Redskins vs. Packers. 4:40pm, January 10, 2016. FedEx Field, Washington.
THE Washington Redskins (9-7) face their toughest test of the season as they host the Green Bay Packers (10-6) at FedEx Field on Sunday.
By virtue of winning the NFC East against the Eagles, Giants and Cowboys, the Redskins have earned their playoff spot, but it doesn’t come as much consolation in playing Aaron Rodgers and the Packers.
Green Bay looked set to win the NFC North after a strong start to the season, but were pipped at the post by their bitter rival Minnesota. It might have been a good thing for the Packers as the Seattle Seahawks would have been their opponent, and we think Washington is a much easier opponent.
The Redskins have won their last four and the offense has been clicking. Since scoring only 16 points to Dallas in early December, the Redskins have put up totals of 24, 35, 38 and 34 – which could be good enough to take the win this Sunday.
The Packers have been in reverse the last two weeks, losing to both Arizona 38-8 and Minnesota 20-13. Packers coach Mike McCarthy is aware of their poor offensive efforts and will be looking to rectify the situation against a solid Redskins defense.
The bookmakers can hardly separate the two teams and there has been a massive influx of money for the Redskins which opened up as underdogs. Earlier in the week the Redskins were paying +120 but they are now the -120 favourites – the only home favourite of the 2015/2016 playoffs so far.
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Redskins vs. Packers betting markets
Redskins -120 (-1.0)
Packers +100 (+1.0)
Getting the Packers at plus value in the playoffs is usually a key to betting success, but bettors haven’t been confident heading into this game that the Packers can turn their form around.
Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers is at his career-worst passer rating and even though he has lost some players in the receiving game, his play just hasn’t been in point since throwing that hail mary pass against the Lions on Thanksgiving day.
“I think you have to remember, [Rodgers is] a great player. He wants the ball in his hands and when things break down he’s going to make things happen,” Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. “But also the risk and exposure he’s put to is unacceptable to myself. And he knows that.”
The Redskins on the other hand have been hot and quarterback Kirk Cousins is giving his fans something to cheer for. The sometimes good, something bad quarterback led the ‘skins to their longest winning streak in three years and his passer rating since Week 7 is 119.1 with 23 touchdowns and only three interceptions.
The playoffs is a different beast, however, and the Packers players have the experience to cope with the situation. The Redskins, lacking experience, will rely on players such as Pierre Garcon and Jordan Reed to control their mindset.
“If you start saying ‘This is the biggest game of your life,’ you don’t want people to get too tense around here,” Redskins coach Jay Gruden said. “I think you have to prepare like you’ve been preparing.
“Obviously a proven football team over there, with a lot of playoff experience. We’re going to really have to up our game.”
The Redskins are tough to beat at home, having won six and lost only two this season at FedEx Field. The Packers, however, have won the last five of six against the Redskins, but the last meeting came in 2013 where Rodgers threw for a career-high 480 yards.
These two teams have done well to not meet each other in the playoffs. This is the first playoff game between the Redskins and Packers since Washington won 16-3 in 1972.
Redskins vs. Packers team stats and key players
The spread of +1/-1 isn’t a big factor and the winner of the game will most likely also cover the spread, but statistics are important for betting the playoffs.
Against the spread (ATS) this season the Redskins own a 9-7 record and the Packers also have a 9-7 ATS record. The Packers have a good record covering the line away from home, but the Redskins look to have the advantage at home this season.
Aaron Rodgers – 3821 yards for 31 touchdowns and eight intercepts
Kirk Cousins – 4166 yards for 29 touchdowns and 11 intercepts
It’s not typical for Aaron Rodgers to be beaten in the yards passing category by anyone in the NFL, let alone Kirk Cousins. How that plays on Rodgers’ mind heading into this game is unknown, but it should spur the all star on here.
With the help of Packers running back Eddie Lacy (187 carries for 758 yards and three touchdowns) who has improved significantly towards the end of the season, Rodgers should have more time in the pocket to throw the deep passes.
It does appear as though Cousins has more offensive weapons with James Jones catching 50 passes for 890 yards and eight touchdowns. Alfred Morris has run for 751 yards on 202 carries with one touchdown.
Injury report: Packers
Eddie Lacy (running back) – probable
Sam Shields (cornerback) – out
Dashon Goldson (defensive back) – questionable
Perry Riley Jr. (linebacker) – questionable
Matt Jones (running back) – questionable
Redskins vs. Packers winning prediction
Going against the Green Bay Packers at playoff time is tough, but everything is telling us to do it. The Packers just haven’t been electric since midway through the season and Aaron Rodgers looks frustrated.
The Redskins have been riding a wave of momentum and that is key leading into the playoffs. After winning their last four games, the Redskins and their home crowd will be looking to progress through to the second round of the playoffs.
If Kirk Cousins can handle the pressure of playoff football, the Redskins will likely win. We’re putting our faith in the team that is currently playing the better football.