While the Washington Football Team controls their own destiny in the NFC East race, they have another tough opponent today in the Seattle Seahawks. A big change today is the team goes back to Dwayne Haskins as their starting quarterback with Alex Smith out with a calf injury. Washington brings their 6-7 record into this game which was good enough for sole possession of first place in the NFC East.
Opportunity is knocking for Haskins who had dropped off of the active roster at one point this season as he found himself behind both Kyle Allen and Smith on the depth charts. When Allen suffered an ankle injury six weeks ago, Haskins moved to the backup to Smith. Head coach Ron Rivera could have gone back to Haskins but chose the veteran Smith as his starting quarterback for five weeks. Smith had led Washington to four straight wins including a big upset of the formerly undefeated Pittsburgh Steelers.
For Washington, Haskins, as a starter, is 1-3 this year with his only win in the season opener against Philadelphia. The first round pick from 2019 is 3-8 as a starter in his career. But never has first place been on the line for Haskins as a starter.
The injury bug really hit Washington as mentioned, Smith (calf, did not participate) and is out today, LB Kevin Pierre-Lewis (ankle, did not participate) is out, LB Cole Holcomb (concussion, did not participate) is also out, and Deshazor Everett was put on the IR and lost for the season. In addition, rookie runner, Antonio Gibson, suffered a turf toe injury two weeks ago and is listed as doubtful and not expected to play.
What all of these injuries mean is Washington will be light in their linebacking depth, and they will once again have to rely on both veteran Peyton Barber and versatile back J.D. McKissic to handle the running back assignments. In addition, the backup quarterback for today is Steven Montez who was activated off of the practice squad as well as Taylor Heinicke. Yes, the team looks like they will carry three quarterbacks today.
For Haskins, his main target today will be his former Ohio State teammate and Washington wide receiver Terry McLaurin who could be his key to winning this game. While he is regularly double-teamed, Haskins must get him the ball. McLaurin has three touchdowns this season on 73 receptions for 1,001 yards.
The other key today is putting Chase Young in spots to wreak havoc like he did last week. Last Sunday in the first half, he recorded one sack, forced a fumble, deflected a pass and returned a fumble 47 yards for a touchdown. The top rookie defender has 5 1/2 sacks this season, but it is his ability to take on double teams that can free up his teammates to take advantage of one-on-ones. While Young was the number two draft pick overall, his teammate, seventh-round pick Kamren Curl, is making plays from his safety position.
Former D.C. sports anchor, Holden Kushner of Run Pure Sports and Run Pure Bets is picking Seattle in a close one at 23-20 over Washington. On the Vegas line, Seattle is favored by 6 1/2 points on the William Hill Sportsbook:
- Seattle vs. Washington spread: Seattle -6.5
- Seattle vs. Washington over-under: 44 points
- Seattle vs. Washington money line: Seahawks -290, Washington +245
This game is televised on FOX at FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland at 1:00 pm ET.