Here comes another trip back East for the Seahawks, for another 10 a.m. kickoff, and another matchup against a first-place team from the NFC East.

Two weeks ago, the Seahawks were stunned at home by the New York Giants. Now they get set to travel to Washington, D.C., to play the Washington Football Team on Sunday.

Three things to know about the WFT this week:

A sub-.500 first-place team

Much like the Giants, the WFT has a struggling offense backed by a stout defense. Like the Giants were two weeks ago, WFT is a sub-.500 team in first place atop the NFC East. And like the Giants, the WFT comes into the week surging, having won four in a row to improve to 6-7.

“We’re trying to talk about where we’re headed, not where we’ve been,” first-year WFT coach Ron Rivera said, via The Washington Post. “We’re relevant in the conversation, and we have to maintain and be humble.”

The WFT started the season 1-5 under Rivera, who underwent seven weeks of cancer treatment, concluding in late October.

Washington produced perhaps the upset of the NFL season in Week 13, going to Pittsburgh on a Monday night and handing the Steelers their first loss, 23-17.


The WFT followed that with a 23-15 victory over the 49ers on Sunday in Arizona. Washington won despite not scoring a touchdown on offense; its defense scored two defensive touchdowns and had another take-away that led to a field goal.

QB carousel

Quarterback Alex Smith, who made a miraculous comeback from a gruesome 2018 leg injury, left Sunday’s game in the first half because of calf tightness.

Smith was replaced by Dwayne Haskins, a 2019 first-round draft pick who won the starting job at the start of the season but was demoted to third string in October. His replacement then, Kyle Allen, broke an ankle in early November, and that’s when the WFT turned to Smith.

On Sunday Haskins was 7 of 12 for 51 yards against the 49ers.

It’s not clear who will start at QB against the Seahawks.

The WFT was also without rookie running back Antonio Gibson (659 yards, 11 TDs) against the 49ers because of a turf-toe injury. His availability this week is unknown.

Former Seahawks running back J.D. McKissic led the WFT with 68 yards on 11 carries against the 49ers.


“To control our destiny, we’re leading the way right now and that feels great,” McKissic told reporters. “This team is fighting hard. We believed when no one else believed.”

Dominant defense ‘not satisfied’

Washington’s defense ranks fourth in yards allowed (313.5), sixth in points allowed (21.2) and fourth in DVOA (Defense-adjusted Value Over Average).

The defense features perhaps the most talented defensive line in the league — Chase Young, Montez Sweat, Jonathan Allen, Daron Payne were all first-round picks.

Young, the No. 2 overall pick last April, had a 47-yard fumble return for a touchdown late in the first half Sunday, giving the WFT the lead for good against the 49ers.

Rookie safety Kam Curl intercepted a Nick Mullens pass and returned it 76 yards for a touchdown in the third quarter.

Young finished with two passes defensed, a sack, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery and a fumble returned for a TD, making him the only rookie in NFL history to do all that in the same game.

“We’re not done yet,” Young told reporters. “I like to think, ‘What would Kobe (Bryant) do?’ He wouldn’t be smiling. He’d put his head down and keep working until he achieved what he wanted to achieve. … That’s the vibe of the team right now. We’re not satisfied.”