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Redskins-Packers: 4 Keys To The Game

Posted Sep 12, 2013

Redskins.com's Brian Tinsman breaks down the key players and matchups to keep an eye on during Sunday afternoon's Redskins-Packers contest at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis.

Redskins.com's Brian Tinsman breaks down the key players and matchups to keep an eye on during Sunday afternoon's Redskins-Packers contest at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis.

“Redskins-Packers: 4 Keys To The Game” is presented by Papa John’s.

Every Monday, fans can order a large cheese pizza for only $9.99, plus for each touchdown that the Redskins score, fans get one free topping. And with a Redskins victory, fans get double the toppings.


RODGERs THAT

Typically, the Redskins 4 Keys To The Game focus first on the Redskins and secondarily on the opponent.

Typically, the Redskins aren't playing a quarterback of Aaron Rodgers' caliber.

Defensive coordinator Jim Haslett suggested earlier this afternoon that Rodgers is one of the top-two quarterbacks in the league, and he has the track record to prove it. Since taking over as the full-time starter in 2008, Rodgers has completed 66 percent of his passes for 21,665 yards, 173 touchdowns and led the Packers to a 52-27 record with a Super Bowl victory.

Aside from Peyton Manning in Week 8, Rodgers likely presents the greatest the greatest aerial defense challenge of the season. Take into account his ability to scramble (305 career attempts for 1,455 yards), and he might be the biggest challenge the Redskins face.

Channeling shades of pro wrestler Ric Flair, Redskins linebacker Ryan Kerrigan said, "In order to be the best, you have to beat the best." That means putting pressure on Rodgers from all angles and keeping him off balance. That means collapsing the pocket at times while not breaking contain on the bootleg. That means not having the communication issues that left Eagles receivers wide open in the secondary last week.

The Redskins got away with being chaotic last week, but they will need to toe the line between aggression and discipline if they want to stop Rodgers.

BEAT THE CLOCK

The Redskins offense struggled to stay on the field last week, running just 21 plays for three first downs in the first half, controlling the ball for just 9:40 of the first 30 minutes.

In the second half, the Redskins controlled the ball for nearly 18 minutes, a remarkable recovery that made the final score close. The Redskins offense needs to retain that momentum, picking up big chunks of yardage from myriad contributors and keeping the Packers offense off the field.

Last year, the Redskins ranked 11th in the NFL with 30:45 time of possession, including a 32:07 average on the road. This was built with the NFL's top rushing offense, a facet of the gameplan that was all but abandoned on Monday Night.

Last week, the San Francisco 49ers put together the gameplan to handle the Packers, controlling the football for nearly 40 minutes and holding Green Bay to the lowest time of possession in the NFL.

Follow the 49ers' lead, wear down the defense and force Aaron Rodgers to watch from the sidelines.

CHAIN THE HOUNDS

Last week, the Redskins gave up three sacks to an Eagles pass rush in transition to a 3-4 scheme. They will face a much tougher challenge this week with Clay Matthews, who has declared holy war on dual-threat quarterbacks.

Last week against Colin Kaepernick, he willfully accepted a 15-yard penalty to hit the 49ers quarterback late out of bounds. Matthews doesn't have the reputation of a dirty player, but his actions in Week 1 could spill over into Week 2.

The key to deflating an aggressive pass rush is to mix up the play call and keep the defense off balance. Too many passing plays and the defense will tee off on Griffin III. Too many rushes and the Packers will take away the run.

The Redskins have the pieces on offense so that they don't have to be cute for success. As long as the Redskins execute a balanced gameplan, the odds should be much more in their favor.

TURN OVER NEW TURNOVER LEAF

Last week, the Redskins made four unusual errors on offense and still managed to finish with a score of the Eagles.

Last year, the Washington Redskins never saw a two-interception perfomance from Robert Griffin III. They never saw a two-fumble performance from Alfred Morris, or a safety forced on offense. Only once did they see Kai Forbath miss a field goal.

After all of these things happening in one game, let's hope the turnover bug has passed.

Last year, the Redskins ranked third in the NFL with plus-17 turnover ratio, displaying sound judgement and ball security on offense while being opportunistic on defense.

After only one week, they start off the year tied for 21st with negative-one turnover ratio. There are 12 NFL teams that currently have a positive turnover ratio. Those teams were 11-1 in Week 1.

Win the turnover ratio in Week 2 and there is a good chance the Redskins win the game.

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