Packers XLV

Can the Pack Become Road Warriors...For One Week at Least?

Posted January 7th, 2016 @ 04:01pm

It's really impossible to forecast what to expect from the Packers when they visit FedEx Field on Sunday afternoon. After limping to the finish line with two dispiriting losses, the team seems to be ready for the inevitable end to their disappointing season.

17 players are featured on the injury report this week, and it appears Sam Shields and David Bakhtiari will miss yet another game. The Skins come in far healthier and riding a wave of momentum on the arm of their surprising young QB, Kirk Cousins. They are the team with more playmakers. They are the team that got hot at the right time. And they are at home.

Yet the game is a pick 'em, mainly because of the Packers' pedigree, their QB and the fact that the only times the Skins played playoff teams this season (twice), they were blown off the field.

Washington has been riding the hot arm of Cousins, who has tossed 11 TD passes in his last three games and finished the season with a passer rating over 100. He has plenty of weapons at his disposal: downfield threat (and general knucklehead) DeSean Jackson, possession guy Pierre Garcon and the dangerous Jordan Reed at tight end. He's the guy the Pack should be most concerned about (11 TDs on 87 receptions).

Defensively, Washington is just okay, though they do seem to be able to get off the field when they need to, finishing 12th in third downs. They are terrible against the run and give up yards in chunks. Their secondary is led by former Packer Will Blackmon, whose vagabond career has found a second act in DC. They're so desperate, they just signed former Seahawk Cary Williams on Tuesday and he will likely start at cornerback.

But overall this is a Washington that has dramatically overachieved. Picked to finish at the bottom of the NFC East, they muddled through the season, mostly winning at home and losing on the road, until they strung together a few wins at the end to win the division by attrition. They haven't won a playoff game since 2005 and it will be interesting to see if they're ready for the pressure of the post-season.

As far as the Packers are concerned, it seems unlikely that they will be able to flip a switch and play like the team that crushed the Vikings in week 11. Since that game, the Pack has gone steadily backwards, primarily on offense. The blueprint in this one would appear to be to commit to the run against a defense that gives up 4.8 yards per carry and take shots downfield against an overmatched secondary. The problem being, of course, that the Pack's passing game is appeared overmatched itself in most games this season.

The return of Bakhtiari is paramount. If he's not able to go, Josh Sitton or whoever gets the call will have to line up against Ryan Kerrigan, the Skins' best defender. That will be a mismatch all afternoon. Bakhtiari appeared close last weekend and though he didn't practice on Wednesday we'll be keeping a close eye on his progress as we get closer to the game.

Washington has turned things around by jumping on its opponents early, something the Packers were once adept at. If the Pack can take an early lead, it may force Cousins to take some chances--interceptions have been a problem for him throughout his career. He does get center Kory Lichtensteiger back (he's been on temporary IR with a neck injury) which should bolster his confidence as he gets set to take the field in his biggest game ever and one that could add a zero to the new contract he will sign in the offseason.

I'm going to believe that the Skins aren't quite ready for their closeup. Their most impressive wins this year were over the Bills and Rams. They were 0-2 against playoff teams and the Pack was 3-4. They're stepping up in class for this one and I think the Pack will do just enough to extend their season for one more week.

Packers 27  Washington 24

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Comments (7):

Lord knows I love ya Dave, but u just can not hide your homerism. U sound like PA for gosh sakes! Packers aren't who u think they are. Sorry.

on January 10th, 2016 at 04:10pm

People gotta have some faith! big o smile on my face.

on January 10th, 2016 at 06:23pm

This has been said to be a pick'em game. So I'm going to Pick my Team. I think the uncommon opponent thing works in our favor. 28 -17 pack. As for the Vikes, I wish them good luck. It won't be the blow out it was last time, but they haven't shown they can beat the Seahawks. Now that the forecast has the game above zero, I guess 24-13 Hawks. If it is below zero, I would make it closer. If I'm right, and I rarely am, all four road teams win this round. I just hope the Pack isn't the team to prove me wrong. Either way, the future is still bright.

