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Need to Know: Five final thoughts on Redskins vs. Packers

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Need to Know: Five final thoughts on Redskins vs. Packers

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, January 10, the day the Washington Redskins host the Green Bay Packers in a wild card playoff game.

Five final thoughts on Redskins vs. Packers

Today’s the day, folks. Here is my last look at the game.

—I took a look at the video of Packers against the Vikings and while the Packers offensive line certainly was leaky without left tackle David Bakhtiari, Aaron Rodgers still have some time to find receivers. Most of the five sacks against him came after he had a chance to scan the field and look at one or two receivers. He also made a few of his signature plays while running out of the pocket. The Redskins defensive backs are going to have to stick with their receivers.

—I tweeted this out a couple of days ago:

The part about McCarty and Rodgers being frustrated comes from this article, based on interviews conducted with the coach and quarterback about their relationship on Thursday afternoon, some 72 hours before kickoff of a playoff game. At about the same time, Jay Gruden was at the podium at Redskins Park explaining why Chris Baker was not at practice. “His wife had a baby – baby girl – so congratulations to Chris,” said Gruden with a smile. “Hopefully she looks like his wife.” I’m not sure if the looser team usually wins or not but I think I’d rather be where the Redskins are than where the Packers are.

—Who is the better quarterback in this afternoon’s game? You have to say it’s Aaron Rodgers. He did not forget how to play football this year after being the league’s MVP in 2014. But that question is not a relevant as this one—which team has the better passing attack? The way he is playing right now Kirk Cousins does not represent a large drop off from Rodgers. And his primary weapons—Jordan Reed, DeSean Jackson, Pierre Garçon, and Jamison Crowder—are a cut or two above the group that Rodgers is throwing to. Washington has the better passing attack. So the debate about the quarterbacks may be over a distinction without a difference.

—While I think that the team that passes the ball better will win the game, I’m not going to ignore the importance of the running game. The Redskins have been able to gloss over their problems stopping the run lately by scoring 30 or more points in their last three games. Washington hasn’t been able to get its running game going but in their last four games the Packers have allowed 170, 121, 120, and 151 yards on the ground. If Green Bay can run the ball they will be able to keep the game close. If the Redskins can run it, they could win a laugher.

—The playoffs are a very different feeling for those of us who cover the game. For 17 weeks we are in a rhythm of games, press conferences, locker room sessions, and, for half of the games, traveling. Tomorrow we might be be going to Gruden’s Monday press conference at 3 p.m., looking forward to another week of news conferences and chatting in the locker room, and making frantic travel plans to get to Phoenix or Charlotte. Or we could be covering the players cleaning out their lockers for the offseason and talking to Gruden for the last time until the combine in late February. I think that we will be getting ready for another week of football and getting ready to go to Arizona. But I can’t dismiss the possibility that Rodgers finds a way to get it done and seeing everything come to an abrupt end.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Redskins vs. Packers, FedEx Field, 4:40 p.m., FOX

Days until: NFL divisional playoffs start 6; Super Bowl 50 28

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Odell Beckham Jr. leaves Giants-Browns game after nasty-looking hit

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Odell Beckham Jr. leaves Giants-Browns game after nasty-looking hit

NFL preseason games usually don't cause a stir on the Internet. That is, until a very important player suffers an injury in one.

That's exactly what happened during Monday night's Giants-Browns game in Cleveland. While going up to snag an Eli Manning pass, Odell Beckham Jr. was cut down by Briean Boddy-Calhoun on what was a gruesome-looking play:

MORE: FIVE MOST DIFFICULT PASS RUSHERS 2017 REDSKINS WILL FACE

At first, Beckham Jr. somehow looked like he was going to be OK. But he eventually had to head to the New York locker room, and the team later said his ankle is what they were concerned about:

If that's all it turns out to be, consider the receiver and the Giants lucky. In looking at replays of the hit, it's remarkable to think that he could emerge from it with no knee issues. 

New York will surely update his status once they find out more.

RELATED: THE EFFECT JORDAN REED'S RETURN SHOULD HAVE

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Phil Taylor has a similar story to Junior Galette, and he could have a bigger impact

Phil Taylor has a similar story to Junior Galette, and he could have a bigger impact

There's a member of the Redskins' front seven who hasn't played in the last two seasons, and yet, the team is relying on him to produce at a crucial position in 2017.

C'mon, you've read enough stories about Junior Galette by now, haven't you? Because while Galette certainly fits the above description, Phil Taylor does, too — and if he stays healthy, he could end up mattering more to Washington's defense than Galette.

Taylor, who hasn't played in the NFL since 2014 and hasn't had a sack since 2013, looks to be the favorite to win the starting nose tackle job for Greg Manusky's defense. He had a promising camp in Richmond, and through two preseason games, has carried that positive play into game action.

On Monday's edition of Training Camp Daily on CSN, Trevor Matich spoke about what he's seen from No. 99 so far.

MORE: FIVE PLAYERS WHO'LL BE TOUGH TO BLOCK FOR 2017 REDSKINS

"He has not only earned that starting position," Matich said (full video above), "he has shown that he might be that missing force in the middle that the Redskins have not had for a long time, and that is a nose guard that can be a plugger against the run and not get pushed around, but who can also be disruptive."

A 3-4 defense without a nose tackle is like that one Jason Bourne movie without Matt Damon: not very good. And that's an issue that Washington's had for a few years now. So while a rejuvenated Galette would do wonders for the all-important pass rush, having an effective Taylor in the middle of everything may be even more necessary to the Redskins' success.

JP Finlay gave one example of how Taylor can impact a matchup.

"If you got Phil Taylor there at nose, that's going to open those gaps up for Jonathan Allen," Finlay said. "And you talk about what could be a pretty dynamic tandem on the defensive line, a position where the Redskins have not had anything close to dynamic for a number of years. What a veteran like Taylor could do for a rookie like that could be special."

The usual caveat for someone with this story is to not get too excited over a small sample. And some would say the Redskins are foolish for putting so much faith in Taylor's ability to stay on the field and do damage on it as well.

But so far, the reviews on Taylor have been quite encouraging. So while his name isn't as big as Galette's or many other members of the defense, his influence will be if he manages to keep developing.

RELATED: SAMAJE PERINE ON WHY HE ALREADY FEELS MORE COMFORTABLE