Now a mere 48 hours from kickoff, I still can’t get a clear read on this game. That usually means one thing; it’s a pretty even matchup.
In games against evenly matched teams, two things become magnified:
1) Special Teams
And it’s not uncommon for one to combine with the other. The Seahawks fumbled three punts in the last playoff matchup with the Redskins and still won the game. I doubt they can afford the same kind of mistakes this time around.
The good news is that I believe we have an advantage in both of these areas, especially at home. ESPN seems to agree with me. For those without an Insider account, they rank the Hawks special teams unit as fourth best in the playoffs and the Skins as #8.
Antawn Randle-El has a history of electric punt returns, but the team has only averaged 7.5 yards per return this season.
The Redskins are the better coverage team on both punts and kicks, however.
We should all be aware by now that the Hawks are having a strong season in the turnover department with a +10, compared to the Skins at -5.
In a game where many other factors may cancel themselves out, these two could be what decides the game.