Sunday, October 10, 2010

Packers vs. Redskins - let's call it...

I offered my preview, for the most part, in my post of late yesterday afternoon. In today's match up between our beloved Green Bay Packers and the Washington Redskins I just have to admit that on this one...I am a bit, oh, unclear as to outcome.

It's a very strange space in which to be. The first two games of the season, I had it pretty well called. In fact, I nailed the score of both teams right on the money in the opener versus Philadelphia, had the Packers' score right on the button in the game against the Bills, and had the score of the winning team in game #3, too. Unfortunately, that score turned out to be in favor of Da Bearz not the Pack as I had anticipated. Last week, I figured coming off that horrible performance in Chicago they'd have the guns blazing and blow out Detroit at Lambeau. Didn't quite turn out that way, as the Pack were lucky to survive their many mistakes in that game and come out with a squeaker of a win.

So the performances of the last two weeks by the Pack leaves me underwhelmed, particularly with the inconsistency on offense. But if ever there was an opportunity to get things going it should be against Washington: they have the NFL's 31st-ranked pass defense. They also haven't exhibited much in the way of pressure on opposing quarterbacks. If the Packers' makeshift running game can at least keep the defense honest, QB Aaron Rodgers could and should have a big day.

Now, however, toss in to the mix the fact that the defensive unit, because of injuries, will resemble more of a preseason squad than regulars and it gives a Packer fan pause, ya know? After all, if the Lions were able to do what they did at Lambeau Field last weekend, what might the Redskins do on their home turf?

Offensively, the 'skins have enough weapons to not only test but do damage against the Pack's beat up defense. It will really take great effort on the part of the backups who are now called upon to start to keep QB Donovan McNabb in check. He's got a good tight end in Chris Cooley who could cause problems in coverage for the Pack's linebackers, who will be missing starter Nick Barnett and their best coverage linebacker, Brandon Chillar. There is also a Redskins' deep threat in WR Anthony Armstrong who caught a 57-yarder last week. And RB Ryan Torain will be getting just his second start, filling in for the injured Clinton Portis. Washington head coach Mike Shanahan drafted Torain while in Denver, and believes he is -- or can be -- a big-time running back. Let's hope that doesn't start today.

So, where does this leave us besides very confused about what to expect today? I guess nowhere. The Packers are favored by 2-1/2 points. I have the sense that it will be a high scoring game with neither defense holding serve, so to speak. Could look like some of the games we saw late last season where which team has the ball last wins. Prior to the season, I had this game going into the "W" column when giving my overall win/loss prediction. But that was before all the injuries and inconsistent play. The Pack is the better team. But over the past two weeks, especially, they haven't played like it. And with the hits to the defense this past week, they've gotten weaker. Aaron Rodgers and the offense is going to have carry the day big-time if the Pack is to come out of this game with a win. They can do it. But will they? No clue. I have just as much a sense that the Redskins could get the "W" as could the Packers. (I hate it when that happens!)

Right now, I see this game as a toss up, unfortunately. But I'll put on the Green-'n'-Gold-colored glasses and take the Packers 31-30.

Go Pack Go!!!