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Seattle Seahawks vs. Washington Football Team: Storylines, prediction in a crucial NFC showdown

The Seattle Seahawks and Washington Football Team need a win to keep their playoff hopes alive in Week 12, but who wins in our prediction?

A weekend of prime-grade matchups closes with a select cut dug out of the bottom of the freezer. ESPN surely would have preferred flexing out of the 3-7 Seattle Seahawks visiting the 4-6 Washington Football Team. But there are plenty of reasons to watch Monday night, beginning with this: neither team is totally out of the playoff race. In fact, WFT entered Week 12 just a game out of the seventh seed. So, who do we take in this Seahawks vs. Washington prediction?

Seattle Seahawks vs. Washington Football Team storylines

After meeting just nine times in the first 25 years of this series’ history, Washington and Seattle will face off for the 13th time since 2001 on Sunday. WFT leads the all-time series 12-9, but the Seahawks won both playoff games between the teams.

WFT goes for three straight

Washington looked done after dropping four in a row — by a combined 50 points — to close out October. But WFT regrouped during its bye and climbed back into the NFL playoff race with shock wins over the Buccaneers and the Panthers in the last two weeks.

The key to success? Ball control. Washington has rushed for 284 yards on 74 attempts the last two weeks, and Taylor Heinicke has thrown 4 touchdowns and no interceptions during this mini streak. On the year, Washington ranks 12th in time of possession (30:49), while the Seahawks are dead last (24:42).

“What I’m talking about is putting ourselves in position,” said WFT coach Ron Rivera. “We take it one at a time. Each time we get an opportunity to put ourselves in better position to when we can get to December, we can get to that time in December where you sit there and say, ‘Hey, now’s our opportunity.’ I know talking to you guys, I talk about it because I know the players will hear it.”

Rivera continued, “But if we can put ourselves in position to get to December, where we have five divisional games left, who knows? Nobody will know. We have to take care of our business. First and foremost, we got to take them one at a time.”

What’s up with Russell Wilson?

There’s a reason Pete Carroll looked so beaten down and bereft of answers last Sunday after the Seahawks lost for the fifth time in six games — failure is so foreign to this group. Russell Wilson has won two-thirds of his starts in the NFL, and playoff appearances have felt like a birthright for Seattle fans this century.

Wilson hasn’t been the main reason for the ‘Hawks slide — most of the blame belongs to a 31st-ranked defense that allows more than 100 yards per game than its offense gains — but he hasn’t done enough to pick them up either. Wilson is 23rd in QBR (45.7) and 24th in EPA + CPOE (0.07). “Forget the past, stay focused on the present,” Wilson told reporters this week. “Stay focused on what we’re doing right now.”

Put some respect on Terry McLaurin’s name

The Seahawks’ shaky defense got a little shakier when rookie cornerback Tre Brown suffered a torn patellar tendon last week. Seattle’s secondary has given up the third-most passing yards and has the third-worst interception rate in football.

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All of this is a long way of saying that Terry McLaurin looks poised for a massive game Sunday. He’s put up some monster numbers in his young career — 2,772 receiving yards and 16 touchdowns in 39 games –, and he’s done that catching passes from the likes of Heinicke, Alex Smith, Dwayne Haskins, and Case Keenum. Get that man a quarterback, Riverboat Ron.

Seahawks vs. WFT betting line and game prediction

Pick ’em! A true toss-up game in the eyes of the betting public, but it’s only after the line moved 3.5 points in Washington’s favor throughout the course of the week. Even without Chase Young (lost for the year with a torn ACL), Washington is the better team. But our sense is Wilson and Carroll aren’t going to go quietly. Seattle gets back on track in a close one.

Prediction: Seahawks 31, Washington 28

Adam Beasley is the National NFL Analyst and Insider for Pro Football Network. You can read all of Adam’s work here and give him a follow on Twitter @AdamHBeasley.

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