The Green Bay Packers and Washington Redskins both will need to do a better job finding the end zone when they meet Sunday at 1:05 p.m ET at FedEx Field.
Washington (1-1) dropped a 21-9 decision to the Indianapolis Colts last Sunday and hasn’t scored a touchdown since the first half of Week 1.
Green Bay (1-0-1) put 29 points on the board in Week 2, but only managed one offensive touchdown and went 1-for-5 in the red zone as Minnesota — aided by a controversial roughing the passer penalty on Packers linebacker Clay Matthews — rallied to tie the game.
One week after watching former Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins pass for 425 yards, the Packers will confront his successor in Washington, Alex Smith. Smith and Redskins have not been able to establish a downfield passing game thus far. Running back Chris Thompson leads the team with 19 catches, and Smith’s longest completion to a wide receiver is 34 yards.
“I think it’s hard looking at the numbers with these first two weeks just the defenses we played, the style that they’ve played necessarily hasn’t dictated a lot of balls going outside to those guys,” Smith said this week when asked about his relationship with wide receivers Josh Doctson, Paul Richardson and Jamison Crowder, who have combined for 20 catches.
The Redskins bolstered their receiving corps midweek with the additions of veterans Michael Floyd and Breshad Perriman, though head coach Jay Gruden said he was hopeful he wouldn’t have to use them against Green Bay.
Washington also will look for a bounce-back week from running back Adrian Peterson, who was held to 20 yards on 11 carries against the Colts.
Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers, Smith’s 2005 draft classmate, will play with a left knee sprain for the third straight week. Rodgers told reporters he hopes to return to full heath at some point this season. In the meantime, the Packers will have to adapt their offense to suit just what Rodgers’ health allows.
“Can we do some (play-)action or can we not? That just depends on how my knee’s feeling,” Rodgers told the team’s website. “I don’t think you can say because I did some of those things in the game that automatically I’ll be able to do that anymore on Sunday. It depends on how I’m feeling.”
Green Bay’s offense, averaging just 83.5 yards per game on the ground, will get a boost Sunday with the return of running back Aaron Jones from a two-game suspension for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy.
Jones, who averaged 5.5 yards per carry on 81 attempts last season as a rookie, joins a backfield that includes Ty Montgomery and Jamaal Williams, who are averaging a combined 3.8 yards per carry.
“I understand what Aaron gives us. But his role will be secondary,” McCarthy told reporters. “Jamaal and Ty will be in the first slot.”
Gruden wasn’t buying it.
“I think we’ll see some Aaron Jones a lot,” he told reporters midweek.
The Packers likely will be without cornerback Kevin King (groin).
Green Bay and Washington last met in November 2016 when Cousins passed for 375 yards and three touchdowns in a 42-24 Redskins win at FedEx.
—Field Level Media