Live From Training Camp With Washington's Team

Redskins-Packers Preview: Less Manley, More Torain

Green Bay favored as Redskins return home and prepare to play without CP

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    Getty Images
    PHILADELPHIA - OCTOBER 03: Ryan Torain #46 of the Washington Redskins runs the ball against the Philadelphia Eagles on October 3, 2010 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Redskins defeated the Eagles 17-12. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

    On paper, Sunday's Redskins-Packers matchup looks downright boring in comparison to Mike Shanahan's first four outings. There's no "McNabb Returns!" or "Haslett Returns!" storyline. No rivalry showdown like Dallas in Week 1. And no interesting pupil-master sideshow like Shanny faced in Houston.

    But it's the Redskins, and they're always fraught with drama. What team will show up? The one that lost to the winless Rams, or the one that gelled in Philly? Is Donovan McNabb going to finally break through? How will Ryan Torain replace Clinton Portis? 

    And, ultimately: what sort of season can the Redskins still have? They haven't been able to establish an identity, and we're kinda scared to know.

    Details: Sunday, 1 p.m. at FedEx Field

    TV
    : CBS

    Line
    : Packers by 2.5

    Previously: Washington (2-2) and Green Bay (3-1) have played just four times in the last 21 years, and the Redskins have lost all of them.

    At the helm: While Donovan McNabb has managed only three touchdown passes in his four games as a Redskin, Aaron Rodgers is doing just fine, thanks. Problem is, he'll have to: with Ryan Grant out for the season, the Packers have no ground game, and that makes Rodgers succeptible.

    Speaking of ground game: The Redskins have lost Clinton Portis' bathing suit area for 4-6 weeks, news that might have been devastating were it not for the good play of Ryan Torain. And the Packers' defense isn't what it once was: ranked tops against the run last season, they are now 24th. Where the Redskins will miss Portis is in pass protection.

    One to watch: Albert Haynesworth's recent struggles were well documented, and then those documents were documented some more. Good thing is, he was finally effective against the Eagles last week, prompting Mike Shanahan to even (gasp!) praise him in public and pledge more playing time. But will there be more?  Haynesworth flew to Tennessee after his half-brother was killed in a motorcycle accident.  There's no guarantee he'll be back in D.C. for Sunday's game.

    Two to watch out for: Pass rush specialist Clay Matthews is the Packers' Brian Orapko. It's possible that by the end of the game, Donovan McNabb won't be able to tell them apart: Matthews has already recorded seven sacks, more than the current team totals of 10 franchises.

    Green Bay's stellar corner Charles Woodson is another player that could prove deadly to the Redskins. McNabb has thrown 22 passes to receiver Santana Moss, which might not be notable if, after Chris Cooley's 16 receptions, the next Redskin didn't have just eight. If Woodson makes quick work of Moss, McNabb's going to need a third target -- and the Redskins don't have much.

    What Dexter Manley thinks, because we can never get enough Dexter Manley

    NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

    What will happen: Aaron Rodgers will play well, but the Washington secondary will come up big while the running game does just enough to spring McNabb a few times. Still, it won't be enough: Green Bay 31, Washington 21.