Ahh Washington. I feel that what we have experienced with our Packers in the last couple months is what Washington fans have been dealing with for the last 10 years. Repeated disappointment. But in fairness, Washington has had their moments, their stretches of better-than-averageness. Lately, they have been experiencing one of those stretches. They’ve got a four game winning streak entering Sunday’s game.
And that’s where the casual viewer of this game will find the intrigue. Washington is coming in hot and oddly confident for an NFC East team; Green Bay is coming in with more questions than a stoned Socrates.
Clay Matthews et al vs Kirk Cousins
This is where the game should be won or lost. Cousins has come back from a pretty lame 2014 campaign with a pretty good 2015 season. The offense can’t run the ball with any consistency, so the scoring of points will be Cousins’ job. He’s not spectacular, but he can be consistent. If the Pack’s pass rush can get pressure to him, especially early, they may be able to rattle him for a time. I’m not going to put him in Teddy Bridgewater territory; I think Cousins is mentally stronger than that.
Rookie Cornerbacks vs DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon
It’ll be great if Sam Shields can play Sunday, but if not, Damarious Randall and Quinten Rollins (and the rest of the CBs) will have their hands full. Jackson and Garcon will stretch the field (and Jamison Crowder, not forgetting him) and wear out the secondary.
The corners need to be in full lockdown mode, I’m talking white-on-rice here. Lint-on-velcro. Me-on-a-Jeff Janis-bandwagon. We’re talking tight, solid coverage from the first few plays of the game onward. Without that, confidence will breed success, and then the Packers are in huge trouble.
John Kuhn vs Will Compton
Straight outta Compton? More like straight through Compton is where Kuhn needs to be going. Yeah, that was clever.
Compton is one of the top three tacklers that Washington has. The other two are in the secondary. Usually not a good sign, and indeed, that is the case with Washington. Their defense isn’t terribly good, but is goodly terrible, if that is a thing. Screw it, it’s a thing now. I’m making that a thing.
Packers Linebackers vs Jordan Reed
Jordan Reed may be more than a safety valve for Kirk Cousins. Jordan Reed is leading his team in receptions. He’s what Greg Olsen is to Cam Newton. Eliminate Reed, and you help yourself out a lot. The receivers can stretch the field and hit the big plays, but Reed can be that 10 catch 100 yard annoying bug of a tight end. And he can stretch the field too. Basically, he sucks and I hate him.
And by that, I mean he is very good when he stays healthy, which he basically has this year, and I hate him.
B.J. Raji vs Kory Lichtensteiger
Lichtensteiger is coming off of an injury that knocked him out of action in week 5, and boy, has the running game missed him. Head Coach Jay Gruden said that having Lichtensteiger on the field is like having “another quarterback on the field.” Washington’s entire line is likely to be riding a high with him back on the field, and the running backs are probably going to be thrilled to see his backside back on their side of the ball.