Packers vs. Redskins Preview: 5 Things to Watch For

Win McNamee

This season's home opener pits the Green Bay hamstrings vs. the Washington RGIII's in an early-season contest with surprisingly high ramifications. We look at the five things to keep an eye on.

For most Packers fans, last weeks' game was a tough loss to swallow. Thankfully during this season's home opener at Lambeau, the Packers won't have to face another uber athletic, mobile quarterback who can also thr....OH WHAT THE HELL. Apparently whoever makes the schedule in the league office is a Bears fan. The Redskins on the other hand, are led by head coach and tanning bed enthusiast, Mike Shanahan, who, after getting run off the field by Philadelphia last week, should have his team fired up provided they've actually caught their breath by now. Both teams are vying to avoid an 0-2 record which should make for a competitive, hard-hitting game with lots of dynamics in play. Here are just five of them:

The game plan for RG3

Robert Griffin III's bionic knee seemed to make him at least a little hesitant in the first of last week's game. That's no reason to assume he'll be that way in Lambeau. Because of that, it should be interesting to see what Dom Capers has in store defensively. The Packers did a pretty masterful job of keeping Colin Kaepernick's scrambling ability contained in week 1 but it came with a price. It should be interesting to see if the Packers give Griffin that same level of respect, or dare him to run knowing the Redskins are still likely scared sh**less at the prospect of him taking a hard hit.

Intensity

Yeah the Packers lost last week, but they came out with more fire than a coked up Ray Lewis. Seriously, it had to have been the most passion we've seen the team play with in a long time. The run defense was incredibly stout, players flew to the ball and Clay Matthews tackled Colin Kapernick so far out of bounds I'm surprised he didn't take out a hot dog vendor in the process. Why? Just to send a message. I'm not a fan of cheap shots but still, it was kind of refreshing to see the Packers play with so much tenacity. The Packers don't have any bad blood with the Redskins so it should be interesting to see if they can muster that same level of passion for all four quarters.

CHRIS BANJO!

The Bucks have LARRY SANDERS! and I kind of feel like Chris Banjo - sorry, CHRIS BANJO! could be the Packers version. Like Sanders, Banjo is still raw with a limited repertoire, but the things he does well (like blocking shots for Sanders) he does pretty friggin' well. If you recall, Banjo gained steam and eventually latched on to the roster by essentially playing like the tazmanian devil in preseason. Contrast that with Jerron McMillian who last game whiffed on tackles worse than swinging at a pinata with a drumstick, and even if Banjo makes some mistakes, he's still probably an upgrade (despite being cut by Jacksonville). ESPN's Rob Demovsky said that Banjo could get additional playing time this week so hopefully we'll get a chance to see what he can do against starting caliber players.

Offensive pace

I'm not sure if Chip Kelly's warp speed offense will be a long-term thing in the NFL but one thing's for sure - it worked like hell last week. Even by the end of the first half the Skins defense looked absolutely gassed. And because of the frenetic nature of the offense, the Redskins often found themselves confused and out of position. While the Packers don't run the same style offense, it could be worth it to run more no-huddle and their offense in general with a quicker tempo just to test the Skins out. If it seems to work, the Packers certainly have the athletes to maintain a faster pace throughout the game.

How the team responds

Say what you want about Mike McCarthy's play calling or his roster management, or the fact he throws more red flags than an e-harmony profile with a Russian model in the picture, the guy has his team ready to play following a loss. In fact, of the five games they lost last season, the Packers responded by winning the next game by an average of 11 points. You have to go back to weeks five and six of the 2010 season to find the last time an Aaron Rodgers-led team lost back-to-back games. Of course, that season ended with me ecstatically hugging random people in a bar so it's tough to say consecutive losses mean much. But still, it's not the way you want to start the season. If history tells us anything, McCarthy will have his team focused on avoiding such a thing.

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