The Washington Redskins face the Green Bay Packers prime time this evening in Washington. The Redskins are 5-1-1 over their last seven games, while the Packers are 3-4 over their last seven games. The Redskins will be seeking a bit of revenge, after being booted from the NFL playoffs least season by the Packers. In the current state, the Redskins are in the playoffs as a Wild Card selection. Every game from here on is critical for Washington.
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Riding the arm . . . The Redskins offense has been fueled by a solid season for QB Kirk Cousins. Cousins is fourth in the NFL with 2,716 yards passing. Cousins is 13-6-1 in 20 NFL starts. He has averaged 283.4 yards in 33 career games. Green Bay is 11th in the NFL in points per game (24.8) while Washington is 16th (23.8). The Redskins will need to match the Packers offense. The Packers offense will put up points. But, so can the Redskins. They have average over 300 yards per game in 13 straight games and will count on Cousins today to keep that streak alive. Cousins will have a full complement of receivers, as DeSean Jackson makes his return to the lineup, after suffering from a shoulder injury. As a side note, Kirk Cousins needs just 88 passing yards today to become the seventh quarterback in Redskins history to pass for 10,000 yards.
Pass pressure on Rodgers . . . The Redskins defense has sacked the quarterback 25 times this season, good enough for sixth in the NFL. Meanwhile, Aaron Rodgers was sacks five times in week ten against Tennessee. Pressure on Rodgers will be critical for the Redskins defense. They can’t allow Rodgers to sit back and pick apart the secondary. Redskins will look to last week’s hero, Preston Smith, Ryan Kerrigan, and Trent Murphy to dial-up that pressure. Washington’s secondary will look for consistency this week. Rodgers will get his throws. What is important is quarterback pressure and the secondary to bend, but not break.
It’s Fat Rob time . . . The Redskins will go with Robert Kelley as the feature back for the third consecutive week. Kelley racked up 97 yards on 22 carries last week, getting stronger runs as the game progressed in the second half. The difficult task today is the fact the Packers are the their best rush defense in the NFL, averaging just 84.4 rush yards per game. If the Redskins learned from last week, patience is a virtue with Kelley. He may start slow, but Kelley tends to heat up as the Redskins offensive line gets better as the game progresses. Redskins will of course mix in Chris Thompson.
Showcasing the rookie . . . Redskins Defensive Coordinator Joe Barry will continue to mix up and utilize LB S’ua Cravens in different packages and schemes tonight. They will look to put Cravens in position to make plays. he is blossoming as an excellent defender that can play in multiple situations. Considering the Packers usually pass 65% of the time, Cravens is expected to play a big role tonight. He has been praised this season for his speed and instincts and they will need it tonight.
On the road to being Elite . . . WR Jamison Crowder is on a road to becoming an elite receiver in this league. He gets open, is a terrific route runner, has sure hands, and has blazing speed. Essentially, he has all the elements to become an elite receiver for the Redskins. He has been by far the Redskins most prolific weapon in their high powered offense. On the season, Crowder has 44 receptions for 535 yards and 5 touchdown receptions. He is quickly becoming the favorite target of QB Kirk Cousins. His 5 TD receptions has already doubled his last season. He became just the sixth receiver in franchise history to catch 100 passes combined in his first two seasons in the NFL. What makes Crowder so dangerous is not just the fact he gets open, not just the fact that he had sure hands, but more so, his blazing speed and instincts he possesses after the catch.
Jordy and Norman . . . Jordy Nelson and Josh Norman. Watch that battle tonight. It will be a critical battle and may very well dictate the direction of the game.