Seattle Seahawks at Washington Redskins (3, 46)
The Washington Redskins mortgaged their future last year to trade up and take Robert Griffin III with the No. 2 overall draft pick. Despite the hype, few could have anticipated that Griffin would provide such an immediate dividend. The Redskins closed the season with seven consecutive wins to claim the NFC East title and secure their first playoff berth since 2007. Yet, when Washington takes the field to host the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday afternoon in the wild-card round, there is debate in some circles as to whether Griffin will even be the best rookie quarterback on the field.
Unheralded third-round selection Russell Wilson has played brilliantly in piloting the Seahawks to five straight wins to set up the second postseason matchup in league history - and the second in as many years - featuring rookie starting QBs. As befitting his draft status, Griffin received more hype due to his all-around skills, but Wilson closed with a rush and threw more touchdown passes (26 to 20) than his counterpart. One stat which illustrates the success of both players: Griffin and Wilson finished third and fourth in passer rating at 102.4 and 100.0, respectively,
TV: 4:30 p.m.ET, FOX.
LINE: Seahawks -3, O/U 46
CONSENSUS: Over 51 percent of Covers Consensus players like Seattle to cover and 51 percent are on the under.
WEATHER: Forecasts are calling for temperatures in the low-40s with partly cloudy skies. Winds will be light out of the SSW.
ABOUT THE SEAHAWKS (11-5): Seattle closed the season with a 20-13 victory over St. Louis, but it was a dominating three-game stretch prior to that victory that opened eyes coast-to-coast. The Seahawks annihilated San Francisco, Buffalo and Arizona by a combined 150-30, becoming the first team in 62 years to amass that many points in a three-game stretch. Wilson threw 16 touchdown passes and only two interceptions over the final eight games and running back Marshawn Lynch churned out ten 100-yard games - including four straight to close the season - to finish third in the league with 1,590 yards. Seattle was equally impressive on the other side of the ball, surrendering a league-low 15.3 points per game. The Seahawks will get a boost in the secondary when starting CB Brandon Browner returns from a four-game suspension for violating the league's drug policy.
ABOUT THE REDSKINS (10-6): Griffin set a rookie record with 815 rushing yards but is still dealing with a sprained knee ligament that caused him to sit out a game and limited his mobility in season-ending wins over Philadelphia and Dallas. He threw for only 100 yards against the Cowboys, although he still managed to run for 63 yards and a score. Like Wilson, Griffin has a hard-charging running back to lean on in fellow rookie Alfred Morris, a sixth-round pick out of Florida Atlantic. Morris finished second in the league with 1,613 yards and capped off the regular season by running over the Cowboys for 200 yards and three touchdowns. Washington's defense is vulnerable against the pass (281.9 yards), ranking 30th in the league, but was fifth against the run (95.8). It has steadily improved in the second half, allowing an average of eight fewer points over the final eight games.
* Seahawks are 6-0 ATS in their last six vs. a team with a winning record.
* Redskins are 7-0 ATS in their last seven games overall.
* Over is 4-0 in Seahawks’ last four road games.
* Over is 4-0 in the last four meetings in Washington.
1. The Seahawks defeated the Redskins in the playoffs in 2005 and 2007, but they have lost eight straight postseason games on the road.
2. Washington rallied from a 10-point, fourth-quarter deficit to win in Seattle 23-17 in November 2011.
3. Wilson was named the league's rookie of the month for December. Griffin claimed the monthly honor in September and November.