With just a few weeks left of the NFL season, much of the playoff picture has already been decided, especially at the top of the divisional picture. Two of the divisions yet to be decided however, will be on display in one of this weekend’s matchups as the NFC East-leading Washington Football Team host the Seattle Seahawks, who are currently tied for first in the NFC West (1pm ET Today, Sunday; TV: Live on Fox) .
Can Dwayne Haskins Keep the Momentum Going in DC?
If this had been a few weeks ago, it would have felt almost hard to believe that in week 14 of the season, WFT would be leading the NFC East and all-around favorites to win the NFL’s only division without a .500 or better team. Could that all change today as a win puts Washington at 7-7? This NFL game preview and Seattle Seahawks vs Washington predictions aims to answer this, along with contributing some concluding betting picks.
For people who followed the NFC East this season, the fact that one of their teams may finish at or above .500 is pretty impressive as the East was and in many ways continues to be on pace for historic lows. Among those lows, Washington has emerged as a respectable team over the last few weeks, largely thanks to Alex Smith’s leadership at the quarterback position.
The Football Team opened their season with a win over the Philadelphia Eagles but then proceeded to lose seven of their next eight. Staked to a 2-7 record after the first nine weeks of the season, many had counted Washington out. Even in a division that saw its best team with just four wins after week nine, there wasn’t much reason to hope for Washington. Then something pretty special happened. After losing back-to-back games against the New York Giants and Detroit Lions, Smith led Washington to four straight wins, including the most improbable of the season, against the then-undefeated Pittsburgh Steelers. Washington enters this game against Seattle looking for another improbable and unlikely win, only this time they’ll do so without Smith.
In the midst of his comeback season, one that will undoubtedly win him the Comeback Player of the Year award, Smith got injured last week against the San Francisco 49ers. While he is not expected to miss much time, the calf injury is serious enough that Washington has opted to start Dwayne Haskins at QB instead. Haskins actually opened the year as the starter before being replaced in week four by Kyle Allen, whose own season-ending injury led to Smith taking over the reins as the starter. The team opted not to go back to Haskins after Allen’s injury but now, he is the last option for a Washington team that still has a lead and a strong chance of making the playoffs. Much will depend on how Haskins is able to perform this week and beyond, should Smith need to miss any additional time.
At one point, Haskins was the guy WFT hoped to build their franchise around but the second year quarterback has struggled to really find his place as the signal caller in that time. Washington hasn’t given up on Haskins but as this year has shown, he’s certainly fallen out of favor for Allen and the veteran Smith. If Haskins can perform well and put in his best start not just of the year but perhaps of his entire career, he may be able to turn his fate around in DC.
Can the Seahawks Defense Hold Up Another Week?
There is no denying it. Seattle’s defense has been bad this year. In fact, they have the worst passing defense in all of the NFL and yet, thanks to the team’s offense led by Russell Wilson and DK Metcalf, the Seahawks have still managed to win nine games. They’d likely have even more wins though, if not for that shaky secondary. There really isn’t one element in particular or one thing to point to as to why Seattle’s defense has struggled so mightily. In fact, it’s a lot of little things that have compounded into one big issue. The Seahawks are one of the best teams in the NFL offensively and if their defense can hold up, it certainly bodes well for Seattle’s playoff aspirations. A win today will allow the Seahawks to lock up a postseason spot, guaranteeing them at worst a wildcard finish. However, Seattle wants more and currently, their record is tied with the LA Rams for top in the division. The Rams hold the tiebreaker as of this week but the teams will meet again on December 27th in what very well could decide who wins the NFC West.
The Seahawks defense has seemed to improve over the last few weeks but there could also be a bit of fool’s gold there as Seattle’s last three opponents have all been sub-.500 teams and among them, the winless 0-13 New York Jets. The Seahawks gave up 37 total points to those three teams, who have just nine combined wins on the year. So that is definitely something to consider. Washington’s offense doesn’t exactly light the league on fire but the team did manage to find just enough under Smith to pull off some big wins. Under Haskins however, WFT is a very different team offensively so the Seahawks’ defense does seem to have another lay-up on their hands.
Seattle Seahawks @ WFT Predictions & Picks Verdict for Today’s NFL Game Preview
It’s easy to say the Seahawks are favorites in this one but the last time Washington was in an underdog position they shocked the entire league by defeating the Steelers. That’s not to say lightning will strike twice here but the Seahawks would be wise not to underestimate the Football Team. Washington has some strong players and their defense has been among the best in the league the last few weeks. Wilson is no doubt a threat to that defense but if you subtract the Jets’ game where he threw for four touchdowns, the veteran QB only had four total touchdowns in his four games prior.
While USAbetting thinks Washington will be competitive enough to make the bet on a Seattle cover less valuable, it is our pick that the Seahawks will win straight up on the moneyline. However, we will stick to the spread and advise these two wagers as betting picks and the conclusion of our Seahawks vs WFT predictions:
- Bet Washington +6.5pts @ best odds of -105 with Bovada or Intertops.
- Go under 43.5 total points for the game @ -110 with Bovada, Bookmaker or Intertops.
Marilee writes on NFL, MLB & tennis for USA Betting. Another area of her sporting journalistic expertise is pro wrestling. A native of Philadelphia and a big Eagles fan, she has been a sports writer for many major websites including Bleacher Report and Rant Sports. She started her journalistic career early, as sports editor for her college newspaper.