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    • 2016 Week 11 - Packers @ Redskins

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      Blognosticator - Om

      Blognostication 2016 – Redskins vs Packers

      The Redskins notched a significant win last week against the Minnesota Vikings. The significance was not so much about beating the suddenly downward-trending Vikings, it was about the Redskins rising to the occasion and taking care of business—which is not something they have done with any degree of consistency over the past quarter-century.

      What did the Redskins accomplish? They beat another team with a winning record. They beat a team sporting the top scoring defense in football, rolling up 388 yards of offense and notching the highest point output against said defense since week 12 of last year. They beat a respectable team in the kind of game the Redskins have all too often tanked—a non-“Code Red” game they didn’t technically have to win to stay playoff relevant.

      Another thing they accomplished, of course, was making this Sunday’s game against Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers an even bigger opportunity to claim relevance. In order to move to 6-3-1 and keep pace with other NFC Wildcard hopefuls (we’ll save NFCE division title relevance for now--the Redskins will need to keep winning, and hope the high-flying Cowboys, and rookie sensations QB Dak Prescott and RB Ezekiel Elliot to remember they’re mortal, and open the door), here are some of the things they’ll need to overcome:

      QB Aaron Rodgers. Show me a Redskins fan who truly believes Rodgers is “done” and no longer a threat to get hot against the Redskins so-so pass defense, and hang 30+ on the board, and I’ll show you someone who might consider a different color shades.

      Prime Time. Show me a Redskins fan who doesn’t look at a prime-time national game, against an Aaron Rodgers-led kind of team, and get a little queasy, and I’ll show you someone who goes to bed early.

      That damned Bootleg Pass. Remember week two, when Dak Prescott kept faking the handoff one way, bootlegging the other way, and finding uncovered receivers, over and over again … and how our defense either would not or could not adjust? Well, it happened again last week against the Vikings and lumbering QB Sam Bradford. My throat is still sore from yelling at my TV to, for the love of all that is holy, ADJUST already. Think the Packers haven’t watched the film?

      Opportunity. Yep. Here we are again. The Redskins are face-to-face with another golden opportunity to take a huge step forward in their return to relevance. To make a statement (yeah it’s a cliché, but a damned good one) both to themselves and the league. No, they don’t “have” to win to keep their playoff hopes alive, but just imagine, come Monday morning, waking up to our favorite team 6-3-1, winners of two in a row to start the gauntlet of second-half games we have spoken so much about, having bested future first-ballot Hall of Fame QB Aaron Rodgers on the big stage, under the bright lights, in front of a national audience.

      So what’s it going to take? Some combination of these unremarkable but crucial elements:

      - Not making the mountain steeper than it already is with turnovers, killer penalties, busted coverages, etc.
      - Discipline on defense—Rodgers IS going to break the pocket and slide around looking downfield—and solid tackling.
      - The offensive replacements—LT Ty Nsekhe and whichever WR not named Desean Jackson (assuming he’s out) gets his meaningful reps—at least tread water again, as they did last week.
      - OC Sean McVay and DC Joe Barry calling themselves creative and solid games.
      - RB Robert Kelley continuing to provide a credible running attack to balance the offense.
      - K Dustin Hopkins being money (psst, Dustin, London never happened).
      - And, of course, QB Kirk Cousins turning in another solid game, hopefully with the added bonus of finishing drives with touchdowns.

      I’m going to put the over/under on points the Redskins will need to score to win at 31. That assumes that the defense remains, at worst, competitive, and doesn’t allow Rodgers to simply go off. It doesn’t matter when the Redskins points come from, either. A defensive score sure would be nice for a change … another kick return wouldn’t hurt my feelings either.

      Sitting here on Thursday, I’m feeling pretty good about our chances to get it done. Mostly because, since midway through last season, the Redskins have become a pretty competitive team. The only notable exceptions to that trend have been the opener this year against Pittsburgh, when the Redskins looked like they hadn’t gotten the memo the games were for real yet … and, of course, last year’s playoff game against—you guessed it—Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers. Life has a way of bringing things into focus, does it not?

      Oh, I know full well that come kickoff Sunday night, a quarter-century of Opportunity Games squandered, and Prime Time games spent sinking lower and lower into the sofa as the wheels inexorably fell off, that my gut will be churning, and that creeping sense of dread will be tapping at my shoulder. We are creatures of conditioning, after all.

      But this is 2016, and these aren’t those Redskins … so the hell with that.

      Redskins 31, Packers 30

      Hail.
      This article was originally published in blog: 2016 Week 11 - Packers @ Redskins started by Blognostications
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