Why Packers Will Beat Washington and Why They Might Not

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After an impressive victory over the New York Giants last Sunday, the Packers sit in very good playoff position. 

But with a win over the Washington Redkins Sunday at Lambeau Field, the Packers would earn their 10th win and inch them even closer to the playoffs.

It would also keep the Packers three games clear of Chicago, with the Bears coming to town next week and at least one game ahead of Minnesota.

Green Bay controls its own destiny in the division with four games to go and after finishing out their schedule against NFC East teams today, the Packers will close with Chicago at home, at Minnesota and then at Detroit.

Back-to-back road games to close the season isn't ideal, which means every win is important. 

If the Packers can head into that stretch 11-3, a playoff spot will be all but guaranteed and the chances of winning the division will remain likely, although it may require a win at Minnesota.

Regardless of the division race, a win Sunday will be another step towards the postseason and that's why it's a must-win game for the Packers and with that in mind, here's why they will win and, why they might not:

Why Green Bay will win

Of course, the biggest advantage the Packers have is at quarterback and while Green Bay normally has the edge at the game's most important position, with Aaron Rodgers facing off against a rookie, Dwayne Haskins, the edge is rather one-sided.

The saying goes that if you have the better coach and the better quarterback, most of the time you will win and that should be the case Sunday.

Washington has been struggling all season long and until a couple of weeks ago, it had won just one game. But back-to-back wins over the Lions and Panthers have changed that.

Winning at Carolina last week should have put Green Bay on notice. However, facing Kyle Allen and Rodgers is a very different thing.

While Rodgers should feel good against a Redskins defense that is 23rd in the NFL in points allowed, the real weakness of Washington is the run defense.

Certainly, getting behind a lot won't help your run defense. But the Redkins have also allowed 10 of 13 opponents to rush for more than 100 yards and are 27th in rushing yards allowed.

Statisically, the Packers aren't all that impressive on offense or defense. Green Bay ranks 22nd in total offense and 28th in total defense, yet is 11th in points scored and 14th in points allowed.

Winning the turnover battle has been important all season and that will be key again Sunday. Haskins can be expected to make some mistakes and if Rodgers can avoid those, Green Bay should win the game.

Why Green Bay might lose

Believe it or not, the Redkins come in riding a two-game win streak and in the NFL, you never know what will happen in December.

Some teams quit, but Washington isn't one of those teams, especially after winning on the road, at Carolina. 

That should have been an eye-opener for the Packers, especially the more than 200 yards racked up on the ground. 

That's the biggest concern I'd have on the Green Bay side going into this game. The Redkins will look to establish the run with Derrius Guice and Adrian Peterson and if they can get going on the ground again, they will have a chance.

Even in the win last week, Haskins was sacked five times, so the pass rush should be able to get home and if the rookie is forced into tough situations, it's easy to see that leading to some interceptions and that's the recipe for a Green Bay win.

Basically, if the Redkins can dominate on the ground and stay in neutral or positive territory when it comes to turnovers, they will have a shot. 

Otherwise, the Packers should get win No. 10. 

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Chris is a sports journalist from Montana and has been blogging about the Packers since 2011. Chris has been a staff writer for CheeseheadTV since 2017 and looks forward to the day when Aaron Rodgers wins his second Super Bowl. Follow him @thepackersguru

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Comments (9)

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ShooterMcGee's picture

December 08, 2019 at 06:32 am

Green Bay ranks 22nd in total offense and 28th in total defense- is this correct? Our special teams must be outstanding then...lol.

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MarkinMadison's picture

December 08, 2019 at 07:57 am

Pro Football Reference says: Green Bay is 11th in total offense, 14th in scoring, 14th in the pass and 19th in the run.

13th in total defense, 14th in scoring, 22nd in passing, 28th against the run.

Lies, damn lies and statistics.

My question: How good is Matt LaFleur and how do we really know?

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sam1's picture

December 08, 2019 at 08:24 am

Anyone else question , "Impressive showing against Giants'? Yes they won by a large margin but to me impressive is a bit of a stretch! Do believe and hope Pack will win today though!

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Gort's picture

December 08, 2019 at 08:41 am

Not sure i completely agree with "impressive victory over the New York Giants". Final score yes, but during the middle part of the game not so much. Same thing concerns me today. Packers struggle vs. strong running and fast TEs and everybody knows that. Washington should try to exploit that against us. Pack surely should have the advantage on offense, but MLF seems to not yet developed the killer attitude. Yeah, I know 9-3, and I love that, but the skeptic in me gets the heebie geebies in games like this one.

