The vibe in the district couldn’t be any brighter following the Washington Redskins’ 28-18 victory over the Dallas Cowboys, which completed their season sweep over their archrivals and clinched the NFC East division and the Skins’ first trip to the NFC playoffs since the 2007 season.
Washington became the first team to recover from a 3-6 record to start the season and finish 10-6 and atop of their division since the Jacksonville Jaguars did back in 1996. Now Washington savior Robert Griffin III will try to become one of the few rookie quarterbacks in NFL history to win a playoff game.
To do so, he’ll have to get by the Seattle Seahawks, who have their own outstanding rookie at quarterback in Russell Wilson. Seattle also has a very aggressive defense with budding stars like cornerback Richard Sherman and linebacker Bruce Irvin. With both teams playing well heading into January, this should be a clash of epic proportions. But who will claim the victory—RGIII and the ‘Skins or Russell Wilson and the Seahawks’ stingy defense? The AFRO Sports Desk journalists debate the questions.
Riley: Give me Seattle for this one. Their offense has been unstoppable throughout the last quarter of the season, as they’ve scored nearly 200 points combined in the last four games. I frankly don’t believe the ‘Skins defense can stop Russell Wilson and this offensive unit. Washington’s secondary has been prone to give up big plays all season and Wilson will take advantage. And once Seattle takes the lead with their explosive passing game, they will thereafter control the game clock with their heavy pounder at running back, Marshawn Lynch.
Green: If anybody is going to control the clock, I’m sure it will be RGIII and the Skins’ top-ranked rushing offense. In the shadows of RGIII’s amazing rookie season, Redskins rookie running back Alfred Morris has quietly made his case for Rookie of the Year. That kid is so big and strong, it’s a nightmare trying to tackle him. There’s reason he just broke the Redskins’ franchise single-season rushing record with 1,613 yards: he can’t be contained at FedEx field and that’s why Washington will win this game. If we were in Seattle, with the notorious “12th Man” crowd out West, I’d be with you in taking the Seahawks. But I don’t see Seattle stopping the Skins’ rushing offense at home.
Riley: The Seahawks defense is beyond legit, so why can’t you see them stopping Washington? They move fast and hit hard and they’re a vicious, nasty group of players that love to get physical, so I’m sure they’ll invite Washington to try to play the physical run game with them. Griffin is clearly nursing his sprained knee and doesn’t have the same explosive speed and agility that he had earlier in the season. Even if he did, he still hasn’t played as well as Wilson this season. Wilson has passed for more than 3,000 yards and 26 touchdowns with only 10 interceptions. In his last four games, he has thrown for seven touchdowns and has an average passer rating of 125.5—and that’s just passing the ball. Like RGIII, Russell can also run the ball very fast, only he’s not wearing a knee brace like Griffin. Expect a fully healthy Russell to outgun the banged up RGIII and help his team advance to the second round of the playoffs.
Green: Even with a knee brace, Griffin can still move plenty fast enough, just ask Dallas. RGIII has poise beyond his years and he knows how important this playoff game is for Redskins Nation, so I expect him to rise to the occasion, as he’s done all season. As I mentioned before, he has the home field and the 100,000 screaming ‘Skins fans to his advantage. As long as he can hand the ball off to Morris, make a couple of clutch passes and get another outstanding effort from the ‘Skins defensive unit, he should be able to deliver Redskins fans a late Christmas present.