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Article:Playoff preview: Redskins @ Seahawks

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(The original post (with pictures!) at: http://www.sportcrack.net)

Well, here we are. The best time of the year: The NFL Playoffs. Over the next couple of days I will be previewing the AFC and NFC Wild Card games to get even more amped up. In typical Football Crack fashion, I will be previewing the games in a offense vs defense and vice versa, coaching matchups and when warranted, special teams. As well as anything else that comes to mind.

First up, the first game of the weekend: Redskins @ Seahawks.

The main storyline of this game obviously, is the Redskins inspired play in the wake of Sean Taylor's murder. Also, Todd Collins is 3-0 as the starting Skins QB.


When the Redskins Have the Ball

Redskins offense: I can't say I'm sold on Todd Collins yet. Although he was at the helm for key victories over the Giants and Vikings, I'm not counting the Cowboys game since they were disinterested and benching key starters. Not to mention, this is a playoff game. It's hard to say how he'll respond in such a pressure filled fourth start.

I am sold on Clinton Portis, however. He's been running better than ever in the wake of his friends death and this game will be no different. The Seahawks D let up an average of just over 100 yards rushing per game, so there's that. Santana Moss has stepped up his game recently and Collins should be looking for Chris Cooley frequently over the middle.

Seahawks defense: The Seahawks defense finished the 2007 season in the middle of the pack in many categories, which is what I think of them as a team, for the most part as well. There not facing a powerhouse of an offense by any means in the Redskins, however the game is in Seattle which by all accounts gives them some pretty good home field advantage.

At home this season, the Seahawks defense has let up a bit under 14 points per game (compared to 22 1/2 on the road). They've also only lost one game when playing in front of their home crowd.

Edge: Seahawks.


When the Seahawks Have the Ball

Seahawks offense: The good thing for the Seahawks offense is that Matt Hasselbeck is battle tested in the playoffs. The bad thing is that Shaun Alexander has apparently fallen off the map. Even so, they have the 9th ranked offense in the NFL and when it's on, it's on.

While I'm sure we'll see both Alexander and backup Maurice Morris, expect a pass heavy attack from the Seahawks.

Redskins defense: The Redskins defense, as per usual has been quite strong this year, especially considering it lost one of it's starting safeties during the season (R.I.P. Sean). It's hard to say but I think for a playoff caliber game, the defense might just play it's most inspired game since the untimely passing of their teammate.

I do think this will be the key to the game. Whoever wins the battle between the Seahawks offense and Redskins defense is going to be key for the overall game. It will be interesting to see how the home field advantage plays into this matchup. If the Redskins can force a turnover or two early, it will do wonders in keeping the home crowd out of the game.

Edge: Redskins.


Coaching

Coaching: I can't really give anyone a clear edge for this one. Joe Gibbs and Mike Holmgren are both fantastic coaches and both teams will be well prepared for the game. Greg Williams always puts out a quality defensive gameplan and so does Gil Haskell (offensively for the Hawks). All in all, I would say this is pretty even.

Edge: Even.

So there we have it, at the end of it all it's tied 1-1. Nate Burleson did return a kick for a TD, but that's it -- just one. I don't put too much stake special teams wise unless Devin Hester is involved so... I can't really say either team has much of an edge on special teams.

It's hard to look past the Seahawks home field advantage, since they always play a good game there. But if Todd Collins can manage the game and minimize his mistakes, and the defense can cause a turnover or two, they have a definite shot at winning this one. I'll take them in an upset.

Prediction: Redskins: 27 Seahawks: 20


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