Having Aaron Rodgers in the lineup at less than 100 percent certainly beats the alternative, and Rodgers had another big day on his gimpy knee. But he couldn’t direct the Green Bay Packers to a victory over their division rival Vikings last week, instead settling for a tie. Rodgers took the field with a bulky brace on his left knee, remnants of the injury sustained in the opener, and it could be an issue that persists all season. Still, if Rodgers can play as well as he has since the injury, he gives the Packers and excellent chance of winning. The Pack hits the road for the first time this season with a visit to the Washington Redskins in Week 3.
This matchup in Week 3 of the regular season will take place on Sunday, September 23, 2018, at 1 p.m. ET at FedEx Field.
NFL Opening Odds at BookMaker.eu
Green Bay Packers -3
Washington Redskins +3
The Packers opened as a 3-point road favorite with a slight majority of the early money backing the visitors. Some bettors have shied away from the Redskins after they played an uninspired home opener against the Colts last Sunday. Still, getting three points at home against a wobbly Rodgers should create more action for the Skins as the week progresses. The opening total was wagered down two points to its current 45.5.
Kenny King – The Packers are wondering if their top draft pick from 2017 will stay healthy. King exited the Vikings game in the first half with a groin injury and has dealt with issues during his brief career. He overcame an offseason shoulder injury to claim a starting job in the secondary and is an important figure in Mike Pettine’s new scheme. Davon House replaced him last week and will get first dibs at the job if King misses more time.
Trent Williams – The hazards of playing football have hit the Skins starting left tackle hard. Williams played through knee pain most of last season before having surgery over this offseason. He went down against the Colts with an injury to the same knee and says he’s still experiencing complications from the surgery. Right guard Brandon Scherf was also evaluated for a knee injury but he returned to the game.
Player to Watch
The status of Rodgers for last week’s game was unknown right until kickoff. Sporting a thick knee brace, the Packers QB took the field and in typical Rodgers style, had a strong outing. After what we saw last season with Brett Hundley, and the brief glimpse we had with DeShone Kizer in the opener, the Packers will go with Rodgers as long as he can stand.
Rodgers was 30 of 42 for 281 yards with a touchdown and the Packers never trailed. Rodgers was sacked four times, but he also scrambled for eight yards on three carries. He was nimble enough to not be predictable. If there was any question as to the validity of the injury, Mike McCarthy had three QBs active for last week’s game with Kizer and Tim Boyle ready if needed.
28.6 – The Packers haven’t had a hard time scoring points early in the season, averaging 26.5 per game to rank 10th. However, their inability to convert in the red zone likely cost them a chance at beating the Vikings last week. With all their weapons you’d expect Green Bay to be more efficient, but that hasn’t been the case. They acquired Jimmy Graham to be the red zone target, but he has yet to catch a scoring pass.
Green Bay converted just one of five trips inside the Minnesota 20, settling for field goals on the other four. The Pack ended up playing a 29-29 tie and shouldn’t have gone to overtime. The Packers have scored just two touchdowns on seven red zone trips this season, a percentage of 28.6 that has them ranked 29th in the NFL.
Free ATS Pick
Rodgers will have to get used to playing with an achy knee and the early results are that he won’t have much of a problem. With an experienced line and group of playmakers, the Packers should be just fine. Now, they need Clay Matthews to grasp the roughing the quarterback rule.
It wasn’t much of a home opener for the Skins, who failed to build off their season opening win and drove more fans away from a mediocre product. They couldn’t run the ball and became one-dimensional in their loss to the Colts. And it’s hard to believe they can turn that around against Green Bay. The Packers will get Aaron Jones back from suspension to make their offense even more dynamic, and the Skins won’t be able to contain all the weapons. Look for Green Bay to cover with a score that cashes the under.
NFL Betting Odds: Packers 23, Redskins 17
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