Redskins vs. Packers

The Redskins have a chance to win their second straight, inching closer to .500 with a win. They'll need a strong effort to do so against a Packers team that is hot.

The good news: Green Bay's defense is susceptible, particularly with a banged-up secondary. The Packers have looked bad defensively at times, giving the Redskins a chance to finally get something started offensively. Green Bay's linebackers haven't always done a good job filling their gaps, often shooting too fast into one. A back with excellent vision such as Clinton Portis should be able to cut back well against them. Get the 'backers in a hole, then bounce outside. It's worked for other opponents.

The bad news: The Packers' run defense is much different with mammoth nose guard Grady Jackson. Matched against this Redskins interior, it could make for a long day up the middle. But fat guys don't usually move well laterally and the Redskins' running game can make that happen. However, Mark Brunell must be much sharper than he's been all year. Because this probably won't be a low-scoring game, the Redskins need Brunell to play well.

On the other side: Washington's defense has played well all season. The Redskins are becoming used to playing without all of their starters and Gregg Williams' scheme allows for smooth transitions. Because he uses a lot of packages, each player is involved in the game and each player must prepare well, knowing they'll play that week. Williams also knows exactly how to use each player.

The problem: With Sean Taylor sidelined because of his foolish actions, the Redskins are left with two inexperienced, and less-talented, safeties. You don't want to enter a game against Brett Favre with Andre Lott and Ryan Clark as the starters. But Lott at least is a good coverman and Clark does a nice job against the run. Problem is, Taylor covers more ground. And if you're going to blitz often, then you'd better have a safety who can make up for a lot of sins. Not sure the Redskins have that today. If the Redskins lose, Taylor should feel absolutely horrible. Maybe the kid will learn a lesson.

Big matchup: The Redskins haven't faced an explosive passing game like Green Bay's, with dangerous wideout Jevon Walker. Actually, the Packers have more playmakers than Washington has faced all year because of running back Ahman Green. But if the Redskins leave the corners in lots of man coverage because of blitzes, then they must have a strong game against the likes of Walker.

Time to learn about: the defense? Maybe not. Yes, this is the most balanced offense they've faced. But don't read too much into what the defense does. This could be the game where all the injuries, and benchings, catch up to them. It's a lot to ask to play at such a high level with so many backups. Though the offenses they've faced haven't been impressive, what the Redskins have done despite the injuries is darn good.

Time heals: the Redskins' wounds. They were banged up after the Chicago game, but are much healthier now (even if LaVar Arrington and John Hall can't play). They're mentally recharged and have remained upbeat, confident they're in the midst of a turnaround. Also, those involved in the passing game say things have been tweaked, giving them much more hope than they've had in the past.

Prediction: The turnaround won't start today. Green Bay has too much firepower and the Redskins have yet to prove they can outshoot anyone. Maybe they prove it today. But I'm not counting on it: Green Bay 23-13.


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