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Packers 2016 Schedule Preview, Vol. 10: Washington hosts playoff rematch

A year after ending Washington’s season, the Packers travel there again for a key mid-season matchup.

NFL: NFC Wild Card-Green Bay Packers at Washington Redskins Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Last January, the Green Bay Packers ended the season for Washington, going into FedEx Field in the Wild-Card Round of the NFC playoffs and emerging with a solid 35-18 victory. That contest featured a solid running tandem, with Eddie Lacy and James Starks recording 12 carries, a touchdown, and more than 50 yards on the ground apiece.

The Packers’ defense also got into the act, sacking Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins six times, with Clay Matthews, Mike Neal, and Nick Perry each recording at least 1.5 sacks.

This season, Green Bay again heads to FedEx Field, but will do so in Week 11 for a regular season game. This offseason, Washington has bolstered their secondary with arguably the highest-profile free agent signing of the year, which should make it tougher to throw against a defense that also features several impressive pass-rushers. However, Washington earned their home playoff game by winning one of the least-impressive divisions in football, the NFC East, by virtue of their 9-7 record. With the other three teams in the East looking to be on the upswing in 2016, did Washington do enough this spring to maintain their spot atop the division?

We look to the SB Nation bloggers covering the team at Hogs Haven to give us some of the answers (as well as the questions) that are critical in our nation’s capital this summer and into the fall.


Notable free agent additions

CB Josh Norman, DL Kendall Reyes

Notable free agent departures

QB Robert Griffin III, RB Alfred Morris, DT Terrance Knighton, LB Keenan Robinson, WR Andre Roberts

Draft picks expected to contribute as rookies

WR Josh Doctson, S/LB Su’a Cravens, CB Kendall Fuller

Biggest offseason addition

It would be hard not to call the acquisition of an All-Pro CB our biggest addition of the offseason, especially when the secondary has been one of the biggest weaknesses of this Redskins team over the last few seasons. The importance of the insertion of Josh Norman into this defense can not be understated.

Biggest storyline heading into training camp

Will Kirk Cousins play on the franchise tag, and more importantly, will he take a step forward from his meteoric finish to the 2015 campaign? He threw for 23 touchdowns and three interceptions over the last ten games of the season last year en route to both the playoffs and a firm grasp on the locker room. If he continues evolving from there, Washington can call itself a true contender.

Under-the-radar storyline heading into training camp

What is our safety position going to look like? DeAngelo Hall returns as likely the most certain member of our starting safety duo, which doesn’t exactly inspire fear in opposing passing offenses. David Bruton and Duke Ihenacho will certainly factor heavily in the training camp battle to fill out the backside of our defense, but all eyes will be on rookie Su’a Cravens, the hybrid safety/linebacker. If he is able to log meaningful minutes at the strong safety position and make the kinds of plays our coaches feel confident he can make, this secondary could be exponentially better than it has been for years.

Notable injuries heading into training camp

Junior Galette continues to heal from his Achilles injury suffered in August 2015, and all reports seem to lean toward an impressive recovery. Should he regain his pass-rushing form from two seasons ago, it would be the equivalent of adding a top free agent from our own roster. First-round draft pick Josh Doctson is also being held out of a lot of workouts so far to allow a tender Achilles to heal fully before training camp.