rematch with the 49ers (No. 2) on Saturday, Jan. 12.
Here’s how Brandt sizes up the Hawks-Skins game:
» Wilson and RG3 are obviously the headline-grabbing rookies in this matchup, but the key guy in this game is another first-year player: Seahawks linebacker Bobby Wagner. He has to make plays against Redkins rookie Alfred Morris for Seattle to have a chance.
» I think the Seahawks caught a good break with this game. Even though they have to travel out east, it’s a late game, starting at about the same time they’d get going in Seattle.
» Both teams have left tackles in the Pro Bowl, which makes it a lot safer to be a rookie starting at quarterback.
Brandt also breaks down all of the QBs in the playoffs, rating RG3 and Russell Wilson No. 8 and 9, respectively.
Some of Seattle’s favorite musicians were on hand Friday morning to raise the blue 12th Man flag at the Space Needle in Seattle. Several Seahawks’ anthems are included with this link, including “Russell, Last Name, Wilson,” by Tim Crispy.
John McGrath of the Tacoma News Tribune writes about coaches Pete Carroll and Mike Shanahan. They share a similar philosophy and a mutual respect for each other. Shanahan wanted to hire Carroll to be his defensive coordinator at one point in their careers, but Carroll got a late offer to return to his hometown area and run the 49ers’ defense.
The Associated Press capsule report on Sunday’s playoff game is loaded with facts and stats (note, the Seahawks are now favored by 3 points; it was 1.5 when this was first published). Did you know that Washington’s last two playoff games were against the Seahawks. Seattle won at home 20-10 in January 2006, and 35-14 in January 2008.
Jim Trotter of SI.com writes how Russell Wilson went from ordinary to extraordinary this season for the Seahawks.
Sally Jenkins of the Washington Post writes about how Wilson and Redskins’ QB Robert Griffin III can change a game in a snap.
Oft-criticized owner Daniel Snyder has taken a hands-off approach with the Redskins, and it’s working, according to this story in the Washington Post.
The Post looks an an interesting matchup: Washington’s receivers vs. Seattle’s rangy defensive backs.
Redskins’ linebacker London Fletcher, one of the most underrated players in the NFL, has gained the respect of his teammates
Mike Sando of ESPN.com breaks the game down.
What They’re Saying …
Steve Raible, voice of the Seahawks and a former Seattle receiver, to ESPN 710 radio: “Somebody had to remind me in fact that we haven’t won a playoff game on the road — and I bite my tongue when I say this — in 29 years. But that, I think — I feel pretty strongly about it — that one’s gonna go out the window this weekend … I just think the Seahawks, given everything I’ve seen them do in the last half of this season, I believe they’re gonna win the football game.”
Mack Strong, the fullback on Seattle’s Super Bowl team, said this on KJR radio: “If they (Seahawks) don’t have a lot of turnovers, honestly, I don’t think this game will be close. I just think the way the Seahawks are playing, they’re just way too powerful, way too physical, playing at a much higher level, I feel like, than the Washington Redskins. Not to take anything away from them, they’re paying at home. But I just feel like you line their 53 up against our 53, I think we win by at least 10 points.”
KJR’s Dave ‘Softy’ Mahler, who also thinks the Seahawks are going to win: “I mean, some could argue that RGIII is a better quarterback than Russell Wilson. Some may argue that Alfred Morris is having a better year than Marshawn Lynch, but I’ll take the veteran come playoff time, OK? It’s not about being a better team than Washington. It’s about being a better team than them on Sunday. That’s all that matters.”