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Washington against Washington: Sunday will be Seahawks’ best test in a month

Washington Football Team v San Francisco 49ers Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images

Not sure if they planned this or what, but the Seattle Seahawks have had to slog through the NFC East at the worst time. Not, perhaps, in regards to the Philadelphia Eagles. But the New York Giants and Washington Football Team have achieved almost all their wins this season in the past month and a half, right before and during the Seahawks games.

What looked like four gimme wins in October is no longer the case. In fact, Washington looks like they just decided to be a good team and it’s working:

Riding a four-game win streak into this Sunday’s matchup, the defense stands out as the real thorn.

Washington Football Team has not allowed more than 20 points since Seattle lost to the Los Angeles Rams. They’ve held teams to 20 or fewer points in seven games this year.

The Seahawks? Only three - but it has been the last three games, so that’s nifty.

Washington is sixth in the NFL in points allowed. They are a top-ten team against the run and the pass in yards per game, one of only a couple teams so balanced. Football Outsiders has them as the fourth best NFL defense by DVOA this season.

The Seahawks, meanwhile, have clawed their way up to the 19th most effective defense. This is truly impressive, as people were calling for additional slots beyond the 32nd to be invented just for the defensive cluster that was the first two months of this season.

True to their name, Washington is getting it done Team-style, with none of their players among the top vote-getters for this year’s Pro Bowl. Their starting strong safety, Kamren Curl, is a seventh-round rookie.

The no-names beat the Pittsburgh Steelers in week 13, which included an awesome moment between coach Mike Tomlin and superstar Chase Young.

But the second-overall pick has shown exactly what the highest non-quarterback is supposed to do: blow stuff up.

He’s been insanely good in his rookie season. Yay for the upcoming team who faces him with some injury concerns at offensive tackle.

Part of the late-season success has been a gelling of the defensive front on almost the exact schedule as Seattle. This season, Washington switched from a 3-4 to a 4-3 defense. Early this year, the linemen were still making mistakes wherein half of them would default to the old scheme.

Now, with five first-round picks in the defensive front, they’re steamrolling. One of those includes Montez Sweat, whom many thought the Seahawks would target even at the 21st pick this year. They didn’t, and he fell to Washington at 26.

It’s the closest thing to the Rams defense that this team will face all year, which does not inspire a bundle of confidence.

Fortunately, Washington will be led by either Dwayne Haskins or recently-re-recovered Alex Smith. Points against Seattle are hard to get at the moment, and that will remain true on Sunday.

Brian Schottenheimer will need to continue the quick-pass play calls, which Carroll indicated are entirely a recent gameplan and not a Wilson adjustment.

It’s the style of the plays. It’s not Russell throwing the ball quicker. It’s what we’re asking him to do, there’s a lot more quick game involved and it calls for the ball to get out right now. But, Russ can do everything. So, it’s not a question, so we finally told him how to get the ball out. It’s not like that. It’s just play selection, style and stuff that really fit the game plan, and worked out great.

It’s hard to imagine Washington scoring more than 21 against the Seahawks this Sunday. The real mystery remains this team’s offense, and I for one am excited to see if the three weeks have been enough of a wakeup call. This is truly a playoff caliber defense to go against, and it would do the team well to put a complete game together against a better team than the Jets.