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Redskins await Seahawks in playoff opener
The two hottest teams in the NFC, led by two record-setting rookie quarterbacks, are on a collision course in next weekend’s opening round of the NFL playoffs.
With their 28-18 victory over the Cowboys on Sunday night, the Redskins won the NFC East and will host the Seahawks in a Wild Card game next Sunday, January 6 at FedExField in Landover, Md. Kickoff is set for 1:30 p.m. PT on Fox.
The Seahawks ran their record to 11-5 earlier in the day with a 20-13 victory over the Rams at CenturyLink Field. The Seahawks won their final five regular-season games, and seven of their last eight. The Redskins, meanwhile, have won their past seven games to finish 10-6 and win their first division title since 1999.
“That’s when you want to be playing your best: in December and January. This is a dangerous team,” former NFL coach Steve Mariucci said of the Redskins on the NFL Network pregame show.
The same could be said – and probably should be said – about the Seahawks.
Then there are the quarterbacks who will lead their respective teams into the postseason for the first time.
The Seahawks’ Russell Wilson threw his 26th touchdown pass on Sunday, tying the NFL rookie record that was set by Peyton Manning in 1998. Wilson also became the first rookie QB to lead his team to an unbeaten record at home (8-0).
Robert Griffin III finished with the highest passer rating of any rookie QB in league history (102.4), and had 20 touchdown passes and only five interceptions. Wilson’s rating was 100.0, so each bettered the rookie record of 98.1 set by the Steelers’ Ben Roethlisberger in 2004.
Each team also features a productive running back – the Seahawks’ Marshawn Lynch, who finished with 1,590 yards and 11 rushing TDs; and the Redskins’ Alfred Morris, who led all rookie backs with 1,613 yards and 13 rushing touchdowns.
This game also will be a rematch of sorts, as the Seahawks beat the Redskins in the 2005 and 2006 playoffs – with both games played in Seattle. But Pete Carroll was still at USC and Redskins’ coach Mike Shanahan was still with the Broncos when those games were played.
In the locker room after Sunday’s game, the Seahawks, to a player, said they did not care whether they played the Redskins or the Cowboys – who they beat in Seattle in Week 2 this season.
“Either way, it’s going to be a great matchup,” Carroll said. “It really doesn’t matter to us.”