The Redskins look for a crucial Week 3 win against the Packers at FedExField, where Washington won the last meeting 42-24 in 2016.
Green Bay Key Additions: Signed DE/DT Muhammad Wilkerson (Jets), TE Jimmy Graham (Seahawks), CB Tramon Williams (Cardinals).
Green Bay Key Subtractions: S Morgan Burnett, WR Jordy Nelson, TE Richard Rodgers, WR Jeff Janis, ILB Joe Thomas.
Green Bay comes to Washington in 2018 eyeing another playoff appearance after a disappointing 7-9 campaign last season. The Packers started 2017 with a 4-1 record, but injuries to the offensive line, and quarterback Aaron Rodgers in Week 6 against Minnesota, put the Packers in a tailspin they couldn't bounce back from.
Washington's last meeting against the Packers gave Redskins running back Rob Kelley a boost of confidence during his rookie season. He ran for 137 yards on 24 carries and scored three touchdowns, which are all current career-highs and marked the 25th time a member of Washington recorded three rushing touchdowns in a single game.
The Packers' focus during the offseason was improving their defensive secondary after giving up the second-most passing touchdowns in the NFL with 30. Green Bay turned their attention in the 2018 Draft to upgrading these positions, surrendering a third-round selection to get former Louisville cornerback Jaire Alexander with the 18th-overall pick. Although Alexander missed half of his final college season with injuries, the Packers locked in on him for his ability to have his eyes staying on the quarterback and his quick response when the ball is in the air.
Targeting more defensive pieces, the Packers selected former Iowa cornerback Joshua Jackson with the 45th-overall pick in the second round. Being a Thorpe Award finalist during his final season as a Hawkeye, Jackson was projected by CBS Sports as the top cornerback in the draft back in January and the 18th-best prospect.
Green Bay wrapped up its improved secondary by signing 12-year veteran defensive back Tramon Williams this offseason. While coming up with 41 combined tackles and 12 passes defensed for Arizona in 2017, Williams also brings heavy experience that can help the newest rookies in the Packers' defense.
Adding defensive lineman Muhammad Wilkerson, the Packers hope he can help improve their quarterback pressure after ranking 17th in the league in sacks with 37. Wilkerson could be the piece Green Bay needs up front, with the eight-year veteran coming up with a career-high 12 sacks in 2015 and combining for 104 tackles during his final two years with the New York Jets.
While Green Bay thrives off its passing game, it was not up to the usual standards in 2017. The Packers finished 25th in the NFL in passing yards with 3,167 despite having wide receivers Davante Adams and Randall Cobb ranking in the Top-30 for receiving yards.
It was evident in the offseason that the Packers needed a tight end that could become a weapon in the system. With Lance Kendricks only ranking in the Top-40 statistically among the NFL's tight ends, the Packers added nine-year veteran Jimmy Graham. Even though Graham had a career-low in receiving yards with 520, he was still able to get in the end zone 10 times for the Seahawks and could be a quality red zone option for Rodgers.
Playing their first two games this season at home, the trip to Landover, Md., will be the first road game of 2018 for the Packers. Green Bay has struggled on the road the past two years, going 7-9 and giving up an average of 28 points per game.
With the Redskins also trying to make their way back into the playoffs, this could be a pivotal NFC matchup that could be a difference maker in December.