Will Pack Rebound in its First Road Test?Posted:Sep 21st, 2018 4:03 pm
The Pack hits the road for the first time this weekend, looking to get the bitter taste of a tie against the Vikings out of their mouths.
It's hard to know what to make of the 2018 Redskins, who opened with a dominant road win in Arizona and then followed up with a clunker at home against the Colts. The Pack will likely see a more focused Washington team, coming off the disappointing loss last week.
We know Rodgers will be a limited version of himself for the foreseeable future and he'll face an above average defensive unit, led by pass rusher Ryan Kerrigan and tackling machine Mason Foster. Their line is pretty stout as well; their last two #1 picks reside there: Jonathan Allen and Daron Payne. The other guy up front, Matt Ioaniddis, is off to a great start. It's a unit that blitzes heavily, which could play right into Rodgers' hands.
Davante Adams will likely get a heavy dose of corner Josh Norman. The Skins' first two opponents have mostly stayed away from Norman--expect Rodgers to test the mouthy corner. The Pack's receivers will be on the lookout for ball-hawking, hard hitting safety DJ Swearinger who seems to have a nose for the ball.
Mike McCarthy has made it clear that the return of Aaron Jones does not place him atop the depth chart. He maintains that he will be a change of pace back only--but that strategy could change if Jones provides a spark to the running game.
When Washington has the ball, Alex Smith drives the ship. You know he always gets amped when he plays against his 'teammate' in the 2005 draft. He hasn't had much production with his mediocre set of wide receivers so far, so the Packer corners should be able to contain them, even without Kevin King this week.
The two dangerous weapons in the passing game are tight end Jordan Reed and running back Chris Thompson, who have combined for 29 catches over the first two games. Look for rookie Josh Jackson to get the assignment on Reed. Maybe the return of speedy rookie linebacker Oren Burks will provide a boost, thought McCarthy warned earlier this week that he may be limited to special teams this week. Smith has been under a lot of pressure, with a banged up offensive line in front of him, so there will be opportunities for the Pack to get home--of course we'll all be holding our breaths after each sack to make sure there's no flag.
Smith is a check-down artist, so they will need to tackle well in space and stay diligent with their assignments as they are likely to see a steady dose of run-pass option plays. And it goes without saying, they need to contain Adrian Peterson, who looked like the 2009 version in the opener, but crashed back to earth against the Colts.
This one won't feel like much of a road game. There were thousands of empty seats last week and the fans who showed up showered the team with boos throughout the game. Expect a healthy smattering of Packer fans throughout the stadium and frequent 'Go Pack Go' chants. With the Bills looming next Sunday at Lambeau, the Pack knows a win here can lead to an unbeaten first quarter of the season.
Packers 24 Washington 16