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Washington Vs. Seahawks Preview: The Defense's Biggest Test Yet

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Fresh off its road win over the San Francisco 49ers, the Washington Football Team (6-7) will return home to play the Seattle Seahawks (9-4) on Sunday afternoon. Here's everything you need to know ahead of the Week 15 matchup:

GAMEDAY INFORMATION:

Date: Dec. 20

Time 1 p.m.

Location: FedExField (Landover, Maryland)

WATCH: FOX

  • Kenny Albert (play-by-play)
  • Jonathan Vilma (analyst)
  • Shannon Spake (reporter)

LISTEN: The Team 980, ESPN 630 and WMAL 105.9

  • Julie Donaldson (host)
  • Bram Weinstein (play-by-play)
  • DeAngelo Hall (analyst)

A stream of the radio broadcast will also be available at WashingtonFootball.com and on select Washington Football Team social media platforms.

ALL-TIME SERIES

  • Washington leads the all-time series, 12-8.
  • Washington and Seattle have met three times in the playoffs with the Seahawks leading the series, 3-0.
  • Washington's first win over Seattle came by way of a 31-7 victory on Sept. 19, 1976.
  • Washington's most recent matchup with Seattle was on Nov. 5, 2017, when Washington squeaked out a 17-14 win.

COACHING STAFF

Washington:

  • Head coach Ron Rivera (1st season in Washington)
  • Offensive coordinator Scott Turner (1st)
  • Defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio (1st)
  • Special teams coordinator Nate Kaczor (2nd)

Seattle:

  • Head coach Pete Carroll (11th season in Seattle)
  • Offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer (3rd)
  • Defensive Coordinator Ken Norton Jr. (3rd)
  • Special teams coordinator Brian Schneider (11th)

BIGGEST STORYLINES

-- Stifling Russell Wilson: Washington's defense has been as dominant as any unit in the NFL during its four-game winning streak, but none of those opponents have had Seattle's offensive firepower.

Led by seven-time Pro Bowler Russell Wilson and second-year receiver DK Metcalf, the Seahawks are putting up 387.5 yards per game, the sixth-highest total in the league. And in Washington's three matchups with top 11 offenses this season -- the Arizona Cardinals, Cleveland Browns and Los Angeles Rams -- it has allowed 31.3 points per game and lost all three contests. However, all of those defeats came in Week 5 or earlier, so this will be a good measuring stick for how far the unit has come.

"It's about having a plan," head coach Ron Rivera said about facing mobile quarterbacks like Wilson. "Going back to Kyler Murray, the biggest thing we tried to emphasize was that you don't chase color. ...Don't run through the same gap, because now you don't have a guy here or a guy there; you have two guys in here, so that's the thing you have to be weary of with guys like this. If for whatever reason you're going through the same crease, you're just giving him an invitation to run opposite of where you guys are coming from, and that's the thing you have to be aware of."

-- 'Tis The Season: Rivera has long said that his teams perform better down the stretch, and the numbers back it up. With Washington beating the Pittsburgh Steelers and San Francisco 49ers the past two weeks, Rivera is now 27-15 as a head coach in December and January during the regular season.

If his late-season excellence continues Sunday, Washington will have its first five-game winning streak since 2012 and take one step closer to winning its first NFC East title since 2015.

"One of the reasons is early on, usually in your first year, it's about guys eventually learning and knowing what to do more so than anything else, and maturity," Rivera said of his teams playing better as the season progresses. "That's what we're seeing right now. We're seeing the maturation process that is going on and going on well. Again, this is a group of young guys that are playing. As I told you guys before, I counted one time 28 young guys that are contributing. I'm talking about first-, second- and third-year guys. When you get guys that are that young that are contributing, the future looks bright in my opinion."

-- DK Metcalf vs. Terry McLaurin: DK Metcalf and Terry McLaurin were the ninth and 12th wide receivers taken in the 2019 NFL Draft. In terms of production, they've been the best two of the best wideouts in the class.

