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Inside the Numbers - Redskins @ Seahawks

November 1, 2017
The (3-4) Washington Redskins try to do something that most think is nearly impossible this Sunday when they travel to Seattle to take on the (5-2) Seahawks at Century Link Field. Kickoff is set for 4:05 ET.

The Redskins have lost two in a row, three-out-of-four and it could easily be four in a row, if not for a nail-biting win over the winless San Francisco 49ers a few weeks back.

The Seahawks are still good, but they are far from the dominant force that they once were. They survived and won in the final minute against Houston last week, at home, 41-38.

Before the Seahawks became a league-wide juggernaut for a few years and BEFORE they had Russell Wilson, the Redskins won a game in Seattle, their last visit, which came on Thanksgiving weekend in 2011.

Let’s get to our weekly “Inside the Numbers” feature, which will make you a lot smarter than you already are.

1 –Still a Chance??

Per NFL Communications, 16 teams have winning records in the NFL through eight weeks and entering week nine. The Seahawks are one of those teams and of course, the Redskins are not. The league wants parity and it gets exactly that. A 32-team league with 16 teams having winning records and 16 having losing records.

The Redskins are a game below .500 and once again, per NFL Communications, they still more than have a chance. Since 2000, 44 teams that were at .500 or below at the midway point of their season (guaranteed for the Redskins) advanced to the playoffs. There’s been at least one team each season since that time and last year, a whopping FOUR of 12 NFL playoff teams were .500 or below at their midway point. Those teams were Detroit, Green Bay, Miami and Pittsburgh, all at (4-4).

In 2015, the Redskins started at (3-5) before winning the NFC East. The same was true in 2012 and actually the Redskins dropped one more game, before a season-ending seven-game win streak. So they are TWO of the 44 teams since 2000 that have made it. 

II – Go West Young Man (Men)!

The Redskins are (0-3) against the NFC East this year, including dropping two straight division games last week. This year against the NFC West, they are (2-) with wins at the Los Angeles Rams and the 49ers a couple of weeks ago. The last time they won three games in a season over NFC West opponents? The same year they beat Seattle in, 2011.

III – Kirk’s # 1

Many Redskins fans think he’s much closer to # 32 than he is to the top spot, among NFL quarterbacks, but according to this chart and interesting set of metrics, Kirk Cousins is in the best situation and position to succeed among any starter.

USA Today’s devised a ranking system based on “Pass blocking” by using efficiency ratings, “Plays made” which measures how quarterbacks work with their receivers, “Chains” which analyzes how often a quarterback ahead of the chains and out of bad situations, “Scheme” which is a formula devised from the NFL’s “Next Gen Stats” division and finally they give a “Total” which is an average of the four categories, or what they call a “QB Situation Grade.”

It’s a complicated ranking system with a league adjusted average component and as they explain, you want to be above a grade of 100.

QB Rankings 2017 As you can see in the above picture graph, the Redskins rank as the ninth-best pass blocking unit per PFF/USA Today, sixth in plays made by the quarterback and receiver crew, the top score in the “scheme” ranking and # 13 in the “chains” category.

The Redskins as a total average grade are the top “situation” for a quarterback to succeed and are just a hair above the Pittsburgh Steelers and Green Bay Packers.

Cousins is also slotted into the “Tier 3” category of NFL quarterbacks at # 10 overall, one spot ahead of Matt Ryan who is ahead of Derek Carr, Eli Manning, Cam Newton, Jared Goff and Carson Palmer.

Don’t kill the messenger. Just passing this unique rankings system along. 

IV. QB vs QB

Russell Wilson was almost a Redskins quarterback, if he would have still been on the board when the Redskins turn in the fourth round came around in the 2012 NFL Draft. Instead the Redskins chose Kirk Cousins.

Wilson has won a Super Bowl and been to another while Cousins has yet to win a playoff game, but Wilson’s team and organization around him have been much, much better.

A couple of Wilson superlatives and then a little comparison to Cousins: 

In wins this year, Wilson is completing 66.5% of his passes for an average of 8.12 per attempt, with 11 touchdowns and four interceptions.

His career completion percentage is 64.6% and 7.96 per attempt, so he’s up on his career numbers in wins.

Last week, Wilson threw for 452 yards and an 11.02 average per attempt with four touchdowns and a pick.

Wilson is averaging 286.8 yards per game and is on pace to throw for 2,581 more yards this year and is on pace to throw for 4,589 yards, a career high.

That’s still not what Cousins did last year when he threw for 4,917 yards.

As we wrote last week, both Cousins and Wilson rank among career leaders in several key career categories.

Chris Russell has covered the Washington Redskins for eight seasons for multiple media outlets and was a part of the Redskins Radio Network broadcast team for five years. He covers the Redskins, Washington Valor and Baltimore Brigade for Monumental Sports Network (  Listen to Chris on Washington D.C.'s # 1 sports radio station, 106.7 The FAN