This is the second of a 16-part series where Hog Heaven looks at each game on the Washington Redskins 2013 schedule. We are 24 days away from the opening of training camp.
Sunday, Sep 15 – Redskins at Packers
Quarterback Match-up: NFL players ranked Packers QB Aaron Rodgers No. 6 of the Top 100 players of 2013. The Packers are what the Redskins want to be, perennial contenders. If the Redskins can beat Rodgers and the Packers in 2010 with Donovan McNabb, surely they can win in Green Bay with Kirk Cousins.
We caution Redskins fans not to expect Robert Griffin III’s return to the field before the Bye. Griffin is lobbying hard to return sooner, the same as he lobbied to return in the playoff game. We certainly hope he returns by week one or two, but there is no special urgency about it. Better that he returns fully mobile than he return early. Cousins is a better quarterback early in his career than McNabb was at the end of his. Washington can be competitive with Cousins under center.
Tom Clements vs. Jim Haslett: Tom Clements plays Obi-Wan to Aaron Rodgers, master and mentor to the young knight who defies the odds to save the girl. Well, I’m not sure of that last part, but Rodgers wins a lot of games and Clements is part of the very stable Packers organization that helps Rodgers succeed. What will Clements do about the 87 sacks Rodgers took over the past two seasons?
Flipping linemen is one answer. T Brian Bulaga and G Josh Sitton move from the right side of the offensive line to the left. Jim Haslett may attack the right side of Green Bay’s O-line, which is not Rodgers blind side. He will see the pressure coming and is deft enough to defeat it. But Haslett needs pressure from Ryan Kerrigan and by Brian Orakpo to ease pressure on Washington’s notorious secondary, especially when one of the rookie safeties is on the field. The NFL’s sixth-best player will drool over that.
Kyle Shanahan vs. Dom Capers: Dom Capers is arguably the best defensive coordinator in the NFL. This acorn from Bill Cowher’s coaching tree had the Packers ranked 11th in overall defense last season, but Green Bay weakness, such as it is, is the rushing game on defense and on offense.
That could be all the opening Kyle Shanahan needs. The best way to attack the Packers is to run the ball with Griffin and Alfred Morris, or with Morris and Roy Helu if Griffin is out, then Washington not only exploits Green Bay’s run defense, but also keep Rodgers where we want him, on the sideline.
Storyline: Opponents like Green Bay tell you how good you are. Septembers are pleasant in Wisconsin. Snow is unlikely. Pity the poor Cowboys who visit mid-December. I understand scheduling issues and the need to balance premier time slots across teams, but the league will regret not scheduling this game as the Sunday doubleheader.
Way too early prediction: If Griffin starts week one, Hog Heaven expects the Redskins to win three of their first four games. If Cousins starts, the Redskins will win two or three of their first four games. The Packers are hard to beat in Green Bay regardless of who starts for Washington. However we cut it, this game at Lambeau Field is a probable loss.
Tomorrow: Week 3, Lions at Redskins
“Way too early prediction” means we reserve the right to change our minds after we see these teams in preseason games. Look for Hog Heaven’s stake-in-the-ground prediction the week before game one.
This story idea was inspired by the Big Ten Network Tom Dienhart who is running a similar series for the B1G football season.
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