NFL Wild Card game 3 2016 – Green Bay Packers @ Washington Redskins

DSC_0198Form is often the key to winning playoff games some people say (although the statistics show that form teams only win about 52% of the playoff matches, so in reality form isn’t much of an advantage), the Redskins have the second longest winning streak in the NFL at the moment behind the Chiefs, so they have momentum behind them. They have won their last 4 games, which is hardly momentous in itself but their opponents the Packers go into this game with a losing streak after defeats to the Cardinals and their divisional rivals the Vikings last week at Lambeau Field. If the Packers had won last week, and Aaron Rodgers had a chance to perform one of his trademark last minute marvels, then they would have been playing a home game in -11 degree temperatures to the team everyone wants to avoid; the Seattle Seahawks, so maybe losing wasn’t the worst thing they could have done.
Recent results for both teams can be put down to their health, or lack thereof in the Packers case. The Packers have 6 players on their Injured Reserve list including 2 Wide Receivers, in addition to the 6 who definitely can’t play they have a further 18 players who are carrying injuries including starting Running Back Eddie Lacy, 6 Offensive Linemen and a Tight End. So Aaron Rodgers is playing with a patchwork offence around him, but that’s not all for the Packers they also listed 8 of the players from their Defensive front on this week’s official injury report including Pro-Bowler Clay Matthews and former Pro-Bowler Sam Shields so this really could be a shell of a what a healthy Green Bay team could look like. The Packers have managed to make 16 interceptions this season despite having a fairly fluid line-up and the Redskins have turned the ball over 22 times on Offence this season so Aaron Rodgers should have plenty of chances to work his magic albeit with a skeleton crew around him, Tight End Richard Rogers should be one of his main targets through the air and a big game from him would give the Redskins some problems.
Washington also have injury problems with 15 players on their Injured Reserve list and a further 11 on their injury report for this week including Running Back Matt Jones and their leading Wide Receiver DeSean Jackson. The Redskins have relied on their pass game for 77% of their touchdowns this season so if the injury to Jackson is significant enough to impact this facet of their play then they might be in trouble. Tight End Jordan Reed has caught 11 of their 30 touchdown passes this season though so he’ll be vital in the red zone, however if there’s no Jackson to stretch the field then Reed may well it difficult to find the space to catch passes. The Redskins lead the league in fumbles forced by their defence and with the strong possibility of heavy rain falling in D.C this afternoon the ball could be flying out of runner’s hands quite often.
It’s almost impossible to predict how the Packers will approach this game and if they even get close with the majority of their team banged up then I’m sure Mike McCarthy will be quietly pleased. Even the Bookmakers aren’t brave enough to pick a favourite for this game, personally I suspect the Redskins will continue their win streak but if DeSean Jackson is impeded by his knee injury this may well become a midfield battle dominated by the Running Backs and since the Redskins Defence has allowed just 11 rushing touchdowns compared to the Packers 14 the advantage should be with them.

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