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Countdown to kickoff

Greetings from a rainy CenturyLink Field, where the Seahawks will not only play the Washington Redskins today – with kickoff and coverage on Fox (channel 13 in Seattle) scheduled for 1:05 – but also the Philadelphia Eagles on Thursday night and then the St. Louis Rams on “Monday Night Football” on Dec. 12.

Doh. There we go; looking at what can be for the Seahawks as they begin their first three-game home stand since 2004 – when they won the first game, but then dropped the next two.

In a week that also included Thanksgiving and heightened expectations for the team that started 2-6, that has been everyone’s biggest challenge: Focusing only on this game, this opponent, this opportunity.

Yes, the Seahawks have won back-to-back games for only the second time in two seasons under coach Pete Carroll. Yes, they are facing three opponents at home in the next 16 days who have nine victories between them. Yes, they would be 7-6 if they can complete this late-November/early-December hat trick.

But, let’s all stay focused here. First things first, and that’s taking care of a Redskins team that has lost six games in a row – so the Seahawks can post their first three-game winning streak since they started the second half of the 2007 season with a five-game run.

And the element that gives the Seahawks their best chance to do just that is a defense that is No. 11 in the league, and hasn’t ranked this high this late in the season since, well, 2007.

The Redskins’ defense also could cause problems for the Seahawks, especially if it can get Tarvaris Jackson into passing situation and unleash a pass rush that is tied for the league lead with 31 sacks – led by the impressive duo of Ryan Kerrigan and Brian Orakpo, the outside linebackers in the Redskins’ 3-4 front who have combined for 11½ of those sacks.

That’s why this is a day when Marshawn Lynch needs to shove his “Beast Mode” self into a productive, and dominating, mode from the get-go. What has been a slow-starting Seahawks offense during the team’s 4-6 start must get it going early, because taking the early lead is the best way to feed the Beast and defuse the Redskins’ pass rush. Lynch is looking to score a touchdown in his seventh consecutive game and has averaged 110.7 rushing yards the past three weeks as the Seahawks have run the ball 30, 42 and 39 times.

On defense, the Seahawks just need to keep doing their thing – especially what they’ve accomplished during the two-game winning streak that started with the 22-17 upset victory over the Baltimore Ravens here and continued with 24-7 victory over the Rams in St. Louis last week.

The 24 points last week were the most the Seahawks have scored since the Week 4 loss to the Atlanta Falcons, and only the fourth time they’ve surpassed 20 points this season. The seven points the Rams got were the second-fewest the Seahawks have allowed all season.

Keep that going. Stuff the run. Pressure Redskins QB Rex Grossman into making mistakes. Set the table for the offense.

And on special teams, have Jon Ryan – who celebrated his 30th birthday yesterday – continue to kick the opposition into poor field position.

Accomplish all that on a day when everyone is expecting the Seahawks to do just that, and then we’re one step closer to, well, you know what.


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