First of all, Happy New Year to everyone out there. I enjoyed some college bowl games on silent at my in-laws house, while my father-in-law jammed out in the garage with his friends. Great food, family, and friends is always a great recipe for a good night. I hope all of yours was as good as mine.
Now about that little game we have on Sunday afternoon. Along with the music, drinking, and football on television, there was the unescapable fact that the Redskins were in the playoffs. You could see it in everyones face last night. It was about to be 2013, and this is a new era for our football team. Sunday night, in awe of the running performance, our defense, and the pure dominance of the Redskins fans in the stands in our own stadium, I texted my cousin "This is truly amazing." And it really is. Something magical has happened to this team, and being the way I am, I couldn't stop myself from letting everyone at my in-laws house know about it last night. I was a fountain of optimism all night, and there are legitimate reasons we all should be a little optimistic going into our 4:30 match-up against the Seahawks.
Now we all know that statistics all need to be taken with a grain of salt. Its the playoffs, right? I mean it's a whole new ballgame, a new season, a new year for that matter. But just because we shouldn't praise thats like they are the law, everything should be considered. Luckily, not everything i will write here will be based on statistics, in fact, my three favorite points (which i will share first) are unmeasurable in their importance for us. Without further rambling, here they are:
1. We have home field advantage. This probably would have meant nothing as early as last year, but this new era that came with Robert Griffin III, has come an actual advantage in our home stadium. I will mention how much more important this is against the Seahawks in a little bit.
2. Our field SUCKS. It seems like every game, by the end of the first quarter, the center of the field is completely torn apart. Steinberg said it best in his 'best and worst' piece about the game on Sunday night, "...that field has looked as pristine as a sixth-month old’s bib after eating squashed peas with chocolate sauce." How is this an advantage, you say? Well Seatlle seems to have done the 'smart' thing and installed a field at home that doesn't melt when it rains on it. And since ours is so bad, and we play on it 8 times a year, we are used to the bad footing, mud, hard to kick off of, field.
3. Seattle has to travel from the west coast to the east coast. Historically, this is a bad thing for a traveling team. Usually this to me is a bigger factor, but it is a 4:30 game, in the play-offs, against a team that will probably get here on Wednesday or sometime ridiculously early, so it's not a huge advantage. BUT i still felt it was worth mentioning.
4. The Seahawks road record is 3-5, and have only lost on the road. The teams they lost to were the 49ers, Rams, Cardinals, Dolphins, and the lions. their combined records were 34-44-2, which isn't that hot. In fact, the 49ers were the only team out of those 5 that had a winning record. All those games were close though; Seattle hasn't lost by more than 6 points. This is why my #1 was that we were at home, thank you football gods.
5. We don't have to worry about game-planning against Seattle as much as, say, ANY other team in the league (sans the 49ers) because we run the read-option/pistol offense regularly with our starting QB. I always loved seeing mid week reports about our opponents, and what they were doing to 'game plan for RG3'. They would usually use a non quarterback player, who was quick and could kind-of throw the ball, to game plan for us. Well, the NFL is doing the same thing against the Seahawks and the 49ers. We are, realistically, the only 3 teams who have an easier time game planning against each other. And I know that all three teams have their own wrinkles to the offense, but at least we have similar matching personell to practice with. Sidenote: It really is 'college crap' isn't it Rob Ryan? I mean, only half the NFC teams in the play-offs are running it regularly.
6. I knew our winning streak was really good, but I didn't know it was only second to the broncos eleven game winning streak with Peyton Manning at the helm. Wow, that should not be understated. Of course, Seattles is the 3rd best winning streak at five in a row.
7. The Redskins finished high in a lot of great categories.
1st in rushing yard per game (Seattle 3rd),
1st in lowest amount of giveaways (Seattle Tied-4th)
2nd in turnover differential (Seattle Tied-4th)
4th in Points per game (Seattle 9th)
5th in offensive total yards per game (Seattle 17th)
Also, i had a Seahawks fan say to me 'what's so great about RG3 anyway, i mean his numbers are pretty pedestrian compared to what Russell Wilson is doing.' I pretty much ignored how dumb this statement was and looked it up out of respect. I mean, the dude that said it was my Cousin (in-law). Russell Wilson and RG3s stats seem to stack up almost identically with a few things standing out.
Robert Griffin III
PASS AVG: 8.14
RUSH AVG: 6.8
RUSH TD: 7
PASS AVG: 7.93
RUSH AVG: 5.2
RUSH TD: 4
In conclusion, we really have a shot at winning this game. Seattle is pretty comparable in the stats category, and they are statistically better in the defensive category, but like i said at the beginning, stats should be taken with a grain of salt. The Redskins and the Seahawks are two of the hottest teams in the NFL right now, and it should be a great game. I am looking forward to it, and I know all of you are as well. Happy New Year, and enjoy the bowl games today!