Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, November 16, four days before the Washington Redskins play the Green Bay Packers at FedEx Field.
—Today's schedule: Practice 1 p.m.; Jay Gruden and Kirk Cousins press conferences and player availability after practice, approx. 3 p.m.
—Days until: Redskins @ Cowboys on Thanksgiving 9; Redskins @ Cardinals 18; Redskins @ Eagles 26
Redskins vs. Packers
NBC 8:30 p.m., Mike Tirico and Cris Collinsworth
Line: Redskins -3
First look at Redskins vs. Packers
Stat to note: Aaron Rodgers has thrown for an average of 6.5 yards per pass attempt this year. That’s 29th in the NFL and more than half a yard lower than the NFL average of 7.3. There is a popular perception that things have been better since Jordy Nelson started to round back into form after his 2015 ACL, but Rodgers' average per attempt has been just 6.6 over the last four games. He’s still a great player and you have to assume that he can break out at any time, but so far this year his performance has been quite spotty.
Under the radar player: With Clay Matthews having played only five games due to ankle and hamstring injuries, the Packers’ leading sacker is linebacker Nick Perry with six. The 26-year-old is having a career year; he had no more than four sacks in any of his previous four full seasons. The former first-round pick usually lines up on the left side so Morgan Moses will be responsible for keeping him away from Kirk Cousins.
Redskins Strength vs. Packers Weakness: The Packers have one of the worst pass defenses in the NFL, allowing 8.2 yards per pass attempt. They also give up a lot of big pass plays; they have given up 21 passes of 25 yards or longer. Only four NFL teams have given up more. The Redskins average 7.7 yards per pass attempt, 10th in the NFL. They have 23 pass plays of 25-plus yards, tied for fourth in the league. Kirk Cousins could be set up for a big day.
Redskins Strength vs. Packers Strength: Peppers, Nick Perry, and, when healthy, Matthews give the Packers a formidable pass rush. They have sacks on 7.4 percent of their opponents’ pass plays. The Redskins are among the best when it comes to protecting their quarterback, giving up sacks on just 3.3 percent of pass plays, second in the NFL.
Potpourri: The Packers have scored 25 touchdowns this year and Rodgers has had a hand in every one of them. He has thrown for 22 TDs and he has the Packers’ only three rushing touchdowns. They have not scored on any returns . . . I’m not sure what to make of the feud that is going on between Rodgers and Packers coach Mike McCarthy or how much of an effect it will have on Sunday. The quarterback has talked about a lack of energy and how the fact that nobody has to worry about his job. McCarthy, who owns a Super Bowl ring, countered by reminding everyone that “I’m a highly successful NFL coach”. Such a passive-aggressive exchange can’t be good . . . RB James Starks returned last week after missing time with a knee injury and gained 33 yards on seven carries against the Titans . . . The Packers will come into FedEx Field on a three-game losing streak. The last Packers losing streak that was longer came in 2008 when they lost five straight.
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In case you missed it
- Only Jerry Jones seems capable of slowing the Cowboys
- The case for Jamison Crowder as Redskins MVP
- Scripted plays are, well, just plays
- It's been a roller coaster season for the Redskins
- NTK: Kelley run under the radar