Match-Up: Green Bay Packers (5 Seed) @ Washington Redskins (4 Seed)
Spread: Redskins (-1.0)
When: Sunday, January 10th, 4:40 PM
Where to Watch: Fox
Green Bay Packers Overview
It was a “down” year for the Packers, who relinquished the NFC North Title for the first time since 2010. After starting the season 6-0, the Packers lost 4 of their next 5. They then won 3 straight before losing their last 2, including their prime time match-up for the NFC North against the Vikings. The Packers clearly missed their Pro Bowl wide receiver Jordy Nelson, as they ranked 25th in passing offense this year. Their front 7 also underwhelmed this season (aside from Mike Daniels, who we will get to).
The Underrated X-Factor
Mike Daniels (DE) – Daniels has been one of the most dominant interior defenders in all of football this year. Whether it’s rushing the passer or stopping the run, Daniels has been the only consistently dominant member of the Packers defensive line. Daniels finished with 49 tackles, 4 sacks, and 1 forced fumble this season. He even managed an interception. He is also the 7th ranked interior defender on Pro Football Focus. The secondary has plenty of competitors, but Daniels needs to step up his game in order for the Packers to have a chance.
Washington Redskins Overview
YOU. LIKE. THAT? Those are the words that every Redskins fan will chant for the rest of the postseason. Kirk Cousins elevated his game this year and lead the Redskins to their first NFC East Title since 2012. The Redskins were just… average all season. They would get crushed by the likes of the elites (Panthers, Patriots), but they managed to handle the weak links with ease (Saints, Eagles x2, Rams). They ended their season on a four game winning streak, and they’ll look to win their first Playoff game since 2005.
Breshaud Breeland (CB) – One of the better cornerbacks in the league that gets absolutely no love, Breeland could be the difference maker in this game. Though he isn’t exactly a ball hawk (2 interceptions), he’s constantly making tackles (81) and is consistently solid in coverage. If he can neutralize Randall Cobb, which hasn’t been a difficult task this season, the Packers will have some serious trouble against this Redskins defense.
The Redskins Defensive Line Vs. The Packers Offensive Line
Two incredibly solid units, but one will have to break. We saw Josh Sitton at the tackle position last week, and he was absolutely abused by Everson Griffin. Hopefully, David Bakhtiari can return so that Sitton can return to his natural guard position, a position in which he has consistently excelled at. Otherwise, Terrance Knighton, Ryan Kerrigan, and others will have a field day against the Packers.
Edge: Packers (If Bakhtiari Plays)
The Redskins Receivers Vs. The Packers Secondary
Again, the Packers will be hoping that Sam Shields can return for this one; however, they’re less desperate here. Casey Hayward, Ha-Ha Clinton Dix, Morgan Burnett and Damarious Randall have all been fine for the Packers. But this will be a tough test for them. The Redskins have one of the deepest receiving corps in the league. Throw in a good offensive line, an elite tight end (yea, I said it), and a solid quarterback throwing the ball, and you have a recipe for disaster.
Mike Daniels Vs. Josh Leribeus
Josh Leribeus has been the weak link on this Redskins offensive line… And unfortunately he plays a pretty important position (center). He’ll also have to line up often against Mike Daniels… Who we talked about a lot.
The Redskins are the healthier team. They also happen to be at home, where they are 6-2 on the season. Assuming that they can establish any sort of run game, they should be able to make more plays than the Packers.
Redskins Win 30-24
Photo Credit: http://www.foxsports.com/nfl/story/washington-redskins-kirk-cousins-you-like-that-comeback-win-102515