Packers-Washington: How we picked it
WESTON HODKIEWICZ (11-5)
PACKERS 26, REDSKINS 23
This is as winnable of a matchup as the Packers could ask for to open the playoffs and yet it's practically a pick-em game. An offense that has struggled all season has grown increasingly lethargic in recent weeks, so why the reason for hope? Washington’s 28th-ranked defense provides a golden opportunity for a turnaround. It’s up to the Packers to take advantage of it. Green Bay’s defense has what it takes to make Washington one-dimensional. It’s up to Aaron Rodgers to get the offense back on track. He says he needs to "let it fly a little more." Something tells me he will. At least, this week.
RYAN WOOD (11-5)
REDSKINS 17, PACKERS 13
In theory, this NFC wild-card playoff matchup should be no contest. The Packers have a more talented team, a better team, at least on paper. But if this season has taught anything, it's that what's on paper doesn't mean nearly as much as what's on the field. You have to look at who's playing better, and that would be Washington. The Packers stumbled into the playoffs after losing their last two games. Washington has won four straight and looked like a team trending in the right direction. It would be a bitterly disappointing end for the Packers to bow out in the wild-card round, but it's a fitting end to this bitterly disappointing season.
PETE DOUGHERTY (12-4)
PACKERS 28, REDSKINS 24
Looking at how the teams have played the second half of the season, you'd have to pick Washington. And the way the Packers' offense has under-performed for most of the last 10 weeks, there's plenty more reason to think their season ends with a thud Sunday. But Washington's weak secondary could be a cure for the Packers' ills, and if Aaron Rodgers loosens his own reins, as he's suggested he will, he could have a big day. The guess here is that he'll outplay Kirk Cousins, and the playoff-experienced Packers will survive for another week.
STU COURTNEY (11-5)
PACKERS 38, REDSKINS 28
The Packers' offense that has been missing in action all season? It will turn up alive and well Sunday against a weak Washington defense. A free-wheeling Aaron Rodgers will post his first 100-plus passer rating since Week 6, Eddie Lacy will plow his way to 100 yards and Green Bay will avoid the unthinkable: a three-game losing streak to end a season that started 6-0. After that? A likely rematch in the desert against Arizona, and a return to reality.
ROBERT ZIZZO (10-6)
REDSKINS 24, PACKERS 20
Washington has a red-hot quarterback (Kirk Cousins has thrown 23 TDs/3 INTs in past 10 games), a deep threat at receiver (DeSean Jackson averages 17.6 yards per catch) and a touchdown machine at tight end (Jordan Reed has 11). Those are three things Green Bay doesn’t have. Plus, Washington is pretty good at home, where it’s won six of its past seven games. The Packers can win, however, if they take more chances on offense with a high-risk/high-reward passing game.