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The Ravens, who have dropped four of their last five games, are fueled by their own inspiration after future Hall of Fame linebacker Ray Lewis announced he will retire at the conclusion of the season and could be potentially playing in the final game of his career. Wide receiver Anquan Boldin will also be back on the field after his one-week hiatus with a bruised shoulder. Colts rookie quarterback Andrew Luck is cruising into the postseason on a high. The top overall pick has thrown five touchdowns without an interception in his last three games - and the Colts have won nine of 11 following their 28-16 triumph over AFC South champion Houston. The Colts are 8-0 ATS in their last eight meetings with the Ravens, but keep in mind those covers were during the Peyton Manning era in Indianapolis.
The Redskins will host a playoff game for the first time in 13 years on Sunday. Washington has won seven consecutive contests SU and ATS, while Seattle enters on a five-game SU winning streak (4-1 ATS). Both teams feature potent rushing attacks, but the Seahawks have the edge on defense. Seattle allowed an average of 321.6 yards for the league's fourth-best mark while Washington allowed an average of 390.8 for the NFL's fourth-worst. Seattle is 6-0 ATS in its last six games against a team with a winning record.
Seattle will get a boost defensively with the expected return of CB Brandon Browner from suspension. Of course, it's not as if the Seahawks have suffered in his absence. They've held five straight opponents to 17 points or less, giving up a grand total of 60 points over that stretch. Seattle allowed just 5.3 yards per play over the course of the regular season, but if it does have a defensive weakness, it's against the run, having surrendered 4.5 yards per rush.
The Redskins saved their best for last, allowing 21, 20, and 18 points over their final three regular season games. Remember, this is a unit that started the season by giving up 101 points over its first three contests. We've actually seen the Washington defense come together and play its best football since suffering key early season injuries to Adam Carriker and Brian Orakpo. The 'Skins have struggled against the pass at times, allowing 11.5 yards per completion.
Russell Wilson and Robert Griffin III are the catalysts behind their respective teams march to the playoffs. Their dual-threat, playmaking skills have given defenses fits all season.
It's not easy predicting who will outperform the other. Griffin's home advantage could prove key, as the Seahawks usually struggle on the road.
However, they have improved in their travels recently. Wilson's athleticism and knack for the big play are big reasons why.
He could thrive against a Washington defense that often struggles to mount a credible pass rush. If Wilson gets the time he could also expose a pass defense that ranked 30th in the league in 2012.
Griffin might not have the same luxury against a physical and stingy Seahawks secondary. Aggressive cornerback pair Brandon Browner and Richard Sherman challenge a quarterback to be quick and accurate.
Of course, Griffin could get behind them both via the Redskins dangerous and prolific play-action passing game. That will rely on Griffin's receivers getting past Seattle's bump and run and press techniques.
If Wilson's receivers don't show their usual aversion to the idea of actually catching the ball, he could outperform his more illustrious counterpart.