The Green Bay Packers enter the second leg of their three-game road trip with a match up against the Washington Redskins. And once again, the Packers will be without a bevy of starters. They continue to lose players both offensively and defensively. On top of that, the players that do remain, are having a tough time finding any type of cohesiveness. Without it, this team will continue to sink deeper into mediocrity. Here are three ways to rectify that:
Packers WR’s v Redskins DB’s
It’s becoming clear. Aaron Rodgers is not quite the same as we have grown accustomed to. He is missing throws, pointing fingers, and most of all, hiding from any type of leadership role. The Packers have relied so heavily on Rodgers and his pin-point accuracy. It’s time these wide receivers step up and help him get back on point.
Davante Adams has rebounded from a horrendous season last year in which he was thrust into the #1 position. In his third season, he has risen to the challenge, and now ranks in the top 25 in yards, receptions, and touchdowns. Kendall Fuller, a rookie cornerback in Washington, will most likely line up across from Adams, which will allow Adams to continue to shine.
Jordy Nelson continues to battle criticism after his return from his ACL tear last year. In spite of said criticism, he still ranks in the top 20 in yards and receptions, while sitting second in touchdowns. So, to say he is having an off year is more off than anything. He continues to produce, but will have a tough task this week against Mr. Josh Norman.
The Packers will likely have free agent signing TE Jared Cook back from an ankle injury and the Redskins will have to line up Bashaud “Big Play” Breeland on Randall Cobb. It appears as if the Packers talent outweighs that of the Redskins secondary. However, this team has struggled with any sort of consistency so it remains a toss-up.
Matthews Must Rescue the Defense!
After a year where the offense struggled mightily, and many fans chalked it up to the absence of Jordy Nelson; we enter a new year and have a similar problem on the defensive side of the ball. Clay Matthews has missed three consecutive games and in those three games the Packer have let up a combined 111 points.
Luckily for the Packers, Matthews is set to return against the Redskins on Sunday night. The last time Matthews lined up across from Kirk Cousins, he registered 1.5 sacks. In fact, Green Bay racked up a total of six sacks in the NFC Playoff game. Expect Dom Capers to put a lot of pressure on Cousins in hopes that his bruised and battered secondary can get bailed out.
And they are going to need any help they can get. Washington is loaded with mid-level to top tier talent on offense. DeSean Jackson appears to be inactive for the game, but Pierre Garcon and Jamison Crowder are suiting up and playing at a high level. Matthews must bring his fire and motor to this defense if they hope to not get embarrassed on national TV.
Stop Wasington’s Tight Ends
As if the wide receiver corps wasn’t enough to worry about, the tight ends pose an even larger threat. The Packers have had trouble covering tight ends already this year, especially last week with Delanie Walker who put up 124 yards and 1 touchdown. Even worse, the Packers will enter the game without their top tackler, ILB Jake Ryan. Leaving rookie Blake Martinez and undrafted free agent Joe Thomas.
Jordan Reed continues to show his dominance. In seven games this season, he’s tallied 456 yards and three touchdowns. Last year, Reed lit up the Packers defense when he grabbed nine receptions for 120 yards and a touchdown in the NFC wild card game.
More surprisingly, Vernon Davis has had a career resurgence in the past few weeks. Davis has raked in 15 catches for 288 yards and two touchdowns in the last four weeks. At the ripe age of 32 years, Davis is on his third team and looks to be having a fine time in the nation’s capital.
The Packers have a long list of problems to overcome on Sunday night. At the top of that list is injuries. But, after last week’s debacle in Tennessee, the Packers will look to bounce back against a Washington team that is coming together nicely. The match ups are in the Redskins favor, but if there is one thing that is certain, it is that you never quite know what can happen with Aaron Rodgers at the helm.
Green Bay Packers – 24
Washington Redskins – 19