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3 keys for Washington to upset the Packers

Wide receiver Terry McLaurin makes a catch during the Washington Football Team's practice on Oct. 21, 2021. (Karlee Sell/Washington Football Team)
Wide receiver Terry McLaurin makes a catch during the Washington Football Team's practice on Oct. 21, 2021. (Karlee Sell/Washington Football Team)

Any opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of the team.

The Washington Football Team will go on the road to play Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. Here are three keys to the game, presented by Van Metre.

1. Prevent Davante Adams from making chunk plays.

It should be no surprise that Davante Adams is currently leading the NFL with 668 receiving yards on 46 catches. He's recorded at least 1,300 yards in two of the past three seasons and averages 12.2 yards per catch over the course of his career.

A big reason for that success is Adams' ability to gash defenses. He currently leads the NFL with 12 catches resulting in gains of at least 20 yards. That also happens to be one of Washington's weaknesses, according to Sharp Stats, as Washington allows the third-most yards on explosive plays.

Washington will need to contain Adams as much as possible.

There isn't a singular player in Washington's secondary who can lock Adams down single handedly -- there are few players in the league who can -- so it will require a complete effort from the entire group. Kam Curl and his versatility will be a key ingredient to that success. Not only is he Washington's highest-graded safety by Pro Football Focus, but he also has the ability to play multiple positions, often during the same drive.

Finding a player who can handle that kind of mental workload, said defensive backs coach Chris Harris, is rare. He called the second-year player "extremely savvy" and "a jack-of-all-trades." No matter where Adams lines up, Curl should be able to provide support.

2. Keep Aaron Rodgers on the sideline.

Don't let the Packers' 23rd-ranked offense fool you; Rodgers is still on the other sideline and playing solid football. He's completed 66.7% of his passes for 1,436 yards and 12 touchdowns to just three interceptions. His QBR of 65.6 is fifth in the league ahead of Josh Allen, Lamar Jackson and Ryan Tannehill.

There's not much any defense can do to confuse Rodgers. He knows how to attack weaknesses and put up points quickly. The best way to stop Rodgers is to keep him off the field, which will require both units to step up.

On defense, Chase Young and his teammates will need to limit mental mistakes. A clear example came against the Kansas City Chiefs, when an offsides penalty turned what would have been a field goal attempt into a touchdown three plays later. What's more, the Chiefs' final scoring drive took seven minutes off the clock and extinguished Washington's comeback hopes.

Offensively, Washington must find a way to sustain drives, particularly in the second half. Part of why the team's 13-10 lead over the Chiefs in Week 6 turned sideways was because after a missed field goal attempt, its offense only ran 13 plays and amassed just 44 yards.

3. Take advantage of Green Bay's banged up secondary.

The Packers have one of the best secondaries in the league from a statistical standpoint. The group is fourth in passing yards allowed and tied for sixth with six interceptions.

It does have some issues with injuries, though, which Washington may be able to use to its advantage.

Jaire Alexander, who Terry McLaurin views as one of the best cornerbacks he's faced in his professional career, is currently on Injured Reserve; Kevin King, another corner, has been limited in practice all week; and safety Darnell Savage is still dealing with a concussion.

Washington's receiver corps has also had its issues -- McLaurin was on this week's injury report -- but there should be opportunities for the group to make plays. McLaurin, while only grabbing four passes for 28 yards against the Chiefs, is still one of the better receivers with 428 yards.

It's important to keep in mind that the Packers' defense is still a Top 5 unit, so a few injuries doesn't mean Washington will have an easy time moving downfield. But if it plays to its potential, it does have a chance.

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