The Green Bay Packers will spend Week 14 trying to maintain and perhaps extending their lead in the NFC North when they host the Washington Redskins. Game time is at 1:00 EST on Sunday, December 8 at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Fans in select markets can watch the game on Fox.
Current betting odds list the Packers as 13-point home favorites with an over/under of 42 points. Click here to check out a full list of the Week 14 NFL odds.
The Packers have stumbled a little over the past month. After winning four in a row to finish the first half of the season 7-1, Green Bay has lost two of their last four games. In fairness, they just finished a stretch in which they played four of five games on the road. The Pack managed to go 3-2 during that stretch to get them to 9-3.
The other piece of good news is that Minnesota lost last week, allowing the Packers to climb into sole possession of first place in the NFC North. Of course, the Packers still have to visit Minnesota in Week 16 in a game that could decide the division. However, Green Bay’s schedule is otherwise favorable, putting all of the pressure on the Vikings. The key for the Packers is avoiding a letdown against a losing team so they can maintain their lead in the division and not have to settle for a Wild Card spot.
Meanwhile, the Redskins are suddenly a team you can’t take lightly. At one point this season, we started to wonder whether Washington would win a game at all this year. However, they’ve actually won back-to-back games, knocking off the Lions at home and then beating the Panthers on the road last week as double-digit underdogs.
To be fair, those wins say more about the teams that the Redskins beat than they do about Washington. Nevertheless, the 3-9 Redskins clearly haven’t quit on interim coach Bill Callahan and should have plenty of confidence coming off back-to-back wins. Plus, one more win over the final four weeks of the season should be enough for the Redskins to stay out of last place in the NFC East, providing a little extra motivation for Washington.
It’d be nice to think that things in Washington are moving in the right direction, but I’m not ready to buy it just yet. The Redskins were a little fortunate in terms of scheduling, playing two teams in recent weeks that are dropping like a rock late in the year. They won’t be so lucky this week when they visit Green Bay. The Packers are coming off an 18-point win over a subpar Giants team on the road, so I feel comfortable laying down 13 points for the Pack at home.
The most important thing to remember is that the Redskins beat the likes of Jeff Driskel and Kyle Allen in the last two weeks. The week before that, they couldn’t even stop Sam Darnold, which doesn’t make me hopeful about their chances of keeping Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay offense contained. Rodgers was undeterred by the wintry conditions at MetLife Stadium last week, so he’ll feel right at home back at Lambeau. More importantly, Rodgers connected with Davante Adams on two of his four touchdowns last week, so it’s safe to assume that the Packers have their top receiver back in good form after missing a few weeks due to injury.
The caveat with the Green Bay offense is always the running game. Aaron Jones has had a nice season but continues to be wildly inconsistent from week to week. Of course, Washington has one of the worst rush defenses in the league. To be fair, the Redskins kept Christian McCaffrey contained last week. But stopping the run has been a rare occurrence for the Washington defense this year, so there’s every chance Jones can have a bounce-back game, especially since the Redskins will be pre-occupied with Adams and the passing attack.
On the other side, there’s no way Dwayne Haskins is ready to go toe-to-toe with Rodgers if this game turns into a shootout. Even in wins the last two weeks, Haskins has completed less than half his passes and is averaging less than six yards per attempt. He also has just two touchdown passes compared to six interceptions this season with no touchdown passes in the team’s recent wins.
Washington’s only chance in this game is to establish their rushing attack, which looks promising these days with Derrius Guice and Adrian Peterson. Those two ran all over the Panthers last week, with Guice rushing for 129 yards and Peterson amassing 99 yards on the ground. However, the Packers know that they won’t need to respect Haskins and the Washington passing game, allowing them to focus their efforts on slowing down the run.
To be honest, I was tempted to take a chance on Washington and the points in this game. If the Redskins can establish the run early, they can keep Rodgers off the field and force a low-scoring game. However, I’m just not buying the Washington defense being able to handle Rodgers. I’m willing to bet that the Redskins will fall behind and eventually have to abandon the run. That should allow the Packers to get separation and cover the 13-point spread.