NFL Week 11: Previewing the Packers-Redskins Match-up

November 20, 2016 • Jon Lowe • Front Page, Green Bay Packers, NFC, NFC East, NFC North, Washington Redskins

I really don’t understand what is going on in Green Bay this year, and although teams like Arizona, Carolina and Minnesota are all struggling as well, the Packers seem to be the team that has fallen hardest.

My main theory on that is, they have been relevant the longest, and probably among every team in the NFL, including the Patriots (although the Patriots have had better seasons on average since they became relevant). Outside of 2005 (year the Packers selected Rodgers) and 2008 (Rodgers’ first year), the Packers have been .500 or better every season since the Brett Favre trade in 1992 (and they’ve only been .500 twice).

Two Super Bowl victories, one lost Super Bowl, and three additional NFC Championship Game appearances. They’ve only missed the playoffs six times in that span (and four of them were the aforementioned seasons, and one was 1992). Since 1992 (excluding this year) the Packers are 244-139-1 (.635%). Only the Patriots have those numbers to compare with the Packers.

In other words, everyone 25 years old and younger has had two losing seasons. Everybody in the 25-45 range probably forgot the ’70s and ’80s, and everybody older witnessed the greatness of Vince Lombardi. Those who are in their 80’s and 90’s also got to see the great teams before Lombardi. We aren’t used to losing as a fanbase, and if you are true to Wisconsin teams as a whole, you aren’t spoiled due to the sourness of the Brewers and Bucks during the times of Packer greatness.

At this point, the Packers are all we have as a pro team, and when they struggle, it hits Wisconsin the hardest.  Green Bay is staring 4-7 in the face, with home games against Houston and Seattle after, and then a trio of divisional games. I don’t think the Packers should be favored until they play the Bears.

The Washington Redskins are the first team on the schedule, and they have had a solid season. Living in the same division as the nearly unbeatable Dallas Cowboys, the New York Giants who are now 6-3, and the uprising Eagles can make things hard on the Redskins. Plus, they will want to avenge last year’s playoff loss to Green Bay in D.C.

The only injury on the active roster for the Redskins is receiver DeSean Jackson, who is questionable, so the edge goes there. Even so, the Redskins have more than enough offensive talent to be play better than Green Bay’s defensive unit.

As far as Packers’ injuries are concerned, only center J.C. Tretter is guaranteed to be out for Sunday’s game.  However, many key players including guard T.J. Lang, linebackers Clay Matthews and Jake Ryan and tight end Jared Cook are all listed as questionable. Cornerback Damarious Randall is also finally not ruled out at this point, as he has been the last several weeks. It is unlikely that any of them, excluding Cook and Matthews, will play, though.

The Redskins offense is third in passing and 12th in rushing, so the GB defense might have some more problems that have been shown recently. Green Bay can’t stop the pass, and although they play well against the run most of the time, Washington has too many different options. To start, a tight end duo of Jordan Reed and a resurgent veteran Vernon Davis will cause problems for the Packers’ secondary. The receivers aren’t the greatest, especially without DeSean Jackson, but the same can be said about Packers’ corners without Sam Shields (or even with Sam Shields). The running game isn’t as dynamic as Tennessee’s, so the edge there should go to the Packers.

As far as how we can play offensively, I think Green Bay shouldn’t have trouble putting up between 20 and 30 points yet again on this defense. Josh Norman is there this year, but he is only one player, and nobody else on that defense is overwhelmingly good. Outside linebacker Ryan Kerrigan, DE Chris Baker and ILB Will Compton are good pieces, but this defense isn’t outstanding. Outside of T.J. Lang, Green Bay’s offense is at full strength (I count Corey Linsley as an equal replacement of J.C. Tretter) and should be capable of doing what it is supposed to do. It just needs to get off to a better start.

Despite that, Green Bay’s pass defense is garbage, and Jordan Reed is due for a huge game. If I had to pick a game the Packers would win vs. the Eagles or the Redskins, I would go with the Eagles, and I don’t trust the Packers to win “pick-em” games anymore. I think it will be close, but Washington has the edge until Green Bay reawakens. Final score: Washington 30, Green Bay 27.

Photo: Andy Lyons/Getty Images

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