Keim's GameView: Redskins vs. Seahawks

This might be the Redskins' biggest, and most telling, game all season.

Big game: Why? This will show if the Dallas game was a two-play fluke or the start of something. And if Joe Gibbs still has that golden touch when it comes to preparation. Give him an extra week in the past and he'd be hard to beat. Is it still the same way? Did another week with the first unit help Mark Brunell mesh with the receivers? Certainly, the season isn't over if the Redskins lose. But a fun season could be underway if they win.

Then again: it's an equally important game for Seattle for the same reason. The Seahawks started 3-0 last season only to finish 9-7. They've long been considered a weak team mentally, not able to overcome adversity. That helps explain their poor trips to the East Coast. But if they can win, they'll prove that maybe this year is different.

Ouch: Corner Walt Harris (calf) is now listed as doubtful after not practicing again today, meaning rookie Carlos Rogers will get his first start. I like Rogers -- a lot. Certainly Seattle will test him, but he looked good this summer and Gregg Williams said Rogers has done the best job of any rookie he's had of learning his system. That's high praise. The real test will be if Ade Jimoh is the nickel corner. Has he really improved? Also, kicker John Hall appears unlikely to kick, but that's not a surprise.

Questions about: Seattle's defense. The Seahawks' line appears to be quick, but I'm not convinced this unit, which was bad last season, is that much better. They do seem to be better rushing the passer and the Redskins haven't protected quarterbacks well. But we'll see.

Be careful about: The Seahawks' offense. They make big plays and receiver Darrell Jackson is solid. Not to mention running back Shaun Alexander. Jackson has surpassed 1,100 yards each of the past two seasons and is on pace for another strong year. Alexander has run harder this year than in the past, or at least more physical. And he loves running behind the left side of the line, where tackle Walter Jones and guard Steve Hutchinson reside. Alexander scored four touchdowns running behind this side last week. Get ready, Phillip Daniels. They're coming at you. Fortunately for Washington, Daniels plays the run well.

Strategy: The Seahawks like to use lots of three-receiver sets, testing the Redskins' depth at corner with Walt Harris out. Defensively, they will blitz though not all the time. It'll be interesting to see how they play Santana Moss. In New York, Moss said he only needed to make a few long catches to open up things underneath. If that's the case, look for more 15-20 yard gains. But the Redskins' line needs to protect better this week. What helps is that Seattle has good ends with Bryce Fisher and Grant Wistrom, but they'll be facing Jon Jansen and Chris Samuels, respectively. I'll take the Redskins in that matchup. I'm curious to see how middle linebacker Lemar Marshall plays. At times he takes bad angles on outside runs and those could be costly against a guy like Alexander.

Prediction: This is a tough one to pick. I'm not sold on the Redskins being a 3-0 team, but not sure why they can't win, either. The home field, plus the momentum from the Dallas game -- even if it's two weeks old -- will help. Watch Clinton Portis break a long one or two and the Redskins win, 17-13.


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