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In Seattle, A Matchup of Power vs. Finesse


Last week, prior to the Redskins-Buccaneers Wild Card playoff game, a local Tampa newspaper had a full-page spread on the greatest Buccaneers players of all time, with linebacker Derrick Brooks leading the list.

When the Redskins arrived in Seattle on Thursday evening, they were greeted with newspaper article in The Seattle Times ranking the greatest all-time Seahawks by position. (Current Redskin Shawn Springs, incidentally, made the list.)

So it seems that when the Redskins come to town, it's time for the locals to ponder their NFL franchise's history.

That aside, Saturday afternoon's playoff matchup between the Redskins and Seahawks figures to be a battle of a power team versus a finesse team.

Running back Clinton Portis has said he's feeling fine after taking a beating at Tampa Bay against the top-ranked defense in the NFL. When Portis needs a break, 5-10, 222-pound Ladell Betts will see action.

On how he expects Saturday's game against Seattle to differ from the Week 4 meeting between the two teams, Portis said: "The previous game was our third of the season. You had all the time in the world to recover and get back on track if you lost. This week, it's for all of the marbles."

Adds Portis: "When you go into a game facing an opponent for the second time, you just have to regroup. They're going to come out with motivation, knowing that maybe they should have won the game that they lost. We're going to come out with motivation, knowing that we played them close and that they have the league's MVP in Shaun Alexander."

The back who rushed for a team record 1,516 yards during the regular season acknowledges that he's been fortunate to stay away from major injuries this year.

With that as backdrop, Portis is looking forward to going up against a Seahawks' defense predicated on speed, starting with rookie linebacker Lofa Tatupu, who led the team in tackles, and a secondary that includes safety Michael Boulware and cornerbacks Kelly Herndon and Marcus Trufant. Herndon nabbed an interception in the first game.

If it comes down to a real example of power ball on Saturday, the Redskins should have the edge. All five members of Joe Bugel's offensive line are playing at a high level, including right guard Ray Brown, who has stepped in for the injured Randy Thomas.

One player sometimes overlooked in that mix, left guard Derrick Dockery, had what head coach Joe Gibbs called an "excellent" game at Tampa Bay.

On Portis's early six-yard TD, Dockery was able to push the Bucs' Brooks, the heart and soul of the Tampa Bay defense, out of the way.

That's the type of power ball for which the NFC East is noted. Coming out of that environment is certainly in the Redskins' favor.

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