Green Bay (10-6) at Washington (9-7)
When: Sunday, January 10th 2016
Where: FedEx Field, Landover, MD
Time: 4:40 ET | TV: FOX
Two teams going in opposite directions meet in an NFC Wild Card game as the Washington Redskins host the Green Bay Packers. Washington didn’t get above .500 until Week 16 and did not post consecutive victories all season until winning their last four. Kirk Cousins and the offense took off in the month of December averaging 32.2 points a game, but also let up 23.2 points a contest. Cousins finished the season with 11 touchdowns and zero interceptions in this last three games despite only playing the first half last week against Dallas. Tight end Jordan Reed caught just four balls last week, but had 25 catches for 333 yards and five scores in the previous three. Running back Alfred Morris is coming off his first 100-yard game since Week 1 and totaled 751 yards for the season, but scored only once. Washington recorded 14 sacks over the last three games, but as I mentioned above, they let up a lot of points. They finished 17th in points allowed (23.7), 28th in total defense (380.6), and 25th against the pass (258.0). They only had two playoff teams on their schedule and lost them both (Patriots 27-10 and Panthers 44-16). They were much better at home winning six of their last seven at FedEx Field. The Redskins will be seeking their first playoff victory in 10 years.
Green Bay started out 6-0 and it looked like they didn’t miss WR Jordy Nelson at all. As the season went on, you can tell Rodgers missed his star wideout. Rodgers finished the season with a career-low passing rating (92.7) and completion percentage (60.7) since he took over as the team’s starter in 2008. He had trouble finding success down the field as evident of his 3,821 yards – his lowest total in which he played a full season. His top target Randall Cobb caught 79 passes, but only had 829 yards and has been limited to 92 yards on 14 catches the last three weeks. The Packers began a three-game winning streak on December 3rd when Rodgers hit Richard Rodgers in the end zone with a Hail Mary to beat Detroit. Then they ran into Arizona and got creamed 38-8 and lost the NFC North title at home to Minnesota last week 20-13. A 30-13 win at Minnesota on November 22nd is the only time the Packers have beaten a team with a winning record at the time. Rodgers is not getting much help from a ground game that produced just 75 yards in last week’s loss, including 34 on 13 carries by Eddie Lacy. Their defense does set up well against the Redskins passing game. Green Bay ranked 6th in the league in defending the pass allowing 227.6 yards a game.
Common sense says take the hotter team heading into the Playoffs and that’s probably what will happen, but I just like Rodgers and the experience in this one for some reason. Washington can’t defend the pass and their running game is not great. I think the Packers can slow down Cousins and Rodgers will have a big day.
Pick: Packers -1