The Green Bay Packers go into their Week 7 matchup with the Washington Football Team looking to not only secure the win, but to do so in decisive fashion.
So far this season, the Packers have been eking out close wins against (most of) their opponents. I wrote a couple weeks back about how the track record of close games is reminiscent of the 2019 team that went to the NFC Championship game. The average margin of victory is narrow, and without a few swing plays, Green Bay could be staring at a worse record than 5-1.
Fortunately, the Packers go into this week against an NFC East opponent, representing a division in perpetual disarray outside of Mike McCarthy’s Dallas Cowboys. Green Bay has an opportunity to beat up on an inferior team at home. Washington is the second-best team in the NFC East at 2-4, and their team statistics do not suggest that they will improve much any time soon.
As far as the matchup with the Packers is concerned, both teams will meet with adequate offensive talent. The WFT offense does not have the star power that Green Bay does, but I would be remiss to discount the trio of Antonio Gibson, J.D. McKissic, and Terry McLaurin as ineffective. Both Gibson and McKissic have notched a respectable four yards per carry on the year en route to assisting the WFT to 106.3 rushing yards per game — only three YPG behind the Packers (109.5).
Washington’s ground game should be able to find some success against a yet-again banged up Green Bay defense. If Kevin King (questionable) misses another game this week, McLaurin should also find himself in an opportunity to produce a good stat line against de-facto CB1 Eric Stokes. There will likely be some nervy moments on defense this week. But all Packers fans are accustomed to that by now, given Green Bay’s bevy of injuries and subsequent lack of starting personnel.
However, the expectation should still be that Green Bay throttles the WFT.
This prospective throttling will come by way of exposing Washington’s lack of defense. Where the WFT remains competitive by its offensive metrics falling just below league averages (21st in scoring), its defense gives up a whopping 430 yards and 31 points per game, a league worst. For reference, many Packers fans have griped about Joe Barry’s defense at times, and the Green Bay defense is giving up just north of 330 yards per game (fifth overall).
Washington’s passing defense is its worst component, giving up 317 passing yards per game alone. The only hope that the Football Team would seem to have is to overload their pass rush and maximize Chase Young. But with the imminent return of Elgton Jenkins, the Packers’ offensive line is nearing its return to full strength. This game should be a great opportunity for Aaron Rodgers and the rest of the offense to overcome their first-quarter scoring woes. An electric start to this game should be just what the doctor ordered en route to the Packers winning by a significant margin.
Considering Washington’s lack of pass defense, expect bigger games from Packers receivers not named Davante Adams. Randall Cobb should rebound from his zero-catch, zero-target week against the Bears last Sunday. Allen Lazard started to show some signs of life, so expect him to become more involved in the passing game. Even Equanimeous St. Brown had a touchdown wiped off the board last week. So with Marquez Valdes-Scantling out of the picture, EQ should be looking to do anything productive as he looks to hang on to his NFL career.
The victory over the Detroit Lions was definitive, but it required a comeback and second-half shutout after trailing 17-14. The Packers sorely need a comfortable win to ease some of the concerns about playing down to the level of their opponents. Given how bad Washington’s defense has been this year, expect aggressive playcalling from Matt LaFleur and plenty of shots downfield from Rodgers. The forecast for Sunday in Green Bay is a high of 53, mostly cloudy, with a light breeze of 10 mph. It is perfect fall football weather, and all signs point towards a huge victory for the Packers.