Three keys to a WFT victory over the Seahawks on Monday night

By Gibson Hirt

After winning consecutive games for the first time all season last week against Carolina, Washington will look to keep the streak alive in a primetime matchup against the floundering Seattle Seahawks. The now 3–7 Seahawks are coming off a 23–13 loss to the Cardinals in which they were outmatched in every aspect, as their offense looked anemic and their defense struggled against an offense without Kyler Murray and DeAndre Hopkins. The Seahawks are in a tailspin, and Washington is quickly rising up the NFC standings, making Monday night a big game for the WFT.

Here are three keys for Washington to win their third consecutive game on Monday:

Pressure Russell Wilson

After suffering a finger injury during Week 5 against the Rams, Russell Wilson underwent surgery, but was miraculously able to return just a month later after reportedly rehabbing for 19 hours a day. Since returning from injury, however, it looks like rehabbing 25 hours a day wouldn’t have made a difference, as Wilson has played subpar football for a couple of weeks now. In the two games he’s played since coming back, Wilson has thrown for a combined 370 yards, no scores and two interceptions to go along with QBRs of 11.8 and 22.5. Although Wilson said his finger felt fine after Seattle’s shutout loss to Green Bay, his performances have said otherwise. For the Washington defense to have a late Thanksgiving feast on Monday night, they need to get constant pressure on Wilson. Wilson has been sacked at least twice in every game he’s played this season, including four in Week 12 against Arizona. His current average of getting sacked 2.85 times per game would be the fourth highest of his career, which has been laden with sacks every year he’s played. Seattle’s offensive line was ranked 23rd by PFF through ten weeks of play, and struggled tremendously last week against the Cardinals. Even with all of the injuries Washington has on the d-line, they are still more than capable of taking over the game. They’ve strung together two quality performances in a row, and against a Seahawks offense that cannot seem to find their groove, a shutdown outing in prime time is certainly a possibility. 

Win the possession time battle

Averaging just over 30 minutes per game, Washington ranks right in the middle of the pack in possession time. However, over the past two weeks, only the Ravens have had the ball more than the WFT. Unsurprisingly, Washington has come out victorious in both of these contests. It’s clear that more possession time directly correlates to winning opportunities. All this means for Washington is that they need to continue to play how they have been on offense lately. Taylor Heinicke needs to continue to take care of the ball and make smart decisions on first and second down. Antonio Gibson will have to keep up his stellar play against a respectable Seahawks run defense, but after performing well against two top defenses, Gibson can absolutely make it three straight. While it’ll be hard to replicate their dominant, game-clinching drive from two weeks ago, as long as Washington has a positive possession time margin, they will be in prime position for success.

Spread the ball around

It’s no secret that Terry McLaurin is one of the best receivers in the NFL, and that he carries the Washington receiving core on a weekly basis. What most people don’t realize is that Heinicke has several other reliable options he can look for in the passing game. Cam Sims has been injured for a majority of the season, but showed off his talents last week on a beautiful touchdown catch off a magnificent throw from Heinicke. While Deandre Carter leads all special teams players in Pro Bowl voting, he has also been a big part of the offense. With a touchdown in three straight contests, Carter has become a red zone favorite of Heinicke. Logan Thomas is set to return from IR soon, and if Thomas is able to get back on the field, Heinicke will immediately have another safety blanket in his hands. Curtis Samuel has an outside shot of suiting up this week, and if he is able to play, he will provide the dual-threat option Washington spent a solid amount of money on in the offseason. With the way Heinicke and the receiving core are playing right now, Heinicke has a bevy of pass-catching options that should all get touches against a struggling Seattle secondary on Monday night. 

After two straight impressive victories, Washington finds themself with loads of confidence looking for their third straight win. A primetime Monday Night Football clash with the Seahawks has a chance to make the NFC East interesting again. Washington has everything they need to come out victorious in their first Monday night contest in a whole year.