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Preview and Prediction for Green Bay-Washington

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Preview and Prediction for Green Bay-Washington

The Green Bay Packers hit the road for the first time in 2018 as they travel to Washington to take on Dan Snyder's sorry excuse for a professional football team. Mike McCarthy takes on Jay Gruden’s crew again after falling 42-24 last time they played in Washington.

Of course, last time around they were facing Kirk Cousins. This time around they’ll be facing Alex Smith, the quarterback Mike McCarthy had a hand in picking over Aaron Rodgers when he was offensive coordinator in San Francisco.

Last year in Kansas City, Smith was one of if not THE best deep ball thrower in the league. However, Gruden's offense has brought back the Captain Checkdown version of Smith that football fans remember throughout much of his career.

WHEN THE PACKERS HAVE THE BALL:

Aaron Rodgers will still be dealing with the knee injury suffered in Week 1 against the Bears, but his mobility last week in the game against the Minnesota Vikings was a pleasant surprise. If he’s able to move the way we saw down the stretch last Sunday, it should help open the offensive playbook for McCarthy, and not just in regards to bootleggs and rollouts for passing plays. Increased quarterback mobility should also help open up options in the running game, including the zone stretch plays the Packers like to use with the quarterback under center.

Of course, the big question this week is who Rodgers will be handing the ball to. Jamaal Williams will remain the starter, and Ty Montgomery will undoubtedly continue to be the 3rd down/2 Minute back. How does newly activated off suspension Aaron Jones fit into the mix?

My hunch is we’ll see Jones get a handful of carries at some point early on in the 1st half and if he’s able to get going, we’ll see a decent split between him and Williams as the game goes on. But if he looks ineffective and/or rusty after his two week layoff, McCarthy will stick with Williams exclusively.

For the record, I don’t expect that to happen. I think Jones will eat against a Washington defensed that is allowing 4.41 yards per carry through the first two weeks of the season.

When the Packers want to take to the air, things could get a little tougher. Washington defensive coordinator Greg Manusky heads what looks like a stingy passing defense. Top corner Josh Norman was dealing with an illness earlier this week but should be good to go. Davante Adams had a good game against Xavier Rhodes and figures to see Norman some on Sunday, though Manusky doesn’t typically travel his corners.

Rodgers will have to be patient and I wouldn’t expect a lot of big plays in the passing game. I do think Jimmy Graham is primed for a big game, as Washington had troubles with the tight end position last week when Andrew Luck found them five times, including once in the end zone.

WHEN WASHINGTON HAS THE BALL:

Adrian Peterson has made a living running through the Packers defense, but that will most likely not be the case this week. Yes, the Packers have been a bit less effective against the run than you would like the first two weeks of this season, but some of that is due to playing so many defensive backs and playing a lot of light boxes. I don’t expect Packers defensive coordinator Mike Pettine to utilize those tactics quite as much on Sunday, especially with the expected debut of rookie inside linebacker Oren Burks.

Peterson will undoubtedly get his carries but I’d be shocked if he’s very effective against the Packers defensive front.

Washington’s other running back, Chris Thompson, is a problem. He had a career-high 13 receptions for 92 yards last week. He has the shiftiness and athletic ability to give the Packers defense headaches all afternoon.

The other major weapon, and probably the biggest worry for the Packers, is tight end Jordan Reed.

Reed is second on the team in targets (after Thompson) for a reason. He’s a big target who can fly and offers an excellent option across the middle of the field. This is going to be a big test for Blake Martinez, Burks and the Packers safeties.

Another thing to watch for is Alex Smith’s mobility and his ability to tuck and run if he finds man coverage downfield and sees a bunch of defenders with their backs to the quarterback. Even in the latter part of his career, Smith is adept as a scrambler and can pick up first downs with his legs as easily as his arm.

PREDICTION:

I can see this game being frustratingly tight early on, with the Packers perhaps having to settle for a field goal or two before getting on track. Rodgers will need to be patient against a defense that won’t be giving up chunks of yardage. Eventually, however, Graham and Randall Cobb will find opportunities across the middle.

Gruden and Smith will be able to move the ball on the Packers defense, but ultimately I think Jaire Alexander and the Packers defensive line will end up being the difference.

Green Bay: 27

Washington: 21

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (10) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

GBPDAN1's picture

I'll take a 27-21 victory on the road. Then we win the next 3 prior to the bye. I will be at the first game after the bye against the Rams. What a huge road test that will be.

Go Pack!

stockholder's picture

Los Vegas says: by 3. After last week how can they be wrong? Packers by 3.

PatrickGB's picture

I say it’s a tie. Just kidding. I go along with Aaron Nagler. After all, he is never wrong.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

42-16 Packers. Kizer gets to play in the 4th quarter.

Bearmeat's picture

Wouldn't that be nice. I think it's a bit sparkle-pony-ish though. ;)

Personally, I'll go for 31-21 GB. Ho Hum. I expect to win the next four ho hum, actually.

Lare's picture

If the Redskins attack the weaknesses on the Packers roster (McCray, LB's, safeties) this could be a lot closer than many people expect.

In the end though, the Packers are the better team and should win 24-21.

4thand10's picture

“My hunch is we’ll see Jones get a handful of carries at some point early on in the 1st half and if he’s able to get going, we’ll see a decent split between him and Williams as the game goes on. But if he looks ineffective and/or rusty after his two week layoff, McCarthy will stick with Williams exclusively.“

I’m kinda hoping to see both Jones and Williams in the backfield on each side of Rodgers. Keep the defense Guessing who’s getting it or is Rodgers throwing it! Plus..as an added bonus, that set up would protect Rodgers further.

Since '61's picture

After playing two tough, emotional, roller coaster games versus the Bears and the Queens the Redskins should be less of a challenge but we are playing on the road.

If our OL, DL and CBs hold up as they have over the first 2 games Rodgers and his offensive weapons should do the rest. I like the Pack 27 -14. Go Pack Go!
Thanks, Since '61

P.S. Hope the refs don't screw us over again.

EddieLeeIvory's picture

Here at FedEx Field....rainy..... coolish...
This should be close to 40, 50% Packers fans.

Tickets are cheap.... little optimism from Red Skin nation for this club.

All Packer fans within a 2-3 hour drive should be here.....but this rain & 61 degrees is not ideal. Unseasonable.

Packers 26
Red Skins 21

PackfanNY's picture

31-17 Packers in a ho hum game. I think Redskin defense is getting way too much early season credit (just two games, one a loss at home and the other against a suspect Arizona team). Weather could be a factor and may hold the score down but I think our running game shows up today.

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