Friday Beer Run: Washington at Seattle

Cold, Hard Football Facts for Jan 03, 2008

We break down each match-up this week with the additional vigor of keg-pressing Bavarian strong man, using our Quality Stats to determine who really has those little advantages that help win football games in January and February. And keep in mind that our Quality Wins Quotient alone is better than Vegas itself at identifying postseason winners.
Also see:
SATURDAY, 4:30 p.m. EST
Overall Record
-4.7 PPG
-3.3 PPG
+3.8 (10)
+3.9 (9)
15.75 YPPA (13)
17.69 YPPA (2)
15.97 YPPS (19)
14.21 YPPS (12)
16.0 (16)
21.0 (23t)
12.33 (9t)
9.0 (4)
6.25 (15)
6.33 (13)
77.1 (10)
73.0 (2)
-4 (18t)
0 (12t)
16.8 (19)
15.8 (16)
Vs. Quality Opponents
Neither of these teams was particularly exceptional during the regular season. Seattle went 10-6 and just 1-2 vs. Quality Opponents, the fewest meetings agianst Quality Teams of any playoff team. Washington is well-balanced, but excels in no one area and went 9-7 overall and 2-5 against Quality Opponents. Both teams were outscored by Quality Opponents, which always equals a short run in the postseason. Washington had a lower winning percentage against winning clubs (.285 to .333), and was outscored by a wider margin (-4.7 PPG) than Seattle (-3.3 PPG). But, based on the evidence at hand, it's hard to see Seattle performing any better than Washington if their schedule included four more games against Quality Teams.
Advantage: none
Seattle's Relativity Index rank of No. 9 (3.9 points better than the average of their opponents) leaves them about 5 PPG behind the NFC frontrunners in Dallas and Green Bay. And Washington is right behind Seattle at +3.8 on the Relativity scale, meaning that these two teams were statistical equals in the regular season when the differences in their schedule are factored into the equation.
And while Seattle boasts the better defensive numbers, they were only +2.2 PPG better than their opponents average (the Seahawks allowed 18.2 PPG against teams that scored 20.4 PPG). Washington's defense, on the other hand, was +4.1 points better than their opponents' average (19.4 points allowed, opponents scored 23.5 a game). That's pretty remarkable considering the Redskins surrendered 52 points in a single game against New England.
Advantage: none
Washington's offense vs. Seattle's defense:
Regardless of their weak schedule and lackluster Relativity numbers, the Seattle defense was incredibly good in all three defensive Quality Stats, ranking No. 4 or better in each. That's tough.
Washington's No. 15 ranking in Passing Yards Per Attempt doesn't look great against Seattle's No. 2 mark in Defensive Passer Rating, which tells us that Todd Collins' Cinderella run should end vs. Seattle. The Seahawks also have the edge in the trenches, with their No. 4 Defensive Hogs vs. Washington's No. 16 Offensive Hogs.
And the Redskins were slightly below average in the Scoreability field, needing 15.97 Yards Per Point Scored (19th) – no match for Seattle's No. 2 most Bendable defense (17.69 Yards Per Point Allowed).
Advantage: Big edge to Seattle
Seattle's offense vs. Washington's defense: 
Matt Hasselbeck and the Seattle offense match up evenly in Scoreability/Bendability and Passing YPA/Defensive Passer Rating vs. the Washington defense. But the Redskins do have an edge on the defensive line, where they'll send the No. 9 Defensive Hogs against Seattle's struggling Offensive Hogs (23rd, worst of any playoff team).
Advantage: Slight edge to Washington
Special teams
These shouldn't be a big factor, as both teams were mediocre (as you may have noticed, quality of Special Teams play little factor in a team's postseason hopes). Seattle has a slight edge on the Special Teams Index (16th to 19th), but are significantly better in punt returns and the kicking game.
Advantage: Slight edge to Seattle
Big Plays
This is another close one. Washington ranked 27th in Big Plays (37), nine fewer than No. 13 Seattle (46), so the Redskins are not known for highlight film material. But the Redskins also allowed fewer Big Plays than Seattle (41 to 46), leaving them a net -4 to Seattle's perfect plus-minus of 0.
Advantage: None.
Significant injuries: 
Special-teams tackles leader Niko Koutouvides is out, not good news against Washington's No. 9 kick return unit. WR Deion Branch is also less than 100 percent. 
Washington had more than its share of injuries (and tragedy), but has been intact over the past month while putting together its four-game win streak.
Advantage: Edge to Washington.
According to the Weather Channel, there's a 90-percent chance of rain for this one, with temps in the mid-40s. In Seattle, who would have figured?
What does a monkey think? 
Our beloved Bonzo the Idiot Monkey was a prognosticating genius this regular season, using his patented coin-flip method to beat the experts from CBS and finish at 146-109 overall.
Bonzo's coin likes ... Washington (+3½).
We hate to go against our own monkey, but Seattle is the pick here. Defenses should rule the day, and Seattle's should be better against a so-so Washington offense. The Seahawks are at home, the have an experienced and proven postseason quarterback and, even on a neutral field, they're just a slightly better team.
The final score: Seattle 21, Washington 16

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