on January 10th, 2016 at 10:45am

some facts, Bud grant will be be doing coin toss. oh my!!. Dave , Kerrigan lines up on other side over right tackle, so wew ill see how Bulaga does against him. Sitton will be playing guard today, so we will see who plays left tackle. Maybe Tretter. screech, really?? after all the crap you have written on here about putting packer fans down and the players. You can say that? all I want is a prediction before the game for once. anyone can talk smart after it's over. I said it was going to be a 20-20 tie last week. pretty close wasn't I? I did say already. viking fans will say exactly what u just said. at least we beat the Packers. same old minny fans. Go Packers.

on January 10th, 2016 at 11:33am

Larry, does taking shots at us make you feel better about losing to the division? Does it ease the pain of watching your team crumble before your eyes? Does it stave off the realization that you likely won't even make the playoffs next year while our team is about to establish years of divisional dominance?

on January 9th, 2016 at 04:36pm

The Redskins have been infrequent competitors with the Packers. They've met only 34 times in the 84 years that both have been in the NFL. Green Bay leads the all-time 19-14-1. There have been, however, several memorable games between these two. The Packers beat the then Boston Redskins 21-6 in their first appearance in the NFL Championship Game in 1936. Since the Packers had already won 3 earlier titles in the pre-Championship Game years this was the franchise's fourth of its 13 all-time NFL World Championships. The Redskins relocated to Washington after that game. There was another playoff meeting in 1972 at DC. Coach Dan Devine's NFC Central Division champions met Coach George Allen's "Over the Hill Gang" in a physical slugfest. The Packers' inability to pass after Washington had taken away their rushing duo of John Brockington & MacArthur Lane resulted in a 16-3 loss. The 'Skins went on to lose the Super Bowl to the undefeated Miami Dolphins. Probably most memorable is that Monday Nighter in 1983 at Lambeau that became the highest scoring shootout in MNF history. The Pack held off the then defending Super Bowl Champion Redskins 48-47. Packer coaching icons Curly Lambeau and Vince Lombardi both briefly coached in Washington after their Green Bay careers. The Packers beat Lambeau twice in 1952 in preseason and regular season games. There's some other fascinating history between Green Bay and Washington that is worth checking out on the internet.

on January 9th, 2016 at 07:12am

good memories Packerlifer, remember losing in 72, Brockington, 1st rb to run for 1000 yds. his 1st 3 years in nfl. just listened and read article from rob Demovskvy and Prisco from cbs sports. Rob says there is some small fued going on between MM and 12 , but it's been mostly as I have said, 12 like s Clements, and wanted to keep him as play caller, both MM and 12 are competitive and have butt heads. but working there way thru it, they still say the both just want to win. Prisco says in great detail, and pictures, what I have been saying for 2 months, running crossing routes, bunched wr's , slants and rub routes, Great video of it on his post, showing Cobb and others using it a lot in last 4 years, he like me is wondering , why are they not doing it now? Please check it out, so you know I just don't make this stuff up. On this game , 12 says he is going to let it rip some up the field and let it go. we will see.Cousins, has been hot and w/o shields on Jackson, I think were in some trouble if we don't get any pressure on him. when is the last time we threw on 1st down, MY God, I feel like were watching the vikings some times this year. By the way. you know why the Queens can't seel out the stadium, it's some on the cold, but alot more, that the fans know there going to get beat, and maybe bad. that is the real reason. all we heard for 20 years we want outdoor stadium. now they get there chance, and they don't show up, what fans they have ha? where is cane and screech with there picks Before the game, not after. all i hear fro Polly and minny media, and fans, is we didn't have have 4 studs on d in that game.. YOU didn't score a point on offense, how do they forget that? I see it 31-10 hawks, and redskins, 24-20. prove me wrong Pack. Go Packers

on January 9th, 2016 at 11:18am

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