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'Fresh start' is good motto for Packers offense

You can't win if you don't believe you can win


GREEN BAY – Mike McCarthy referred to the postseason as a "fresh start." Those words would seem to apply specifically to the Packers offense.

It has been an inexplicable season for that phase of the Packers that has long been considered the team's strength. All around the league the question on seemingly every fan's lips is: What's wrong with the Packers offense?

The TV "evanalysts" (yeah, I made that word up) have their theories: it's Aaron Rodgers, it's the receivers, it's the pass protection, it's the play-calling, etc.). Yeah, that pretty much covers it.

Take a look back in time at memorable photos from previous Packers-Redskins matchups. Photos by AP, Jim Biever, Vernon Biever,and Harmann Studios.

What if nothing is wrong? What if the Packers offense gets hot this Sunday in Washington and goes on a postseason tear? The question on everyone's lips will be: What's the reason for the turnaround in the Packers offense? Of course, the "evanalysts" will provide video to support their many theories.

This reporter is buying into the "fresh start" thing. He believes it'll have a cleansing effect on a quarterback and a unit that has spent the past several weeks buried under an avalanche of gloom. Wipe the slate clean. Let's stop talking about what's wrong and embrace what's right, which is what it'll have to be for the Packers to win on Sunday. You can't expect to win in the postseason with an under-performing offense.

It'll either be a fresh start or it'll be the end.

Here are 10 things the Packers have to do to beat the Redskins.

1. Throw the ball – The Redskins are weathering a storm of injuries in their secondary.

2. Stay hot on defense – The Packers defense has allowed just six points in the fourth quarter of the last seven games. That's a formula for success in the postseason.

3. Protect the quarterback – Jay Gruden made mention of it this week. "We have to be consistent in getting pressure, because that's been the key to slowing their offense down. You have to get pressure on the quarterback."

4. Find Jordan Reed in the red zone –The tight end is the Redskins' touchdown maker. The Packers defense needs to focus on him when the Redskins get into scoring territory.

5. Run the ball, too – The Redskins are No. 31 in rushing yards allowed per attempt.

6. Ignore the Redskins' rushing stats –Alfred Morris is better than his 3.7 average. The Redskins' running game has come to life in the second half of the season.

7. Match their energy – The Redskins are on a four-game winning streak and playing with confidence.

8. Up the tempo – Coach McCarthy said the tempo was too slow against the Vikings.

9. Get off the field – The Redskins are No. 5 in third-down conversions. The Packers are No. 9 in third-down defense. This is a showdown category.

10. Believe! – You can't win if you don't believe you can win.

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