The Washington Football Team will be facing the Seattle Seahawks in a Week 12 battle as it looks to get closer to .500. Here are three keys to the game, presented by Van Metre.
1. Keep Russell Wilson in the pocket.
Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson has played Washington four times in his career, and there's a theme with each matchup: he finds a way to rack up yards on the ground.
Over the course of those four games, Wilson has rushed for 318 yards on 35 carries, which averages out to about nine yards per attempt. What is more frustrating is that Wilson also manages to break off large runs. The most-recent example of that came last season, when Wilson had a 38-yard scramble that was part of a 10-play, 97-yard touchdown drive.
Each time a Washington Football Team player returns a kickoff for a touchdown during a home game, one lucky winner will win up to $200,000 toward the purchase of a Van Metre home.
Washington has had mixed to negative results when going against mobile quarterbacks this season. Daniel Jones rushed for 95 yards, which would have been more had a holding call not brought back a touchdown. Josh Allen didn't rush for nearly as many yards, but he did evade pressures long enough to complete passes.
However, it did contain Cam Newton enough that he didn't completely take over the game last week. Even if Washington can at least partially contain Wilson, it will provide tremendous support.
2. Keep the ground game going.
Washington seems to have something with its running game since the bye week.
During its two-game win streak, Washington has averaged 142 yards per game. Not only is that a definitive high for Washington through 10 games, but it's also helped the team put together one of the most effective ground attacks over the past month. Its 132-yard average over the past three games is seventh in the league. The 190 rushing yards it hung on the Carolina Panthers was the third-best performance in Week 11.
Washington can credit much of that success to Antonio Gibson, who has accounted for more than half of the team's ground production. While he hasn't delivered many long runs, he has excelled in short yardage situations, particularly in the end zone. All five of his rushing touchdowns have come within five yards or fewer or the end zone. He has displayed a knack for pushing piles and scrounging for yards after contact.
Defending the run is one of Seattle's stronger traits, but it still gives up an average of 122.2 yards. It should allow a chance for Gibson and the duo of J.D. McKissic and Jaret Patterson to find plenty of rushing lanes.
3. Win on third downs.
Converting third downs was a weakness for Washington in the first half of the season. It has now become one of the team's more redeeming qualities.
Over the past three games, Washington is seventh in the league with a 47.8% conversion rate. During its win streak, it has converted 53% of its third downs. Those came against two of the top defenses in the Panthers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
For all Seattle's faults on defense, it does find a way to get opponents off the field on third downs. It ranks ninth in the league, with offense converting on just 37.3% of such plays.
Countering that will revolve around Washington relying on its playmakers like Terry McLaurin, who has 34 catches resulting in first downs, to keep the chains moving. Slot receiver Adam Humphries has also proven himself as a reliable option in these situations with two third down catches against the Buccaneers and Panthers that led to eventual touchdowns.
And if other weapons like Curtis Samuel and Logan Thomas, who returned to practice on Wednesday, can get back on the field, Washington will have even more players for Seattle to account for.
Each time a Washington Football Team player returns a kickoff for a touchdown during a home game, one lucky winner will win up to $200,000 toward the purchase of a Van Metre home. The prize amount increases each home game until a kickoff is returned for a Touchdown, so be sure to follow along each week. Enter HERE for your chance to win!