Both teams were division champions a season ago.
The Redskins are faced with an uphill battle to avoid dropping their first two games of the season. Not only will they be coming off short rest, but they will have to travel to the renovated Lambeau Field. As if the Green Bay crowd wasn't already loud enough, the additions at the south end zone figure to amp up the noise even more (via Lori Nickel of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel).
Even though both teams are coming off a loss, each has reason to be optimistic entering Week 2.
For Washington, it outscored the Philadelphia Eagles 20-7 in the second half and saw second-year quarterback Robert Griffin III shake off the rust after a lackluster first half performance. Meanwhile, the Packers gave last year's NFC champion all it could handle in San Francisco, but the right arm of Colin Kaepernick was just too much to overcome.
Now it's all about finding areas to exploit and formulating an effective gameplan, because NFL teams that begin the season 0-2 only reach the postseason 11.6 percent of the time (h/t Scott Fowler of the Charlotte Observer).
The storyline will revolve around two high-profile quarterbacks going head-to-head, but do RG3 and Aaron Rodgers factor into the three most important matchups to watch in Sunday's showdown at Lambeau?
3. RG3 vs. Green Bay Secondary
We know that Griffin is coming off reconstructive ACL surgery, but that doesn't mean he isn't a threat to run. So much of Washington's success last season was predicated on Griffin's ability to take off running, although he was hesitant to do so on Monday -- he only managed to scramble for 24 yards on five carries against the Eagles.
The Packers showed a revamped approach to defending the read-option last week against the San Francisco 49ers, but even though the defense was able to limit Kaepernick to only 22 rushing yards, he torched the Green Bay secondary for 412 yards. That was largely due to a conservative approach, which led to little pressure on the quarterback and the Packers' secondary being left out to dry.
Will Green Bay be more aggressive and show different blitz packages against the Redskins offense, or will they test Griffin's arm and make him beat the Packers through the air? It's a slippery slope, but it might be in defensive coordinator Dom Capers' best interest to get pressure on the quarterback -- the Eagles sacked Griffin three times on Monday night and totaled nine quarterback hits.
2. Randall Cobb vs. Slot Nickel
Lining up wide receiver Randall Cobb in the slot is almost like a cheat code for the Packers, and it makes whoever has the task of covering him a living hell. Against what is considered to be one of the better secondaries in football last week, Cobb managed to haul in seven passes for 108 yards and a touchdown.
The only problem is that defenses need to account for four legitimate receivers when they play Green Bay. While you can choose to place your No. 1 corner on Cobb, it leaves you vulnerable on the outside with Jordy Nelson and James Jones, as well as down the middle with tight end Jermichael Finley.
Whether the Redskins decide to put DeAngelo Hall, Josh Wilson, David Amerson or somebody else on Cobb for the majority of the game, they could be in for a long afternoon. He could also get some looks out of the backfield, and as a possession receiver, it will be important for Cobb to help keep drives alive to render Griffin useless on the sideline.
1. Washington vs. Fatigue
Sure, Aaron Rodgers going up against a sketchy Washington secondary and how the Packers are able to run the ball after averaging a whopping 3.3 yards per carry against the 49ers are worthy matchups. But the Redskins played on Monday night and were forced to go up against the speed-of-lighting Philadelphia offense.
Fatigue was evident from the Washington defense, and there were even some accusations that defenders were faking injuries to catch their breath.
The Packers have undoubtedly taken notice. They don't mind running their own version of the no-huddle offense, and there's a pretty good chance we see plenty of no-huddle from Rodgers and the Green Bay offense on Sunday.
In general, it's never easy coming off a short week. Considering how it's only Week 2, perhaps fatigue won't completely sink in, but it could grow to become a factor if the Packers are able to string together long drives and accelerate the pace.
Dave Radcliffe is a resident of a little known Milwaukee suburb who is an avid follower of Wisconsin sports. He has contributed to JSOnline, as a featured columnist on other sites and publications, and been a guest on multiple sports talk radio shows.
You can get the discussion going and follow Dave on Twitter @DaveRadcliffe_ .
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