Packers XLV

Pack vs. Skins: Timing Is Everything

Posted September 13th, 2013 @ 02:09pm

You've probably heard a few times this week that the Pack has never reached the playoffs when opening 0-2. That 0-2 teams reach the post-season just 12% of the time. Then you look at this week's opponent: Washington, defending NFC East champs, and you think, 'be careful.'

But as we fellow NFL devotees know, usually it's not who you play, but when you play them. And the Packers are fortunate to get the Skins and their explosive young QB, Robert Griffin III in week two. If you watched RGIII on Monday night you saw that he's nowhere near the all-purpose threat he was before tearing his ACL in the playoffs.

After being held out of the preseason, Griffin and his offense was beyond ugly in the first half against the Eagles. They were better in the second half, but clearly RGIII, whose game is based on his ridiculous athleticism, is not going to beat you with his legs--yet. He may get back sometime this season, but it won't be this weekend and that's all we care about.

The timing thing swings even further the Packers' way when you throw in the shorter work week for Washington. It's the first of two straight weeks where the Pack takes on a team that played the previous Monday night. We'll take it.

So with Griffin's running less of a concern, the Packers need to contain Alfred Morris, last year's surprise (he finished second to AP in rushing yardage). The offense will revolve around him if the Pack allows it. He only got 12 carries on Monday night, primarily because the Eagles jumped out to a big lead and Washington was playing from behind. The Pack needs to show that the effective job they did stopping the run in San Francisco is a sign of things to come this season.

Slowing the Skins' passing game should be easier than what the Packers faced last Sunday. For one thing, safety Morgan Burnett should be back (if his hammy holds up). We saw what he means to this defense. The team has nothing behind him--it's the most worrisome position on the roster. Washington's skill guys are below average: Pierre Garcon and Santana Moss are veteran, if unspectacular. Young Leonard Hankerson had a strong game on Monday, but his hands are James Jones pre-2012-like.

Offensively, Aaron Rodgers should have a big day. I thought the offensive line did very well in pass protection against the NFL's best front seven. David Bakhtiari gets a solid 'B' from me and should be better this week. Washington's front seven is also their strength. Linebackers Brian Orakpo and Ryan Kerrigan are stars in the making--joining veteran leader London Fletcher in a unit that can cause havoc. But their secondary is atrocious and is still wondering what hit them in the first half on Monday night. De'Angelo Hall is still serviceable, but Josh Wilson is below average and their nickel back, David Amerson is a rookie. Their safeties are even worse than ours: they start a rookie sixth rounder and a converted safety.

Success through the air should bring with it the coming out party for Eddie Lacy. The Eagles' up-tempo breakneck speed offense carved up the Skins' defense on the ground and the Packers would love to have similar success with their talented rookie. Lacy was nervous last week, and who wouldn't be, but ball security is mandatory or we will be force fed more James Starks.

The biggest concerns heading into this one is the team's health. As I write this, Burnett looks to be on track to play. He practiced on Thursday and seems to be ready. But we thought that was the case last week, as did the coaches. When he was a late scratch, the defense wasn't ready for it. Josh Sitton is dealing with a back injury (maybe that's why he was flagged three times) and Jermichael Finley injured a toe early in the game. Both missed some practice time this week, but both appear likely to play. If these three guys are limited or out, it swings the scales closer to even.

But I like much of what I saw agains the Niners. The team was physical, angry and ready for a boxing match. The penalties and turnovers need to go away and I think they will, with the team playing in the friendly confines of Lambeau Field.

It will be a record crowd for the home opener (with the new seats) and the Packers will be ready to show what the 2013 version is all about. And as far as week two is concerned, timing is everything.

Packers 31  Skins 17

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Comments (7):

I, too, liked what I saw last week in a hostile environment against the Super Bowl runner up. Losing by less than a score to them was not a full out defeat in my book. I mean, it's not like we lost to Detroit when they were trying to give us the "W" on a silver platter, right? Jordy Nelson was nothing short of extraordinary last week, so I see others seeing some great yardage as well. I say Packers 33, Washington 16 ... holding some of those TDs down to FGs for Washington, rather.

on September 13th, 2013 at 02:31pm

OK, I'll bite. Bears 24, Vikings 10. Let's see who's closest.

on September 13th, 2013 at 06:55pm

Your right Davy timing is everything. My slant on timing is getting a look at a teams injury report. If Burnett is back that is huge. As Ryan Pickett has said ....Burnett is our most valuable defensive player and I agree. Claymaker gets the well deserved pub but on an every down basis Burnett is the AROD of the defense. Macmillan was targeted 6 times on passes last week and was 0 for 6 and his tackling was even weaker. MD Jennings was 1 for 6 so you know the Skins study film and they will exploit those safeties even Burnett is not available. D. Jones will probably turn out to be a fine #1 but the early returns show why a lot of us wanted a safety at # 1. We need to be better on third downs on both sides of the ball. Let's get Lacy going and see how we play with a lead !! GO PACK GO !!

on September 13th, 2013 at 08:35pm

Lori, your right on, and thanks for everyone for making there predictions. we can have just as much fun as THC making picks, this is what this format is for in my mind, even cane chimed in.. they stopped the run against s.f., as much as I hate to see all the yards given up in the air, if u can't stop the run , your done. emotionally and physically. put in the Banjo man, he has to be better then mcMillan. I was wrong so far on franklin, I said lacey would be hurt, and franklin was the guy I wanted, so far so good. I see it 27-20 Pack. I did say to some of my buds 3 weeks ago, don' t be surprised if the vikes and pack start out 0-3 and they laughed at me, let's watch. go pack

on September 13th, 2013 at 09:35pm

You're right THC, timing IS everything. Redskins can't afford to start 0-2 either. This is a must-win for the Skins. So BAD timing for the Pack. RG3 31 Pack 20.

on September 13th, 2013 at 12:50pm

OSSG, you know I think you're the greatest, but I'm thinking the first pick being used on Datone Jones was a better choice than going for a safety just for the reason that the run defense was in such sorry shape that it needed to be addressed first and foremost. Although Jones didn't get in all that much against SF, the resulting >100 yards given up on the ground shows that was the right decision. The Packers also needed a running back, and that's what they took in round 2. Sure, they could use a safety, but you can't fix every problem in just one draft (and you know how I feel about signing FA's). But otherwise, I agree that it's a timing thing, and catching Washington with a rusty RG3 works in the Packers' favor. He's still favoring that knee, and until it's completely healed, and he has confidence in it again, he won't be anywhere near what he was last year. When healthy, he's a freak of nature; he's not anything close to that now, and probably the remainder of the season, unless he gets some rehab time mixed in.

on September 14th, 2013 at 03:15pm

While I'm feeling better about this game than I was coming out of the preseason this game is not a lock for the Pack. Washington's strong rush vs. the Packers' suspect o-line (especially if Sitton is dinged) will give Green Bay problems both in pass protection and running the ball. You can be sure the 'Skins will come out with a better effort following their national embarrassment against Philly. I recall the last visit of Washington to Lambeau in 2010. They defeated the Packers in a close decision. But Green Bay went on that year to win the Super Bowl. I don't think a 1-2 or even an 0-3 start before the bye will sink the Packers as a playoff team. Based on the samplings of the NFC North in Week One I didn't see anything that puts the Pack behind anyone else in the division. "Work in progress," folks, "work in progress." Keep that in mind today and again next week at Cincinnati and keep our anxiety down.

on September 15th, 2013 at 06:56am

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