Getty Images - Jeff Zelevansky
I'm not calling it a "must win" because the Redskins could lose this one and still make the playoffs. It's a fine difference, but I'm sticking with it.
When you've lost two in a row, when you are still separated from the pack but on the verge of sliding back into it, when you've scored two offensive touchdowns in three weeks, you have to get a win.
And when you're playing a team that's 2-8 you should get a win. There is nothing to indicate that the 2008 Seattle Seahawks are much better than their record indicates. Yes, there are a few close games among their eight losses, but they've also lost games by scores of 34-10, 44-6, and 26-7.
If the Redskins are going to get their offense going, this would be a good week to do so. The Seahawks are 28th in the league in total defense. Four quarterbacks have thrown for over 300 yards in wins over the Seahawks, including J. T. O'Sullivan.
This might be a good spot to predict a breakout game for Jason Campbell, but I'm done doing that. His progression in Jim Zorn's offense will proceed in baby steps and it may continue to stagnate unless and until an additional passing game weapon can be uncovered.
Another audition for the role of added weapon will come this week as Malcolm Kelly is expected to be active for this game. He seems to have put his knee problems behind him and he's spent plenty of time boning up on the offense. At 6-4, he might be able to get a few first downs by running to the middle of the field at the marker and just standing there. Seattle has no cornerback on its roster who is listed at over 6-0.
But that's just a possibility. And it would be great if Clinton Portis could tear off a buck and a quarter in less than three quarters of play against the league's 21st-ranked rushing defense and Campbell and Santana Moss and a host of other receivers could have big days against the second-worst pass defense in the NFL.
It would be great, but it's not something that the Redskins can rely on happening.
However, the one thing that the Redskins can depend on week in and week out is their defense. Don't look now but they are fourth in the entire league in total defense, giving up 276 yards per game. Yes, we'd like to see more pass rush pressure and it sure would have been nice to be able to tackle Marion Barber on Dallas' final six-minute drive to close out last Sunday's game. Despite that, that's a pretty darn good defense out there and they have managed to keep the Redskins in every game this season.
So, while I think that there is a chance that the offense could break out, I'm going to go with the defense to be the driving force in this one. Matt Hasselbeck will have time to throw but he won't be able to find an open receiver. Julius Jones will find precious little running room. The Redskins will move the ball between the 30's but the ability to punch it into the end zone will remain elusive. Shaun Suisham will be able to put the key miss in last year's playoff loss out of his mind and will bang some through the uprights.
And the Redskins will get the one they have to get.
Redskins 23, Seahawks 10
Rich Tandler blogs about the Skins at RealRedskins.com and he is the author of the upcoming book The Redskins Chronicle. You can reach Rich by email at firstname.lastname@example.org