Green Bay Packers Face Tough Test at FedEx Field on Sunday

Ryan CookFeatured ColumnistOctober 10, 2010

CHICAGO - SEPTEMBER 27:  Greg Jennings #85 of the Green Bay Packers reacts after he scored a 7-yard touchdown reception in the first quarter against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field on September 27, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy has been well noted for his love of sitting in the bleachers of Lambeau Field with a good cuppa Joe', and contemplating how beautiful his teams home stadium truly is.

Luckily for Mike McCarthy, he has been privileged to be a part of one of sports greatest treasures.  As much as Wade Phillips or Sean Payton may admire working in billion dollar stadiums on a daily basis, nothing beats the lure of the Frozen Tundra, that can easily overcome an opponent at the drop of a hat—or should I say cheesehead?

Yes, Lambeau Field is a true treat for any football fan.  The Lambeau Leap is a thing of beauty, and with iconic numbers such as Bart Starr (No. 5) and Ray Nitschke (No. 66) overlooking the young stars of today such as Aaron Rodgers and Clay Matthews, it's fair to say that Green Bay is a definite must for anyone preparing a football bucket list in the future.

But for all of Lambeau Field's positive points, it can't go without saying that there are many other stadiums in the league that draw the same excitement.  Heinz Field, Arrowhead Stadium, Candlestick Park, and Mile High all bring forward the same lure, but one ground that seems to have become a little forgotten about recently is FedEx Field—home of the Washington Redskins.

If you wanted a straight up opinion of FedEx Field, ask the Dallas Cowboys.  Not only do the boys in blue play their once a year, they also fell victim to the stadiums high noise level, and constant expectations that buzz throughout prior to game time.

Built in 1997, FedEx Field was set to be the next best thing in Washington sports.  Although at the time it was named Jack Kent Cooke Stadium, in 1999 the name FedEx Field was brought about, which has managed to withstand the test of time.

So what is it about FedEx Field that makes it such a tough place for a visiting team to play in?

Sure, the noise level is significant even when the Redskins are having a poor season, and sure the home fans are well known for hassling several players, even if said player has done nothing to annoy Redskin faithfuls.

No, the reason that FedEx Field is such a tough ground to play in, is due to its unpredictable nature that has hung around like the smell of urine in Wrigley Field, since the stadiums original berth back in 1997.

Similar to the Washington Redskins, when a game is held at FedEx Field, it's always a questionable call as to what style of football we will see played.  Will the Redskins show up? Or will they struggle to maintain any consistency?

These are the questions that are always left unanswered.  But more to the point, the same questions could be asked of the opposing team, as FedEx Field has been known to rattle teams from week to week.

In relation to the Green Bay Packers, the site of FedEx Field is definitely unwelcome.  As great as a 3-1 record is for Mike McCarthy's team at this point in time, Green Bay have failed to be the next best offense that some experts had predicted early in the offseason.

As it stands, the Packers have some serious issues to work out.  With the Detroit Lions giving Packer fans a taste of reality last week, Green Bay's lack of defensive depth and poor performance on special teams has certainly been highlighted in the past month.

The one area that has killed Green Bay is rush yards on defense.  Currently the Packers stand 22nd in the league, a fairly surprising statistic considering Clay Matthews is the number one sack leader in the season right now.

Therefore, the issue of the Redskins consistency once again comes into play.

Washington running back Clinton Portis has had a reasonably decent start to the season, rushing for 195 yards and 2 touchdowns.  While some improvement has been noticed from the Redskins starting rusher, he has continued his trend of "hot and cold" games, seeing as though one week he is the standout, while the next he is a last mention.

Heading into Sunday, it is realistic that Donovan McNabb will be the playmaker for Washington.  A lot rides of No. 5 following an impressive display against the Philadelphia Eagles last week in The City of Brotherly Love, and in terms of tests, McNabb will have to overcome the likes of Charles Woodson, Clay Matthews, Nick Collins, and Nick Barnett on the opposite side of the field.

Fortunately, the Packer defense has been able to withstand aerial attacks just enough to hold onto wins recently.  Calvin Johnson torched Green Bay last week, but luckily for the Packers, Aaron Rodgers managed to provide enough points to tide the green and gold over.

Still, much of this theory is unstable in an away game in a tough environment, and Donovan McNabb portrays good chemistry with Chris Cooley, and Clinton Portis hits the ground running, the Packer defense may be out of breath before the sideline fans even warm up.

They say that there are defining games in a season, and this is certainly one of them.  The Packers haven't had a bundle of tough tests just yet, and although several teams have rallied, none have had the fire power to get themselves over the line, except the Chicago Bears.

And are the Redskins going to be that team to do so?

Perhaps, we'll have to find out, but Washington's confidence offers up some worrying factors for Dom Capers and the entire Green Bay defense.

I won't state that a shootout is probable at FedEx Field, as either team could collapse from the get go.  However, expect this game to come down to whose offense is better, as it's clear both teams defenses could use a little work toward the midway point in the year.

FedEx Field may not be Lambeau Field, but it's slayed a few dragons in it's time.  Green Bay have the mustard to get a win in a tough environment, but if the past few weeks are anything to base off of, don't expect the Packers to be at their 100 percent best on the road this weekend.


Ryan Cook is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. He is also an NFL columnist for Real Sports Net and a Green Bay Packers writer for Fan Huddle and PackerChatters. Ryan is also a contributing writer for Detroit Lions Talk, Gack Sports and Generation Y Sports.  Don't forget to follow him on Twitter.


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