Sunny, pleasant day in Washington, D.C., ahead of tonight's game between the Seahawks (2-1) and Redskins (1-3) at FedEx Field in Landover, Md. That's about nine miles east of the U.S. Capitol.
That iconic building is getting some freshening up done to it right now.
Seahawks strong safety Kam Chancellor is also getting refreshed -- by new, higher-top, mid-cut shoes. He says those have reduced if not eliminated the pain his ankle bone spurs that left him almost unable to walk, let alone run, the last time Seattle played on the road: the Sept. 14 loss at San Diego.
That is only the sixth loss in the Seahawks' last 32 games.
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Chancellor is that important to Seattle's defense. And he will be again tonight. Washington's best chance is to control field position and thus the game with Alfred Morris' rugged running inside; the Redskins don't want to solely rely on fill-in quarterback Kirk Cousins throwing against the strength of the Seahawks' defense, its secondary. That's especially true since Cousins, replacing injured Robert Griffin III, is coming off a 45-14 loss to the Giants in which he threw four interceptions and lost a fumble.
Chancellor playing down closer to the line of scrimmage is an important component to the one statistic besides turnover margin that the Seahawks pay attention to most: success on third down. Seattle is allowing foes to convert 49 percent of its third downs into first downs this season. Only terrible Oakland had allowed a better rate on third-down conversions entering this weekend, by one percentage point. Watch what No. 31 in white, Chancellor, does tonight on third downs. That will be a key to whether the Seahawks take care of business like they should tonight against a struggling, near-desperate Washington team.
I think they will, convincingly. Call it Seahawks 38, Redskins 14,
--Here is my game advance story that appears in today's News Tribune. It centers on this third-down issue, and Chancellor's fellow safety Earl Thomas, advising that the Redskins took the Giants likely in their last game -- something the home team definitely won't do tonight against the Super Bowl champions. Something about getting everyone's best shot.
--TNT columnist John McGrath writes in today's paper how tonight's quarterbacks were both overlooked behind the hype around RGIII entering the league -- and how Cousins was Seattle's Plan B at quarterback in the 2012 draft if another team had drafted Russell Wilson before the Seahawks did in the third round.
Of course, no one did. And since the Seahawks beat Redskins and Griffin got hurt in the NFC divisional playoff game at FedEx Field at the end of the 2012 season, Seattle is 18-5 with a Super Bowl title -- and Washington is 4-16.
--Terry Blount of espn.com is one of two other Seahawks beat writers here with me in D.C. He had to be at the stadium this morning for a stand-up on ESPN television -- lucky him(!) He writes how tonight is the beginning of 13 games in 12 weeks for Seattle to finish the regular season, thanks to the earliest possible bye in the NFL last week.