Redskins vs. Packers What to Expect
A Guest Blog By Fanspeak Contributing Writer Basheer Zada
Aaron Rodgers and the Packers are coming to town this weekend, and I’ll be at our “beloved” Fedex Field watching the Redskins shock America. In all reality though, the Packers are as tough as it gets in the NFC and the Redskins need to be on top of their game if they’re going to have a shot at winning this one.
Offensively, it all starts with the run game. The Packers have been allowing 5.2 yards a carry, and if the Redskins can establish the run early with new starter Ryan Torain, the entire playbook opens up and more importantly the Redskins can control time of possession and keep stud pro bowl quarterback Aaron Rodgers off the field. As for the passing game, the focus shifts entirely to the offensive line and protecting Donovan. The Packers are in a 3-way tie for the league lead in sacks (16), and 2nd year outside linebacker Clay Matthews also leads the league with 7 of those 16 sacks. I won’t even speculate on what the game would be like if Stephon Heyer started at left tackle again, and therefore im going to assume that Trent Williams will be back in the starting line up. If Trent Williams does end up starting, then the concern shifts to the running back situation. Portis is second to none in blitz pick up, and he will be missed in that area as Torain is only making his second start and will obviously go through some ups and downs. I could see the redskins using their 2 TE 1 WR formation with Sellers and Torain in the backfield and run most of the offense from that formation while keeping extra blockers in to protect McNabb. It would also help if another pass catcher not named Moss or Cooley stepped up when the Redskins put multiple receivers on the field.
Defensively, Jim Haslett is going to need another brilliant game plan to contain this explosive offense. If you thought the Eagles had a lot of offensive weapons, imagine adding arguably the best pure passer in the league who isn’t bad at all when it comes to scrambling and a full arsenal of weapons (Driver, Jennings, Jones, Finley). I don’t think the defense will have a hard time stopping the run, especially with starting running back Ryan Grant out for the season. Which means that the Packers are going to be passing early and often. And that’s were Jim Haslett’s creativity needs to kick in. Aaron Rodgers is too smart of a quarterback for the Redskins to play a simple cover two that they did last week. They’re going to have to change coverages and not miss any assignments. Blitzing will be difficult since Aaron Rodgers numbers when being blitzed were off the charts last year and Mike McCarthy does a good job of calling plays that require Rodgers to get rid of the ball quickly.
I’m sick and tired of seeing Orakpo being put in a sleeper hold every time he rushes the quarterback and he is way over-due for a multi sack game. I would also pay close attention to how Haynesworth performs after his brother passed away this morning from a motorcycle accident. My thoughts and prayers go out to Haynesworth and his family. Lets also hope Lorenzo Alexander builds on his performance form last week in his second start at outside linebacker. I’m too scared to even mention Laron Landry; the man is going to kill somebody out there.
As for special teams, it wouldn’t hurt if Brandon Banks starts to consistently put the offense in good field position and maybe even take one to the house. Hunter “The Punter” Smith returns as punter, and in all honestly his return is most welcome. The punt coverage unit was great last year and its because of the great hang time Hunter gets on his punts. Don’t forget that he also threw for a touchdown and ran for one last year.
I’m looking for the Redskins to start off this game the way they started the Eagles game. That way we can get the home crowd in the game early and force all sorts of penalties. I’m also looking for the Redskins to play 4 full quarters of football instead of jumping out to a lead and then waiting for the last play of the game to secure the win.
My Prediction: Redskins 27 Packers 24 (ONLY if Trent Williams starts at LT)