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Green Bay Packers vs. Washington Redskins Preview
What will be the final NFL playoff game of the wild card weekend might be the most interesting of the four games in the opening round as well. The Washington Redskins, who are on great form, host the Green Bay Packers, who have been struggling mightily, in a game that will determine whether Washington’s surprising season will continue or if the Packers will get themselves one step closer to atoning for last year’s NFC Championship Game loss.
Washington Redskins Flying High
When this NFL season began, nobody expected the Washington Redskins to do much of anything. In fact, many expected them to be at the bottom of the NFC East standings, and nowhere near a postseason berth. However, the unexpectedly strong play of Kirk Cousins, along with an impossibly weak schedule have given Washington the opportunity to play in the playoffs, where they have home field advantage against the Green Bay Packers.
Kirk Cousins has been excellent for the Washington Redskins this season, as he has limited turnovers while being very efficient, especially when throwing to tight end Jordan Reed and the rest of his receiving corps in the red zone. While the team was criticized for starting Cousins instead of the once prized draft pick Robert Griffin III, the decision appears to have worked out wonderfully, as Washington has gone from bottom feeder to a trendy pick to win this playoff game.
With all of that said, Washington’s nine wins on the season may be misleading, as they have yet to defeat a team that finished the NFL season with a winning record. In their two games against teams that finished the season with winning records, they were beaten convincingly in both games, once by the New England Patriots and again by the Carolina Panthers. And while there is certainly no shame in losing to those two teams, who have been brilliant this season, Washington’s zero wins over above .500 teams makes one doubt whether or not they can beat playoff teams.
Green Bay Packers Struggling
Without Jordy Nelson available for the entirety of this season, the Green Bay Packers’ passing game has struggled, with Aaron Rodgers having a hard time getting the ball to the rest of his receivers with consistency. And while the Packers have still managed to put together ten wins on the season, that number feels like a disappointment given how good their defense has been and how great Rodgers is.
In order to avoid losing to an inferior Washington team in this game, the Green Bay Packers will have to give Rodgers enough time to get his passes away cleanly. Against Washington, which boasts a strong pass rush capable of getting pressure on the quarterback, Rodgers cannot afford to rush his throws with receivers that simply aren’t as good as the ones he’s had in the past.
The spread for this game is as even as can be, with the line being a pick ’em in some places to show just how evenly matched oddsmakers anticipate the game will be. It will be interesting to see which team can make the big plays necessary to steal the game away from their worthy opponent.
By: Jason M. Sanin