The Seahawks are hosting the Commanders at Lumen Field on Sunday afternoon in what should be a classic get-right game following their humiliating 34-point loss to the Ravens last week. For Seattle, beating Washington is never as easy as it should be on paper, though.
Here are six things to know heading into this week’s game.
Third down is killing the Seahawks offense
The most important thing to know about this Seahawks team is that they are getting absolutely killed by their ongoing failures on third down. Last week against Baltimore they only converted on one of 12 attempts, bringing their third down success rate for the season down to just 31.91%. Only the Browns and the Jets are doing worse on third down this season. Improving this stat will require a total team effort – but particularly they’ll need more clever playcalling from offensive coordinator Shane Waldron, better pass protection from the offensive line and more careful throwing from Geno Smith.
Sam Howell has potential, but is prone to picks
The most interesting player on Washington’s roster is their second-year quarterback Sam Howell out of North Carolina. He only got to start one game as a rookie but he’s shown a ton of potential in the first half of this season. Heading into Week 10 Howell has thrown for 2,471 yards and 14 touchdowns. However, like Geno Smith he has an interception problem – he’s currently leading the league with nine picks thrown.
Seattle's pass rush has improved a lot
The best way to get Howell off his game and making turnover-worthy throws is to get pressure on him. Good news on that front – Seattle’s pass rush has dramatically improved from last season. The biggest reason why is the development of second-year outside linebacker Boye Mafe. He has posted sacks in six consecutive games. As a team the Seahaks have 26 sacks so far, the eighth-most in the NFL this year.
The series history favors Washington
Even though the Seahawks have been better on paper than Washington for pretty much the entire Pete Carroll era they’ve had trouble beating this team. The all-time series history favors Washington, who have a 13-9 record against Seattle. They also won the most recent matchup between these teams back in November 2021 by a score of 17-15.
The current Commanders are struggling
While history may favor them, this current version of the Commanders is not doing so well. They managed to beat the pathetic Patriots by a field goal last week. However, before that they lost five of their previous six games – including losses against the awful Bears and the Giants.
Tre Brown could be the x-factor
These ugly Seattle/Washington games often come down to one or two plays, usually involving a turnover. If it happens again odds are that Seahawks cornerback Tre Brown will be involved. So far this season Brown has posted two interceptions and two forced fumbles – and these plays all seem to come in critical moments. Another game-changing turnover by Big Play Tre could be enough to swing this one in his team’s favor.