No. 5 Seahawks at No. 4 Redskins -- NFC wild-card round
Where: FedEx Field, Landover, Md. (grass, outdoors)
When: Sunday, 4:30 p.m. ET (Fox)
Spread: Seahawks by 3
Forecast: Mid-40s at kickoff, down to mid-30s after sunset, 10-percent chance of rain.
Records: Seahawks (11-5; 3-3 NFC West); Redskins (10-6; 5-1 NFC East)
Past results: Two most recent meetings -- Nov. 27, 2011: Rams 23, Seahawks 17; Nov. 23, 2008: Redskins 20, Seahawks 17 Series record: Redskins lead 11-6; Seahawks lead 2-0 in postseason.
What matters: Winning a road playoff game. The Seahawks have experienced some serious regular-season road woes over the past three years, going 9-23 since 2009. But that doesn't compare to their postseason road troubles. Seattle hasn't won a road playoff game since 1983 and its 1-8 postseason road record is the third worst in NFL history among teams that have played at least five road games. There is a silver lining though: The Seahawks' one playoff road win in franchise history came against a rookie quarterback -- Dan Marino -- and the team plays a rookie QB in Washington's Robert Griffin III on Sunday.
Who matters: QB Russell Wilson. Wilson has been almost unstoppable lately in leading the Seahawks to five straight wins. In that span, Wilson has thrown nine touchdown passes to only two interceptions. Even more impressive, Wilson has a 17-to-2 TD-to-INT ratio over the Seahawks' past eight games and they've gone 7-1 in that span. Nothing derails a road team in the playoffs faster than a big turnover or big mistake by the quarterback. If Wilson can continue to operate as efficiently as he has since November, the Seahawks could be on their way to their first road in almost 30 years.
Key matchups: Redskins QB Griffin vs. the Seahawks' defense. No one can argue that RG3 has had a phenomenal rookie year, but it's worth noting that the highest ranked defense Washington beat this year was Philadelphia's, which ranked 15th in the NFL. Griffin and the Redskins went 0-3 vs. top-10 defenses, losing to Cincinnati, Pittsburgh and Carolina. The Seahawks will bring in a defense that's ranked fourth in the league and is as athletic as the Redskins have seen. Washington's bread-and-butter in 2012 has been the zone read option, but don't expect the Seahawks defense to be fazed because they're familiar with it. Seattle's offense runs it, too. Bottom line: don't be surprised if Griffin -- who's still hobbled after suffering a strained LCL on Dec. 9 -- struggles against a Seahawks defense that will be 100 percent healthy.
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Injuries of note: Coach Pete Carroll summed up Seattle's health in eight words after practice Friday, "We're about as healthy as we can get." The Seahawks expect to have everyone available for Sunday, including starting CB Brandon Browner, who will be returning from a four-game suspension.
Inside stuff: How rare is it for two rookie quarterbacks to face off in the playoffs? Before 2011, it had not happened in NFL history. Sunday's game will mark only the second time that two rookie quarterbacks have started the same game. The first was in last year's playoffs when Houston's T.J. Yates led the Texans to a 31-10 win over Andy Dalton's Bengals.
Stat you should know: Historically, the Seahawks have struggled on the road in the playoffs, but they haven't struggled against the Redskins. Seattle has knocked Washington out of the playoffs in the Redskins' last two playoff appearances. In 2007, the Seahawks beat Washington 35-14 in the wild-card round. Seattle also beat the Redskins in the 2005 wild-card round en route to the team's Super Bowl appearance.
Record watch: Wilson and Griffin might be rookies, but they're efficient rookies. Both ended the regular season with a QB rating of more than 100.0, the first two rookies in NFL history to do so. Griffin's 102.4 rating is an NFL rookie record, and Wilson's 100.0 rating is second on the rookie list. Both topped Ben Roethlisberger's previous mark of 98.1 set in 2004.
Looking ahead: If the Seahawks beat the Redskins, Seattle will be looking at a divisional-round game against either the Falcons or the 49ers. If Green Bay beats Minnesota on Saturday, then a Seahawks win would send Seattle to Atlanta on Jan. 13. If the Vikings win on Saturday, then a Seattle win over the Redskins would send the Hawks to San Francisco on Jan. 12.
Prediction: Seahawks 31, Redskins 21