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Redskins Prepare For Productive Packers Defense

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With playmakers at all three levels of their defense, the Packers will present the Redskins offense with certain challenges in Sunday's playoff game.

The Washington Redskins on Sunday will look to continue their record-breaking pace on offense against the Green Bay Packers.

While quarterback Kirk Cousins, tight end Jordan Reed and wide receivers DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garçon provide a matchup nightmare for their opponents, the Packers hope to counteract those weapons with very solid defensive unit of their own.

In the defensive backfield, safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and cornerback Damarious Randall have played well as the team's most recent first-round picks. Safety Morgan Burnett – a sixth-year veteran out of Georgia Tech – finished second on the team in tackles and tied for the Packers lead in interceptions with three.

"I think Coach [Dom] Capers does a great job mixing up some different coverages on the back end," Redskins offensive coordinator Sean McVay said. "They do a great job disguising rotations. I think [Clinton-Dix] and Morgan Burnett really holds shells and they'll rotate down late to some single-safety structures or they might show you something else. They're pressuring and I think they do a great job of mixing in their coverages. It's a credit to Coach Capers' system, which has always been very difficult to go against."

And even though Clinton-Dix and Randall are both 23 years old, both are "very mature players."

"For the younger guys that they do have out there in Randall and [Quinten] Rollins, I see very mature players," McVay said. "They recognize concepts and they play very sound. So regardless if they are first-year players or not, you can see it is a very well-coached secondary and they are very sound in what they do on the back end."

But while their secondary is full of younger talent, the Green Bay front-seven is experienced.

Defensive end Julius Peppers, a likely Pro Football Hall of Fame candidate upon his retirement, excelled in the backfield this season, as the 35-year-old tallied 10.5 sacks in the regular season.

In the Packers' last five regular season games, Peppers tallied 4.5 sacks including 2.5 against the Oakland Raiders.

A look back at some of the top images in games between the Washington Redskins and Green Bay Packers.

Nose tackle B.J. Raji continued to be productive in the middle as well, and, of course, Clay Matthews' talent was once again on full display, as the linebacker finished the season with a career-high 66 tackles and 6.5 sacks.

In total, the Green Bay defensed finished tied for seventh with the most sacks in the regular season with 43.  

"I think they do an excellent job with their movement up front," McVay said. "When you're able to create pressure with four- and five-man rushes, got guys like Clay Matthews – he's playing inside linebacker a lot of the time – but when they do use him in some of their rush patterns, he and Peppers are really a nightmare to deal with. I think Mike Daniels is an excellent player. You're seeing a lot of good things from [B.J.] Raji. They have excellent players. They do a great job with their twists and gains up front to be able to create leverage and work edges on linemen and be able to get some of that pressure you're talking about."

Cousins finished the regular season completing 74.7 percent of his passes at FedExField, the highest home completion percentage in NFL history among quarterbacks with 100 attempts.

Even with cornerback Sam Shields officially ruled out of Sunday's game, Cousins knows emulating his success at FedExField won't be easy.

"They have players all around the field," Cousins said. "I think they're an organization that has built a culture where they have consistent success and stability and continuity that goes a long way. So that counts for something as well."

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