Week 12 of the NFL season concludes on Monday night when the Washington Football Team plays host to the Seattle Seahawks. Both teams are running out of chances to get back to .500 and make a serious playoff push, so this could be considered a must-win game for both teams. These two teams met last December in Washington with the Seahawks pulling out a 20-15 road win. This time around, Washington is a one-point favorite at home with an over/under of 46.5 points. CLICK HERE TO SEE LIVE ODDS!
After losing four straight games, Washington has now won back-to-back games, potentially getting back into the playoff race. Ron Rivera’s team is still only 4-6, but that’s not as far from a playoff spot as one might think. Washington’s late-season schedule is filled with intra-division games against NFC East rivals, which means games will be winnable but tough. That puts a little extra pressure on the WTF team to hold serve at home this week.
Quarterback Taylor Heinicke deserves a lot of the credit for Washington’s turnaround over the last two weeks. In those two games, Heinicke has completed nearly 78% of his passes with four touchdowns and no interceptions. He even managed to outplay Tom Brady a couple of weeks ago. However, pass protection does remain a concern with Heinicke taking 17 sacks over his last four games thanks to some injury issues with the offensive line. It’s also fair to question whether Heinicke and the WTF offense can continue to build off of the last two weeks because they’ve had several subpar performances this year.
Meanwhile, it’s tough to get a read on the Washington defense. There were high hopes heading into the season, only for the WTF defense to fall flat. But along with the offense, things have also picked up for the Washington defense over the last two weeks. Oddly enough, Washington just lost Chase Young to an injury, which will further hurt a pass rush that has underperformed this year. However, Washington has found a way to limit three straight opponents to 21 points or less, putting Heinicke and the offense in a position to win games.
Time is quickly running out for Russell Wilson and the Seahawks. Wilson returned from his hand injury two weeks ago but Seattle has lost both games since he’s been back and five of their last six games overall. They have fallen to 3-7 overall, putting them last in the NFC West. While there are some winnable games on the back half of Seattle’s schedule, this is a game the Seahawks have to win if they want to be a playoff contender.
Wilson’s return from injury hasn’t been enough to fix the problems with the Seattle offense. The running game is going nowhere and Wilson has been sacked seven times in his two games back, putting the blame primarily on the offensive line. That’s not necessarily a problem that the Seahawks can fix midseason. The only silver lining is that Wilson is still capable of creating big plays down the field with Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf. But he needs more support from his offensive line and running game.
Meanwhile, the Seattle defense is doing the best it can despite getting little support from the offense. Granted, the Seahawks lost to a team starting Colt McCoy at quarterback last week. But the Seahawks are only giving up 18.1 points per game over their last six games. No team should be 1-5 while giving up that few points over a six-game stretch. Even with a lack of sacks and takeaways, the Seattle defense is getting enough stops to put the Seahawks in a position to win games. It’s just a matter of how long that unit can maintain that same level of play with an offense that’s producing nothing.
As the spread suggests, this game could easily go either way. But while Seattle’s issues are well documented, it’s also fair to question whether Washington’s last two wins are sustainable or not. On paper, the Seahawks still have the better quarterback, the better wide receiver, and arguably the better defense. That could give the Seahawks enough of an edge to pull off a win on Monday night.
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