Washington Redskins vs. Green Bay Packers: Preview and Prediction
Wrong place, wrong time for the Washington Redskins? The Green Bay Packers, who are 26-2 at home since 2009, haven't lost back-to-back games since October of 2010 and are coming off of a loss as they host the Redskins in their home opener on Sunday.
Washington began to gain some traction after a slippery start against the Philadelphia Eagles, but the 'Skins still fell to Philly in their opener and now have to face the league's all-time highest-rated quarterback in an attempt to get back to .500.
The lopsided matchup of the game is glaring. The Washington secondary struggled last year and let Michael Vick have somewhat of a field day in the opener. The 'Skins had trouble containing elite quarterbacks like Matt Ryan, Ben Roethlisberger and Eli Manning last season, and Rodgers is probably the best pivot they've faced since the team became competitive at the start of 2012.
Nothing's impossible in this league, but there's good reason for Green Bay being a seven-point favorite in Vegas.
Here's our final preview of the matchup, along with a prediction...
What Washington must do to win, offensive edition
Find a way to control the pace. Obviously, that didn't happen against Chip Kelly's squad last week. This time, they at least have a shot. This is a defense that gave up 494 yards against San Francisco in Week 1 and surrendered 4.5 yards per carry on the ground last season.
What Washington must do to win, defensive edition
Force turnovers and prevent big plays. I know, that's pretty much what every defense has to do to be successful. But I don't mind the 'Skins giving up gains underneath all day—the key is just to slow them down. Brandon Meriweather's presence in the secondary should help.
Five most important non-quarterbacks
Trent Williams and Tyler Polumbus: That pass rush is fierce and Clay Matthews is dangerous, especially when angry and with dual-threat quarterbacks in his crosshairs.
Alfred Morris: Robert Griffin III needs more support, man. Morris can't afford a sophomore slump. And he can't turn it over. The 'Skins were so successful last year because they were ball-security masters.
Brian Orakpo and Ryan Kerrigan: Rodgers might be a stud regardless of the pressure, but that young pass-rushing duo has to get consistent pressure if that defensive backfield is going to hold up against No. 12 and that receiving corps.
Injury analysis, Redskins edition
Assuming Griffin's knee is OK, the 'Skins are quite healthy. Brandon Meriweather looks primed to make his season debut at safety after practicing all week, leaving kicker Kai Forbath as the only question mark entering Sunday's game.
Who will win Sunday?
Injury analysis, Packers edition
The Redskins could follow in San Francisco's footsteps and put up some big gains on the Green Bay secondary, which is still without cornerback Casey Hayward and might not have safety Morgan Burnett, who is questionable. On offense for Green Bay, Josh Sitton and Jermichael Finley are also less than fully healthy.
B/R NFC East blog prediction: Packers 35, Redskins 21
I do think Griffin will continue to get better, and I think that secondary is better than many believe. Still, this is a tough spot. The Redskins will be in the thick of things soon enough, but they can't beat this Packers team on the road right now.
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