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The Washington Redskins (3-9) are coming off a two-game winning streak and an unexpected win over the Carolina Panthers heading into their Week 14 matchup against the Green Bay Packers (9-3). The Packers will be a huge test for quarterback Dwayne Haskins and the rest of the team for several reasons.
The obvious is that they are facing Aaron Rodgers who is arguably one of the best quarterbacks in the league. They’re also on the road at Lambeau Field where the crowd and weather conditions will factor into their ability to be successful.
Washington are 14-point underdogs versus the Packers. Here are three keys to victory if they want to pull off another shocker on Sunday.
Pressure Aaron Rodgers
Rodgers isn’t a Super Bowl Champion and MVP for nothing. He can air it out, be elusive in the pocket and rally his team back from any deficit. He is also a competitor, and facing a rookie quarterback in his stadium will give him even more confidence than usual.
If the Redskins want to claim another win, their first task will be pressuring Rodgers. The defensive line will have to make him uncomfortable by forcing him out of the pocket.
The veteran quarterback is also an expert at drawing teams offside with his pre-snap cadence. The Redskins are prone to penalties so they will have to be careful not to fall for this distraction.
“He’s one of the best,” Redskins defensive coordinator Greg Manusky said. “He just does a great job of getting people to jump offsides and taking shots down the field. Biggest thing is, if we do go offsides – which I hope we don’t – we got to make sure we’re still covered on the back end because he’s going to throw the ball up the field.”
One contributor to the Redskins win-streak are the turnovers they’ve been able to create in the secondary. Since the benching of Josh Norman, cornerbacks Fabian Moreau and Quinton Dunbar have been huge factors in the Redskins last two victories.
Both have combined for four interceptions over the past two weeks. Dunbar has also come up with big plays during late games surges by the Detroit Lions and Panthers. With Green Bay’s ability to quickly score, the Redskins’ secondary will have to help them out.
Run the Ball
When Washington runs the ball, it takes the pressure off Haskins and allows him to get comfortable the passing game. Last week, Derrius Guice and Adrian Peterson combined for over 200 yards. They’ll need to do that again at Lambeau Field.
Also, incorporating more of Chris Thompson now that he is back from injury gives the Redskins the three-back option they haven’t had all season. The possibility of treacherous weather makes the run game a major focus.
“It’s no secret, we want to run the football,” offensive coordinator Kevin O’Connell said. “When you’re playing against a quarterback like this and really a defense like this – I mean, that secondary and their pass rush and what they want to do defensively, we’ve got to make sure we try to impose our will a little early on in the game with whatever the conditions may be.”