Over the last 20 years, Metcalf and McLaurin are 10th and 18th in receiving yards during their first 29 games, according to Pro Football Reference. Both have already gone over 1,000 yards this season -- -- Metcalf ranks second in the NFL while McLaurin is 10th -- and are two of 20 players with at least 69 receptions.

Even though this is one of the biggest storylines, McLaurin and Metcalf will not actually be facing off against one another. McLaurin said Thursday that he respects Metcalf's work ethic and immediate success, but he's focused on what he can do to help Washington extend its winning streak.

"It's not me vs. him, it's Seattle vs. Washington, so I just try and keep that in perspective," McLaurin said. "It's not like I'm going out there trying to get more stats than he is or numbers or touchdowns or things like that. I'm sure he would say the same. You just want your team to have more points than your opponent at the end of the day."

The Washington Football team held practice at the Inova Sports Performance Center in Ashburn, Virginia, on Dec. 16, 2020. (Photos courtesy of Elijah Walter Griffin Sr./Washington Football Team and Emilee Fails/Washington Football Team)

INDIVIDUAL STATS LEADERS

Washington:

  • Passing Yards -- QB Alex Smith (1,420)
  • Passing TDs -- QBs Dwayne Haskins Jr., Alex Smith and Kyle Allen (4)
  • Rushing Yards -- RB Antonio Gibson (659)
  • Rushing TDs -- RB Antonio Gibson (11)
  • Receiving Yards -- WR Terry McLaurin (1,001)
  • Receiving TDs -- TE Logan Thomas (5)
  • Tackles -- LB Jon Bostic (96)
  • Sacks -- DE Montez Sweat (7.0)
  • Interceptions -- CB Kendall Fuller (4)

Seattle:

  • Passing Yards -- QB Russell Wilson (3,685)
  • Passing TDs -- QB Russell Wilson (36)
  • Rushing Yards -- RB Chris Carson (505)
  • Rushing TDs -- RB Chris Carson (5)
  • Receiving Yards -- WR DK Metcalf (1,180)
  • Receiving TDs -- WR DK Metcalf (10)
  • Tackles -- LB Bobby Wagner (113)
  • Sacks -- S Jamal Adams (8.5)
  • Interceptions -- S Quandre Diggs (4)

TEAM STATS LEADERS

Washington:

  • Total offense -- 30th (314.5 YPG)
  • Scoring offense -- 24th (22.1 PPG)
  • Passing offense -- 26th (213.3 YPG)
  • Sacks allowed -- T-27th (40)
  • Rushing offense -- 24th (101.2 YPG)
  • Third-down offense -- 30th (36.5%)
  • Total defense -- 4th (313.5 YPG)
  • Scoring defense -- 6th (21.2 PPG)
  • Passing defense -- 3rd (206.3 YPG)
  • Sacks -- T-4th (40.0)
  • Rushing defense -- 9th (107.2 YPG)
  • Third-down defense -- 6th ( 37.1%)
  • Time of possession -- 18th (30:05)
  • Turnover differential -- T-21st (-2)

Seattle:

  • Total offense -- 6th (387.5 YPG)
  • Scoring offense -- 3rd (30.2 PPG)
  • Passing offense -- 7th (266.5 YPG)
  • Sacks allowed -- T-29th (41)
  • Rushing offense -- 11th (121.1 YPG)
  • Third-down offense -- 23rd (39.9%)
  • Total defense -- 27th (390.3 YPG)
  • Scoring defense -- 13th (24.0 PPG)
  • Passing defense -- 32nd (294.8 YPG)
  • Sacks -- T-7th (36)
  • Rushing defense -- 4th (95.5 YPG)
  • Third-down defense -- 27th (46.5%)
  • Time of possession -- 17th (30:14)
  • Turnover differential -- T-15th (+1)

Expecting Some Big Plays From Washington? You can have a little extra on the line this Sunday! Make your pledge to donate to our Washington Football Charitable Foundation when there are positive plays throughout the game. Make your pledge, HERE.

INJURY REPORT:

Check out the injury report for Washington's game against the Seahawks, HERE.

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