Getting that sour taste out from last week’s loss to the Eagles, there’s no favors coming the Redskins way traveling to Green Bay this week. Redskins hope that the late rally against the Eagles will carryover to this game with the Packers. Neither team wants to start 0-2, so both teams should come in to this game hungry.
Packers on Offense
Aaron Rodgers. If I wanted to be a douche, I’d just leave it at that first sentence. But in all seriousness, when you think about the Packers on offense, the first thing that comes to mind is how great of a QB Aaron Rodgers is. He also has a very solid core of receivers. Randall Cobb is his main target, & he has gamebreaking ability, almost in the mold of a Percy Harvin. Jordy Nelson is Rodgers security blanket, Nelson makes all the tough catches & is one of the most reliable receivers in the NFL. James Jones had 14 receiving TD’s a year ago, however he only got 2 targets last week against the 49ers. Jermichael Finley is a super talented TE but has battled injuries, he’s nursing a toe injury & is questionable to play Sunday but he’s one of Rodgers favorite TE’s.
The Packers running game has been abysmal for the last three years, finishing in the bottom half of the league. They’ve figured to have upgraded by drafting Eddie Lacy & Johnathan Franklin in this year’s draft. Eddie Lacy is the workhorse that’s been missing for this offense. Green Bay’s running never got off against the 49ers, but probably tough to gauge since the 49ers have one of the best defenses in the NFL.
Here’s where the true weakness lies for the Packers. For starters they have a 4th round rookie David Bakhtiari starting at left tackle, who was forced to start there after Bryan Bulaga tore his ACL in practice. Bakhtiari allowed a sack on the first pass play of the game last week. The interior linemen Josh Sitton & T.J. Lang switched guard spots in the offseason & neither looked comfortable against the 49ers. This unit could be picked on all year.
Packers on Defense
This is a strong unit run stuffing unit for the Packers. They lack superior pass rushers outside of Clay Matthews. Nick Perry, A.J. Hawk & Brad Jones the other linebackers for GB are meh. But their depth at defensive line makes them one of the better 3-4 defensive lines in the league. B.J. Raji can be dominant, just needs to be consistent, NT Ryan Pickett does a fantastic job against the run.
The Packers desperately need FS Morgan Burnett back in the lineup. It’s unlikely that he plays against the Redskins this week. His presence was missed last week against the 49ers when Jerron McMillian looked lost the whole game. Casey Hayward their leader in interceptions a year ago is out of this game as well. But still Tramon Williams & Sam Shields are decent corners, but they need help in the backfield.
5 for 5′s
1. Confidence carryover. It doesn’t get much worse in the NFL than the first two & a half quarters the Redskins had against the Eagles. But the team finally got a sort of rhythm going towards the end of the game that they need to carry over to this week.
2. More Helu. Helu since the preseason has looked better than he has ever has as a Redskin. That can probably be attributed to the fact that he’s healthy now. The knock on Helu has been lack of durability & he goes down easily with contact. From what I’ve seen of Helu so far, he’s fighting through tackles & getting extra yards on top of cutting extremely well with an extra burst.
3. How do the Redskins slow Green Bay’s passing attack? Frustrate Aaron Rodgers. Brian Orakpo has to dominate his matchup against Bakhtiari. If the Redskins can’t generate a pass rush, this game will get ugly.
4. Is Leonard Hankerson ready to be consistent? This is the make or break year for Hankerson, he needs to follow up his 5 receptions 80 yards & 2 TD’s with another good performance to take pressure off Pierre Garcon.
5. What kind of impact will Brandon Meriweather have? Unsure but a lot of Redskins fans saw a great half from Meriweather against the Eagles last year & assume he’s a huge difference maker. But Meriweather is also a guy that struggled to stay on an NFL team the last couple of years before he signed here. Obviously the Redskins need the Meriweather they saw briefly last year, would be a huge upgrade over what they had.
Both teams enter this game 0-1, which team plays with the bigger chip? If the Redskins are to win this game, they have to come out strong. Any half stepping against a team like the Packers on the road will get them put out of their misery early. Think both teams play like they want it. Will come down to the last minutes. In the end, I think Redskins get the necessary pressure on Aaron Rodgers to win the game.
Redskins 28 Packers 24