There is no question about it, the Green Bay Packers are an embattled football team as they head to the nation’s capital this week to take on the Washington Redskins.
At 4-5, trailing by one game in the NFC North division race and 1.5 games (to Washington) in the wildcard, the Packers have reached the brink. Back-to-back bad losses to the Colts and Titans, have fans questioning their resolve and in some cases, their talents.
Certainly, head coach Mike McCarthy has been questioned. His play-calling, coaching abilities, and relationship with Aaron Rodgers have all been put under the microscope.
Currently, the Packers sit in 11th place in the NFC. So the reality is, if they want to get back in the playoff hunt, they have little time to spare.
But it was not long ago, last January in fact, that the Packers found themselves on the brink in Washington. That game came in the NFC Wildcard round and at the time, the Packers were fresh off two embarrassing losses.
The first was a 38-8 drubbing at the hands of the Arizona Cardinals, while the other was a 20-13 loss to Minnesota, the game that cost Green Bay the NFC North title.
Green Bay responded then and it’s not so far-fetched to think it could again.
Going into that game, most believed the Packers were cooked and stood little chance against a red-hot Washington team, riding Kirk Cousins, its hot quarterback and a wave of momentum to a 10-6 record and NFC East crown.
And for awhile that night in D.C., the Packers remained awful. Starting out, the Redskins built an 11-0 lead and it appeared, like predicted, that Green Bay’s season would suffer a premature death.
However, something funny happened in the second quarter of that game — Rodgers came alive and so did his team. Two second-quarter touchdown passes gave Green Bay a 17-11 halftime lead.
Then, two-second half touchdown runs cemented a 35-18 win for the Packers, one in which they outscored the Skins 35-7 after their horrendous start.
The game was interesting, because many stopped believing the Packers had it in them at that point, just like many have stopped believing now.
This Packers team may not be able to turn things around in Washington, but at the same time, don’t act tremendously surprised if they do.
They always seem to play their best with their backs against the wall and this week, they are more firmly against the wall, than I can remember them being, in some time.