The Washington Redskins true identity revealed itself over the team's last four games. Behind Kirk Cousins and a number of offensive weapons, Jay Gruden's Redskins emerged as a pass-first team, and the results were impressive.
In his last four games, Cousins passed for more than 1,100 yards, and that's sitting out the second half of a Week 17 win over Dallas. Coincidentally, Washington comes into the playoffs winners of four in a row and the offense looks dynamic. Jordan Reed teamed with a healthy DeSean Jackson gives defenses fits, where secondaries are forced to try and slow the tight end or protect against Jackson's vertical threat. Pierre Garçon and Jamison Crowder are more than effective in the slot and possession game.
In a town that loves the run game and big offensive linemen, somehow, Gruden and Cousins have turned the Redskins into a high-octane passing offense. Gruden, Cousins and offensive coordinator Sean McVay deserve credit for moving the offense towards the pass, especially as the run game slumbered for much of the season.
But regular season success means little now as the 'Skins get ready to host the Packers in a Wild Card round playoff game. Green Bay's defense has been effective against the pass all season, ranking No. 6 in the NFL in both pass yards allowed and passing TDs allowed. That could be a problem for Washington.
The Pack can also get to the quarterback, as the team combined for 43 sacks this season. Julius Peppers led the team with 10.5 sacks and Clay Matthews added another 6.5. Playmaking safety HaHa Clinton-Dix chipped in three sacks to go with two interceptions.
The matchup between Cousins and the Packers secondary should be quite interesting to watch, as injuries have forced Green Bay to turn to some backups which the Redskins QB should be able to exploit. In their Week 17 loss to Minnesota, Vikings QB Teddy Bridgewater missed some opportunities to put the Packers away early. Cousins has been so accurate over his last three games, it's hard to imagine he will have similar misses.
The 2015 stats show the Packers as one of the best pass defenses in the NFL, but looking at the last three weeks reveals some cracks. In Week 15 against Derek Carr, the Raiders passed for more than 250 yards, and in Week 16 vs Arizona, Carson Palmer torched the Packers.
NFL wisdom suggests the last month of the season better tells the story of a playoff team than the three months prior. If that's the case, Cousins and the Redskins should be able to attack the Packers through the air. Though it would be foolish to discount Green Bay, a recent Super Bowl champion, due to a few bad weeks.
Can the 'Skins pass on the Pack? Let us know what you think in the comments.