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Skins/Seahawks Scouting Report


Spoke to a high-ranking personnel official from an NFC club this week who does advance scout work. He has studied both the Seahwaks and Redskins this season and we went over this gamer in detail. He referenced his notes on both teams and pointed out what he thought would be the keys to the game. My gut still tells me the Skins find a way to pull this thing out and force a superclassico at Dallas, but maybe I'm getting too wrapped up in the emotion of it all (I'm a sucker for that triumph of the human spirit stuff.

Anywho, that's just me. I now turn the blog over to the scout. This is him talking from here on out:

SEATTLE OFFENSE vs. SKINS DEFENSE

If I'm Seattle, the game I'm looking at first is New England (Patriots moved the ball at will in a 52-7 win in October). They've been a spread offense since (RB Shaun) Alexander got hurt. Now, (Seattle Coach Mike ) Holmgren can be pretty hardheaded, and he might get caught up in some ego (stuff). (Skins D Coordinator Greg) Blache used to work with him and Washington is stuffing the run and Mike might want to run it no matter what and try to prove a point.

If he goes into tight formations and tries to run the ball, God bless them. Blache and (assistant head coach - defense, Gregg) Williams will eat that up. But I'm guessing (Holmgren) puts the game in (QB Matt) Hasselbeck's hands. Use the pass to set up the run. He'll let him count the box and if the numbers allow it run it. The Redskins are using (safety LaRon Landry) to dive around a lot and give different looks, and they might try to throw off Hasselbeck's reads that way. They got (Giants QB Eli) Manning with that. That's the chess match there.

Washington's been playing Cover-1, a lot of man (coverage). I'll be interested to see if they can hold up under this challenge, because Seattle is from the same tree as Philadelphia and New England and Green Bay. Holmgren's going to watch those games closely and those teams moved the ball on Washington. Seattle's tight ends are nothing special but they make it happen in the slot. (WRs Bobby) Engram and (Deion) Branch do their work on the inside. I wouldn't worry so much about Branch. And (WR Nate) Burleson is the guy who will try to stretch you.

They'll move the pocket around and use Hasselbeck's feet and beat you with timing with the three-step drop. I think batted balls could be a big deal. (Skins DE Phillip) Daniels can get his hands on the ball and I'm cueing my defensive line on that. I want them getting up on the ball. Williams will mix in some zone (blitzing), and I think (Seattle) was resting Alexander some down the stretch, because they had the division wrapped up. There were some flashes there and I wonder how much they'll lean on him.

OVERVIEW/PREDICTION

I like Washington's special teams. They've got very good special teams talent. Seattle might have an edge in the punt return game, but that's the only part of their teams I really like. Both teams are pretty solid and well coached in all three areas. I think Blache and (offensive line coach Joe) Bugel are the MVPs of Washington's staff. They both did a helluva job this year.

It might be the best game of the weekend, and turnovers will settle it, flat out. The turnover ratio wins the game. That's a very tough place to play, and I think this game can go either way, but if you're making pick - you're making me pick? - (pause) I'll take Seattle. They're not superb in any area but they're pretty good across the board. They've won more games than anyone else in the NFC the last three seasons, and they know how to win. They've been very consistent. They deserve to be the third seed.

Don't get me wrong, they're very beatable, but if you're making me pick I'll take Seattle in a close game.

I think this could be Washington's best test. If they find a way to way to win this game, I love them in Dallas. They don't have any fear about going down there. You take this win streak into the playoffs, that's a dangerous football team. If they win on the road (in Seattle), they might be playing for a long while.

By Jason La Canfora  |  January 4, 2008; 7:23 AM ET
 
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