Green Bay Packers v. Washington: 5 Burning Questions

LANDOVER, MD - NOVEMBER 24: Derrius Guice #29 of the Washington Redskins carries the ball as Tavon Wilson #32 of the Detroit Lions defends during the first half at FedExField on November 24, 2019 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)
LANDOVER, MD - NOVEMBER 24: Derrius Guice #29 of the Washington Redskins carries the ball as Tavon Wilson #32 of the Detroit Lions defends during the first half at FedExField on November 24, 2019 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images) /

Before the Green Bay Packers and the Washington Redskins take the field on Sunday, these are the five burning questions in which the answers will determine the outcome of the game.

Although initially it didn’t come easy, the Green Bay Packers are back on track after a 31-13 win last Sunday over the New York Giants. That coupled with a Minnesota Vikings’ loss to Seattle and the Packers are once again alone at the top of the NFC North. However, with the Vikings just a game back and a Chicago Bears team that is trending upwards and now at 7-6 on the season, when facing an opponent like the Washington Redskins, Green Bay needs to take care of business.

While Washington may just be 3-9 overall, they are actually on a two game winning streak after beating Detroit and Carolina in back-to-back weeks. If we learned anything from last week around the NFL, it is that no team should be taken lightly as we saw Washington, Miami, and Cincinnati all come away with victories. So the Green Bay Packers will have to be on their “A” game to avoid the upset. In the NFL there is no such thing as an easy win.

Now as we begin to look ahead to the game on Sunday between these two teams, these are the five big questions that I have about this matchup and the answers will likely determine the outcome of this game.

Will they stop the Washington run game?

As we all know by now, the Green Bay Packers run defense is very suspect. Through 13 weeks they are giving up an average of 124 rushing yards per game which ranks 25th in the NFL. And now this week, they’ll have to stop the two-headed monster that is Adrian Peterson and Derrius Guice.

Of course from over the years we have memories of Peterson running wild on this Packers’ defense etched into our brains and at 34-years-old, he continues to produce putting up 4.4 yards per carry this season. Meanwhile since returning from injury, Guice is averaging 5.5 yards per carry, including a 129 yard performance last week against the Panthers.

With a rookie quarterback and Bill Callahan as the head coach, all Washington wants to do is run the ball and if the Packers can slow Guice and Peterson down, it will put the game in Dwayne Haskins’ hands, which is exactly what Green Bay wants.

Can the Packer defense dominate for 60 minutes?

This season ‘bend but don’t break’ has been their mantra and up to this point the Packers have been one of the best defenses in football when it comes to keeping other teams out of the end zone once they’re inside the 20 yard line. However, before they get to that point, this Packer defense gives up a lot of yards.

But this week they will be going up against the worst offense in football, statistically speaking. And the Green Bay defense has a tremendous opportunity in front of them to dominate the opposing offense for a full 60 minutes.

Below, Zach Kruse of Packers Wire highlights just how bad this Washington offense has been this season:

All season long the Washington passing game has struggled, and since taking over as the starter, Dwayne Haskins has looked like an unprepared rookie quarterback. The Green Bay Packers’ focus should be on slowing the run game and from there, it should allow their defense to control the game.

Will the Packer WRs have another solid game?

To put it simply, during the four game stretch from Kansas City to San Francisco the production from the wide receivers not named Davante Adams was quite underwhelming. The combination of Geronimo Allison, Allen Lazard, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, and Jake Kumerow totaled 27 receptions for 245 yards – or just 9.1 yards per catch – with no touchdowns in those games.

However this past weekend against the New York Giants, we saw Lazard haul in three receptions for 103 yards with a touchdown, and although Allison had only two receptions, they came at big moments in the game, including a crucial fourth down conversion to extend the drive.

The lack of consistent production from the second and third wide receivers on this team has been an issue all season for this offense and it would be nice to see them put together another solid performance against Washington.

Can the Packer run game get going once again?

Unlike in years past, the Packer offense under coach Matt LaFleur has a much heavier focus on the run game and when Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams are picking up chunk yardage, it has helped open up the passing game for Aaron Rodgers and the offense has been at their best.

But against San Francisco and New York, the dynamic duo of Jones and Williams only mustered 3.2 yards per carry on 45 attempts during that span. And the negative effects on the offense because of this have been very noticeable. Green Bay couldn’t even move the ball in San Francisco and although they put up 31 points in New York, the offense looked very disjointed and out of rhythm.

This week they will face a Washington run defense that allows 131.6 rushing yards per game this season, which should provide Jones and Williams a great opportunity to get back on track.

Can the secondary slow Terry McLaurin?

The Washington passing game is one of the worst in the league but despite the poor quarterback play, wide receiver Terry McLaurin is having a stellar rookie season. In 11 games he has 646 receiving yards at 15.4 yards per catch with five touchdowns. In fact, Pro Football Focus has him ranked as the 16th highest graded receiver in all of football in 2019.

If Washington is going to do anything through the air, it will most likely be through McLaurin and for a Green Bay Packers team that has given up a number of big plays – including the most over 40 yards – and struggles covering the middle of the field, limiting his production is a must.

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This is a game that the Packers should win convincingly, but if they give up those 30 plus yard passes like they’ve done so often this season and allow Washington to score quick on those big plays, they just might hang around and make this game much closer than what it should be.