Tha Sports Junkies 101

Washington Redskins Week 11 Preview: Skins set for Playoff Rematch with Green Bay

Green Bay Packers Keith Allison


The last time the Green Bay Packers visited Fed Ex Field they abruptly ended the season of the Washington Redskins.

Although the Green Bay Packers are 4-5 they are still a dangerous opponent for the Washington Redskins. Before their wildcard game in last year’s playoffs, the Packers were enduring some of the hardships they are now facing, however they easily defeat Washington 35-18.

Fast forward 10 months later, and both teams are jockeying for playoff positioning within the NFC. At 5-3-1 Washington currently is the sixth seed. To create separation from the rest of the NFC, a win over Green Bay would be essential. Last week, the Tennessee Titans upset the Packers 45-27. The defense of Green Bay allowed the Titans to jump out to a quick 21-0 lead within the first quarter.

The Packers stout rush defense was gashed for 162 rushing yards. Marcus Mariota turned in his finest game as a professional. Mariota finished 19/26 with 295 yards, four touchdowns, and a passer rating of 149.8.

The Titans defense was able to harass quarterback Aaron Rodgers to the tune of five sacks. During their loss at Tennessee, the Packers lost starting offensive linemen  T.J. Lang and David Bakhtiari.

Lang is battling a hip injury that will more than likely keep him out of the game against Washington. Bakhtiari however, listed himself as day-to-day with a knee injury. Starting inside linebacker Jake Ryan was also injured in the loss against the Titans as he was carted off the field due to an ankle injury.

Nightmares in Prime Time

Since Dan Snyder took over as owner for the Redskins in 1999, Washington is 20-36 in primetime games. To make matters worse, the Skins’ are 5-20 in primetime games at home. That includes the 38-16 shellacking the Redskins took at the hands of the Steelers in week one.

Washington has been outscored 662-423 in those games. The Green Bay Packers are 21-15 in regular season primetime games since 2008. In order to take the next step. the Washington Redskins will have to exorcise there demons on the national stage.

“The Impact of “Fat Rob”

Robert Kelley is not a household name but after week 11, the rest of the nation will realize the impact that Kelley has had on the Redskins offense. Against the Bengals, Kelley finished with 21 carries for 87 yards. Last week against the Minnesota Vikings, Kelley ended the game with 22 carries for 97 yards. Kelley has been the stabling force for Kirk Cousins and the Redskins offense.

According to ESPN Stats and Info, Rob Kelley has averaged 4.8 yards per rush, good enough for 10th in the NFL. Kirk Cousins has been much more effective on play-action with Kelley on the field, posting a 96.6 Total QBR  and 76.8 without Kelley on the field. The Green Bay Packers rank 25th in the NFL defending play-action passes. with a QBR of 85.6. (out of 100)

Kelley has only two negative rushes all season. As a result, the Redskins have been able to stay in a lot of favorable down-and-distance situations.  A major catalyst in last season’s playoff loss to the Packers was the Redskins lack of consistency running the football. Washington attempted 46 passes compared to 16 runs. With Kelley in the fold, the Redskins have a serious threat at the running back.

Kirk Cousins Prepped for Big Game

Kirk Cousins is finally starting to hit his stride for the Redskins. After two dismal outings to start the season, Cousins and the Redskins are 5-1-1. The first two weeks of the season, Cousins had one TD, two INT’s, and a 19.6 passer rating inside of the red zone. In weeks 3-10: seven TD’s, zero INT’s, and a 97.7 passer rating

Jay Gruden and Sean McVay deserve alot of credit for his improved play as well. McVay and Gruden have featured more snaps for Cousins under center than in the shotgun. Cousins has thrived under center the past two weeks. He’s completing 77.7 percent of his passes and a 131.1 passer rating under center, compared to completing 60.3 percent in the shotgun along with a 86.5 passer rating.

Green Bay ranks 29th in opponent passer rating. Last week at Tennessee, the Packers defense allowed five touchdown passes and only seven incompletions. With the return of DeSean Jackson, the Redskins offense may finally “explode”. Kirk Cousins excels at distributing the football, as six receivers have at least 26 catches. The Packers are banged up in the secondary and at the linebacker. With Jackson returning as Washington’s primary deep threat, Kelley should see more seven-man fronts.

The Packers were unable to contain tight end Delanie Walker last week. Walker had his best game of the season finishing with nine catches for 124 yards and a touchdown. Jordan Reed and Vernon Davis could both be in store for big games. Davis has forced nine missed tackles on receptions this season, tied for the most among tight ends. Jordan Reed has the third-most, with eight. Expect Cousins to look to his tight ends early and often.

The Big Payback

This is a game that Redskins coaches and players have had circled since the schedule was released in April. Aaron Rodgers and the Packers offense had their way with the Redskins defense as he finished the game with 210 yards and two touchdowns, completing 21 of 36 passes.

The Packers were also effective in their rushing attack picking up 142 rushing yards. James Starks and Eddie Lacy gashed the Skins’ on cutback runs. The Packers didn’t have much of a rushing attack entering the playoff game, but found success in the playoffs with cutback runs. The Packers had gains of 20, 11, 30 and 22 yards on cutback runs. Other than the safety by Preston Smith, the Redskins were unable to generate pressure on Aaron Rodgers.

Redskins defensive coordinator Joe Barry vividly remembers the playoff loss , and he’ll be sure to have a solid game-plan for Aaron Rodgers and Co. Barry has found success when rushing Ryan Kerrigan, Trent Murphy, Preston Smith and Su’a Cravens.

The Redskins hope is that  Smith builds off a strong performance against the Vikings. as well as Cravens who also had a solid game against Minnesota. Rodgers should be weary of the foursome on passing situations.

Outside linebacker Julius Peppers has guaranteed a victory for the Packers despite their recent struggles. In January, Peppers and the Packers pass rush harassed Cousins all game, sacking him six times and forcing three fumbles. Washington is second in the NFL in sacks allowed this season, so protecting Cousins will be at a premium Sunday night.

The Green Bay Packers have the fourth-best run defense (85.3 yards per game) in the NFL, and they’re ranked 10th in total defense (339.1 yards per game). However, they allow 25.1 points per game, which ranks 24th in the NFL.

Game Prediction

This game will ultimately come down how much pressure the Redskins defense can get on Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers is having a fine season, completing 63.1 percent of his passes with 2,410 passing yards, 22 touchdowns and seven interceptions.

Despite the solid numbers, Rodgers is unable to push the ball down field as he only averages 6.5 yards per attempt.  The Green Bay Packers are 1-3 on the road this season, with their only win coming in week one against the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Packers defense has given up 33, 31 and 47 points during their losing streak.

Green Bay 27 Washington 31