Sunday, November 20, 2016

NFL 2016 Week 11: Packers vs. Washington Preview and Prediction

The Green Bay Packers take on Washington in a little more than an hour from this writing. Will the Pack get back to .500 (5-5) with a win? Or will another wheel fall off and see the Packers go to 4-6 on the season. The oddsmakers are projecting the latter, with the Pack being a 3-point underdog.

Among Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel sports writers making projections, three out of four picked Washington.

How are you feeling, Packer fans?

Packers announcer (and Packers Hall of Fame member) Larry McCarren says in his scouting report that he likes the Washington team he sees. He notes they are a better team than the one the Pack defeated last year during their playoff run. They have a decent quarterback in Kirk Cousins, some very good receivers and tight ends who can stretch the field (oh-oh) and a servicable pass rush on defense. McCarren's scouting report also noted that Washington does leave some openings over the middle and in the defensive backfield. So if Aaron Rodgers is able to find open receivers -- a problem for the Packers in recent games, true -- the Packers should be able to hold up in the scoring department. Getting TE Jared Cook back for some plays, as well as newly-acquired running back Christine Michael in the mix in a limited way, may provide a few tools for Rodgers that he hasn't had available in a while.

The big question mark, though, as it has been the last three games, is the Packers defense. Giving up the huge point totals, and with slow starts to boot, has killed this team in each of those games. If that doesn't change tonight, there is not much chance the Pack will come out on top given what we've been witnessing. The defense should get a boost from the suspected return of Clay Matthews. The Packers also signed LB Carl Bradford off the practice squad, releasing TE Justin Perillo to make room on the roster, but if Bradford has to see extended duty tonight you know things are not going well.
OLB Clay Matthews is expected to return
to action tonight against Washington.

Photo by Rick Wood, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

The Prediction
The Packers need this game to stay one game back of both Detroit and Minnesota who each won today and are now 6-4 on the season. They also need this game to restore some of their confidence, individually and collectively. Can they? We hope so. Will they? We don't think so.

Regrettably, we're calling this game 31-24 in favor of Washington.

That doesn't stop us, though, from saying...Go Pack Go!!!