Washington is facing a seemingly desperate team for the second week in a row, the Green Bay Packers. The Mike McCarthy and Aaron Rodgers led team is coming in losers of three straight with losses to the Falcons, Colts, and Titans. With injuries to key players in the secondary, linebacker group, and offensive line the Redskins need not let the Packers have a bounce back game against them.
Green Bay should never be entirely counted out with the presence of Aaron Rodgers. However, his supporting cast has essentially become non threats to make plays and Aaron Rodgers himself has not been the same as years prior. Even though Rodgers is good at protecting the football, he’s often been inconsistent throwing the football throughout a game and it may be the case that his bad mechanics has caught up to him. When it comes to Green Bay’s offense, outside of Rodgers scrambling to make plays, they struggle to run the ball with ball carriers making this offense seemingly one dimensional. They just recently signed running back Christine Michael after Seattle cut him to go along with James Starks, it may provide some stability for them moving forward but only time will tell. Couple the ball carrier inconsistencies with injuries to the offensive line, it may be a struggle early on.
This offense in general has been all Aaron Rodgers, he’s the only person for Green Bay to score a rushing touchdown and has thrown for 22 touchdowns in their first 9 games of the season. His playmaking ability is still there, his ability to create a play out of nothing and that is what makes this offense potentially deadly. Davonte Adams is their X-factor in my opinion, often times him and Rodgers connect down the field off of the scramble drill and breakdowns in coverage. Outside of breakdowns and scramble drills, this offense has also struggled in the passing game. Their receivers struggle to separate from man coverage and often times do not give Aaron Rodgers any room for error as he has to throw into coverage often. Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, and Davante Adams were once a great trio for Rodgers in 2014. I wouldn’t sleep on this group entirely but this is not the same group in terms of production.
Defensively Green Bay has struggled to stop anyone since their secondary got hit by injuries. They’ve been solid against the run all year long, the issue has been containing opposing passing attacks. The injuries have caused inexperienced corners Ladarius Gunter, Quinten Rollins, and Demetri Goodson to play a ton of snaps in place of Sam Shields and Demarious Randle. These guys are beat up, even though a lot of people felt this way in games past this season, Washington is in a legitimate position to put up their best point total of the season in a primetime slot on Sunday.
When looking at Washington and how they matchup against the injury riddled Packers, they have several favorable matchups. The offense of Washington faces another challenge against a good rush defense, but if they are able to find success on the ground it will allow offensive coordinator Sean McVay to get in a rhythm and keep the Packers defense on its heels throughout the game. It is very important for this team to play smart ball and keep Rodgers from getting a short field, this Packers defense is the same defense that gave this offensive line headaches in the playoffs so it’s very important for that group to win a high percentage of their battles and pick up the delayed blitzes and stunts this time around.
When facing an Aaron Rodgers led offense you have to keep a guy like him in disarray throughout a game, any type of comfort or confidence will get him in a grove. With receivers who have issues in man coverage I wouldn’t be surprised if a similar strategy to how they faced the Vikings offense would be employed. Play a high amount of man coverage forcing Rodgers to make accurate throws, while sending 5-to-6 rushers to Rodgers often. This is a man that can exploit holes in defenses if given enough time. So big games are needed from linebackers Preston Smith, Ryan Kerrigan, and defensive lineman Chris Baker.
Washington should get this victory, giving them back-to-back wins. While I believe the Redskins offense should have a big game against this team, red zone issues (apparent all season long) could keep this game close.