Two teams that won their divisions last year meet at FedExField tonight when the Seattle Seahawks visit the Washington Football Team.
Neither of these teams are headed to a division title this year, in fact both teams have a better chance of ending in the cellar in their NFC divisions. Of course, Washington winning the NFC East last year was accomplished while they had a losing 7-9 won/loss record. The Seahawks won the NFC West with an impressive 12-4 regular season campaign in 2020.
This year, the Seahawks come into action tonight 3-7 on the season and only part of that disappointing record can be attributed to the loss of quarterback Russell Wilson for three games with a finger injury. Seattle has also lost both games since his return and only tallied a combined 13 points in defeats against the Green Bay Packers and Arizona Cardinals.
The Redskins season began with the loss of their projected starting quarterback, Ryan Fitzpatrick, who shortly after setting a record for number of teams he started a game at quarterback for in the NFL, nine, was lost to an injury that has sidelined him since opening day. His replacement, Taylor Heinicke, is an undrafted player who was originally signed as a free agent by the Minnesota Vikings and has managed to stay on NFL rosters since 2015.
Heincke has been on the roster of five different NFL squads. After the Vikings, he caught on with the New England Patriots, Houston Texans, Carolina Panthers, and started the 2019 season with the St. Louis Battlehawks of the XFL before joining Ron Rivera’s team this year. The starting role fell into his lap after Fitzpatrick’s injury.
While on the surface one might expect Wilson of the Seahawks would have a huge edge over the undrafted veteran, in fact Heinicke has established a respectable quarterback rating of 91.4 this season while throwing 15 touchdowns and surrendering 9 interceptions.
The problem with his quarterback rating is that most of Heinicke’s success in between the 20 yard lines. His failure to more often crack the endzone is a major reason why Washington has struggled in 2021.
But, to back a Seahawks team on the road and giving the one point on the spread tonight is to back a Seattle squad that is having their worst campaign since Pete Carroll became head coach 12 years ago.
Both these teams are in rebuilding mode, and Washington could get good quick when a more proficient quarterback is plugged into a team that has a number of outstanding athletes on the defensive side of the ball. That group was weakened recently with the season ending injury to their best player, Chase Young. Still, Rivera is a solid coach and capable of rebuilding this team into a threat in seasons to come.
But not this year.
So, when the schedule makers made this the featured Monday Night Football game they were focused on a pair of 2020 division winners with hopes this would be a battle with serious playoff implications in the NFC.
In fact, it’s not.
Looking for an edge with either of these teams by current standards is a tough task, and one we will let go by without a recommended play on either side.