Love the "lies, damn lies, and statistics" comments. One of my favorite sayings.

OBTW - my only game at Lambeau was 9/24/2001, first MNF game after 9/11, Packers vs. Redskins (37-0) .
Chris Gizzi led the team onto the field carrying a big US Flag and got the whole place fired up!

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Leatherhead's picture

December 08, 2019 at 10:45 am

We held them to 13 on their home field, which only one team did better. We scored over 30 points and were +3 in turnovers. What would have been impressive? 40-0?

Which defenses don’t struggle against fast TEs?

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flackcatcher's picture

December 08, 2019 at 09:46 am

Well, on this Sunday morning the only thing Packers fans care about is VICTORY!!! On with the SHORT FLACKY. We're at the point were every game is a grinder. There are no secrets, each team knows the other strengths, and weakness. Simply put. Execute or lose. That's what football is about at this time of year. Defense: Redskins front 7 is very good. Their secondary, at best below average. Packers: Injuries and loss of confidence has hurt this unit. It is clear Pettine no longer trusts some players he had hopes in, and that has restricted what formations he has been using over the past month. Those are issues for next season. Pettine has to scheme with what the Packers have. (Smiths... MORE QB FOR US... poor Kenny gets the leftovers... :-) How many turnovers this unit produces might be the difference today. Offense: Washington is limited, but like Green Bay wants to run to pass. Question is can they execute their scheme with the pressure Pettine is going to bring game long? Packers: Come on, we all know the drill. Will Rodgers run the game plan. Will the Packers run their scheme. Will Jones get ANY touches in today's game. Run to pass is key to taking pressure off this banged up O line and victory. Kicker: JK Scott is back after a couple of off weeks. Mason Crosby is having an all pro season. (poor Gute, a show me the money season....) Special Teams: I...never mind. This is the start of playoff run for this Packer team. How MLF gets this team ready for this game will determine the playoff picture for the rest of the season. Packers win. 31-17. DANG. Not so short. (heh heh heh...)

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Swisch's picture

December 08, 2019 at 10:50 am

The key for the Packers is to be overconfident and take the Redskins lightly.
On offense, mix in a few perfunctory runs, but mostly draw up long passes in the dirt -- and let it rip.
On defense, be loose, play for turnovers, and try to get in the way enough to eke out a win -- wildly celebrating any play that remotely rates a happy-face sticker with an exuberant little skit.
No need to overthink things, or exert too much effort. Just have fun and enjoy the inevitable victory.
;-)

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Tarynfor12's picture

December 08, 2019 at 11:06 am

The use of stats,for some, is the end all in determining who they believe is the better team. What these stat users fail to recognize is that the numbers between say the team ranked 1st and the team ranked 8th in any given category isn't that far apart to deem one better than the other. The same can be said for teams ranked in the 20's with other teams in the 20's. The only time the separation value ,using stats, is quantified is having a team ranked in the top 5 against a team in the 20's with a small chance of a greater defining separation value of a top 5 with a top 10-15.

The point is that the stat ranked separation for the Packers against any team above or below them is not so great that either is a clear cut better team. Yes, the most telling part is the QB then HC but even then, it's rarely a ' clear as day ' tell as to the better TEAM.

The average margin of victory I believe is 3-4 points with smaller degrees of change yearly. So, beside the blowout wins that skew the numbers, how is it that low ranking teams have wins.

Obtaining stats is a given and much of those stats are ' given ' to teams via garbage time play from a mindset on both sides of the ball. Defenses playing prevent and offenses playing safe toward a defense when game time play dictates. The Cowboy vs Chicago game is an example of such..Cowboys gained over 200 of the 324 passing yards in the last 5 mins while in a game they had no chance of winning. The Bears prevent defense allowed Prescott to get his numbers which ultimately keep him in the top 5 rankings where anyone with eyes knows he has no business being considered.

The biggest worry for me and this game is the Packers penchant for playing bad against rookie QB's, though prominent during the McCarthy years, I'm not satisfied as to the team pulling away from such demeanor under the new regime that is LaFleur's. The reason is the roller coastal weekly play they provide us.

On paper, anyone can find reason for this team or that team to win but outside of a total collapse in play by one or the other,it's the simple missed tackle, the dropped or caught Pass/INT, the made/missed FG, the yellow flag whether whether deemed good/bad etc that determines the winner or loser and stats are just what they are...numbers to be manipulated as seen fit.

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Gort's picture

December 08, 2019 at 11:37 am

"The biggest worry for me and this game is the Packers penchant for playing bad against rookie QB's, ".

Your concerns may be justified again with 3 CB's inactive today.

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