Can Seattle take advantage of an injury-saddled Washington team?
2017 record: 3-4, third in NFC East.
Coach: Jay Gruden (24-30-1 in four seasons with Washington and overall).
Series record: Seattle hasn’t had a ton of success in the regular season against Washington through the years with just a 5-11 record, including six straight losses from 2001-11. However, Seattle won the last regular season meeting on a Monday night in Washington in 2014, 27-17. And Seattle is 3-0 all-time against Washington in the playoffs.
Early line: Seahawks by 7 points.
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QB Kirk Cousins: The fifth-year signal-caller out of Michigan State can’t really be blamed for Washington’s struggles, ranking third this week in passer rating at 103.3 with 13 touchdowns and four interceptions (one when Washington was in desperation mode that was returned for a touchdown in the final seconds of Sunday’s loss to Dallas) and with an average of 8.02 yards per attempt that is fourth in the NFL. The only uncertainty about Cousins is his future as he has just a one-year contract with Washington amidst all kinds of rumors about where he’ll be next year.
WR Jamison Crowder: A fourth-round pick out of Duke in 2015, Crowder had been having a relatively quiet season until Sunday when he led Washington with nine receptions for 123 yards — he came into the game with just 19 receptions for 149 yards in Washington’s first six games. As the Seahawks do with Tyler Lockett, who was taken just ahead of Crowder in that same draft, Washington also at times tries to get Crowder involved in the running game and he had two carries for six yards against Dallas.
RB Rob Kelley: A second-year player out of Tulane, Kelley has been Washington’s starting running back all season when healthy (he battled rib injuries earlier in the season.) But behind a patchwork offensive line he has put up underwhelming numbers lately with just 19 yards on eight carries against Dallas and 166 on 44 for the season with a long of just 21.
LB Zach Brown: A sixth-year vet out of North Carolina, Brown — who lines up at middle linebacker — made his first Pro Bowl last season while with Buffalo when he made 149 tackles and may be on his way to another such appearance this season as he leads the NFL with 75 tackles, 25 in the past two games, 18 of which were solo.
The Seahawks appear to be picking a good time to play Washington, which has been ravaged by injuries of late and which have contributed greatly to the team losing three of its last four after a 2-1 start that included a dominating win over the Raiders. Washington ended its 33-19 loss to Dallas Sunday playing with an offensive line that as the team’s official website said “consisted of two rookies and two players signed during the week.’’ Among those out of action against Dallas was perennial standout veteran left tackle Trent Williams who is nursing a knee injury and is said to be considering having season-ending surgery, but who as of Monday may also try to give it a shot and play against Seattle this week. Washington also announced Monday that the team will likely be without defensive lineman Matt Ioannidis, tight end Jordan Reed and tight end Niles Paul against Seattle as well as the issues on the offensive line. Washington has been pretty battle-tested already, losing games at Kansas City and Philadelphia and winning in Los Angeles against the Rams. And Washington’s run defense has generally been pretty stout — Washington held four of its first five opponents under 100 yards before allowing a season-high 169 to Dallas and star tailback Ezekiel Elliott (who had 150) on Sunday. Given Seattle’s struggles to run it against anyone right now that looms as the biggest concern for the Seahawks. Washington’s pass defense has also been good at times, holding the Raiders to 96 yards in a 27-10 week three win. Given the state of Washington’s offensive line the team will have to count on its defense to hold down the Seahawks to have much of a chance Sunday, it would appear.
By the numbers
19 — Snaps played Sunday by Terrelle Pryor, a one-time Seahawks quarterback now playing receiver for Washington.
0 — Catches made Sunday by Pryor in what has so far been a tough season after he signed a one-year, $6 million contract with the team after having 1,007 receiving yards last season with the Browns (he has 18 catches for 223 yards in 2017).