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Seahawks vs. Commanders game preview: Jekyll-and-Hyde on both sides

The Seattle Seahawks play a team from Maryland for the second week in a row, but this one is at Lumen Field.  Can the 12s help spur the team to a “commanding” victory?

NFL - Seattle Seahawks at Washington Football Team Photo by Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post via Getty Images

If we were looking at this matchup between the Seattle Seahawks and Washington Commanders prior to the NFL trade deadline, things would’ve been a whole lot different. What was a stout and stalwart Commanders defensive line is now missing two of their most capable and talented soldiers. Gone are both Montez Sweat and Chase Young to the Chicago Bears and San Francisco 49ers, respectively (damn you, John Lynch). At the time they were dealt, the duo had combined for 11.5 of Washington’s 25 sacks.

While that production will be hard to replace, the Commanders still have some excellent defensive lineman on the inside including Jonathan Allen and Daron Payne. You wouldn’t know that by looking at their defensive rankings, however as Washington is 27th and 20th in defensive passing yards allowed and defensive rushing yards allowed per game, respectively. It’s even worse when you look at scoring since the Commanders are ranked 30th in points allowed at 27.2 points per game.

What about the new-look offense under coordinator Eric Bieniemy? It’s a bit of a mixed bag. They rank 26th in rushing yards per game but are 9th in passing yards per game. Is that a case of playing from behind in many games? Maybe, but Commanders QB Sam Howell has 14 passing TDs so far and is on pace for over 4,600 passing yards. He had a truly awful 4 INT game against Buffalo which contributed nearly half of his season total of 9 INT. It seems like Washington’s offense is hitting their stride with 904 yards of total offense in the prior two games.

The Commanders went into Foxborough last week and escaped with a 20-17 victory over the New England Patriots. They’re also just two weeks removed from pushing the Philadelphia Eagles to the limit in a nail-biting 38-31 loss after forcing them to overtime in their Week 4 matchup. Then again, this is also the team that lost 40-20 to the Chicago Bears and 14-7 to the New York Giants so it’s anyone’s guess which team will actually show up.

Speaking of teams showing up, the Seattle Seahawks had a bye last week, right? Or did the team plane never leave Seattle and those guys we saw running around in jerseys against the Baltimore Ravens were just imposters? I sure hope so, because that 37-3 loss was ugly. So ugly, in fact, that it almost seems like an outlier. We’ve heard all week about the last time they lost this bad – a 42-7 home shellacking courtesy of the Los Angeles Rams in 2017 – but what happened the following week? Seattle went on the road to Dallas for a Christmas Eve matchup of 8-6 teams and beat the Cowboys 21-12 with a very memorable moment.

Let’s get some more that that this weekend.

Looking back at this matchup throughout the years, the Seahawks have been on the losing end more often than not with the Commanders holding a 13-9 all-time series lead. Seattle has fared better recently, winning 3 of the last 5 games dating back to 2013. The last time these teams played was on Monday Night Football in late November 2021 when Washington was known as the “Football Team”. Ron Rivera was still the coach and Taylor Heinicke led the Football Team to a 17-15 win where the Seahawks scored a TD with 15 seconds left, but the two-point conversion failed. No bueno. To raise the spirits a bit, Seattle is a pretty solid favorite on Draftkings Sportsbook even after last week’s debacle in Baltimore.

I hope this is the last time we even have to mention that awful showing against the Ravens. This game against the Commanders feels like a pivot point for the season. Washington isn’t a great football team, so Seattle has the chance for a “get right” game to build confidence and put the train back on the tracks. And if the Seahawks continue to struggle? It’s hard to see where they can stack up many wins until the end of the season.

Let’s finish with a positive thought here that the Seahawks will come out and terrorize the Commanders on both sides of the ball with Washington wondering “Howell we win this game?”