Around the NFL

Bold predictions: Jeff Janis to the rescue for Packers

*It's time for a playoff round of bold predictions from the Around The NFL team. Remember, these predictions are not for the faint of heart. *

Packers defense ends Cousins' run

Kirk Cousins has been a great story in the second half of the season, reaching heights in the quarterback power structure that we never imagined possible. That great story will end Sunday against an underrated Packers defense. The Redskins haven't had to play from behind against a quality opponent and we will be curious to see how Cousins reacts if Green Bay gets off to a fast start. More importantly, Mike Daniels, Mike Neal and the Packers' defense are far superior to Washington's group. Look for the Packers to win a slugfest: 13-10. --*Gregg Rosenthal *

Jeff Janis breaks out for Packers

As uninspiring as the Packers have been for three months, they are going to need a secret weapon to beat a Redskins team playing their best ball of the season. That weapon is special teams dynamo Jeff Janis, who will finally inject a much-needed speed element into a somnambulant offense. Janis will make a pair of game-changing plays against a suspect Redskins secondary that has a dirty habit of blowing coverages and missing tackles at inopportune times. The Packers will pull off the "upset," buoyed by their fifth wide receiver. -- Chris Wesseling

Lockett fries Vikings or Orr will pen sequel to 80s blockbuster

Seahawks rookie Tyler Lockett has become must-watch material for fans of this great sport. He fried Arizona with punt returns of 66, 42 and 31 yards, setting Seattle up for a pair of scores deep in Arizona territory in its regular-season finale. He'll play the hero again on Sunday with two stunning touchdown returns in Hoth-like conditions at TCF Bank Stadium. The Vikings are building a strong team, but it's hard to imagine Minnesota piling up points against the league's top scoring defense. Lockett alone will put this game away, while becoming a January star in the process for the surging Seahawks.

If this doesn't happen, Around the NFL's Conor Orr will spend the offseason lodged in an isolated cabin in the Vermont wilderness, where he will pen the script for a sequel to "E.T." In this new installment, our beloved alien friend returns to earth to find that Elliott, in a role reprised by Henry Thomas, has gone insane as an adult. Nobody believes his childhood tales of encountering a being from outer space, leaving Elliott to question his entire existence. Only his knowing sister Gertie (with Drew Barrymore returning to play the role) can save him.

Aaron Rodgers throws for 384 yards and three touchdowns

Aaron Rodgers told a local reporter this week "maybe I have to adjust my mindset and let it fly a little more." That is a precursor to Rodgers busting out like he hasn't in the past 10 weeks -- 10 straight weeks of sub-100.0 passer rating. The Washington Redskins have given up the second most passing yards in the NFL over the final three weeks of the season -- to the likes of Kellen Moore, Sam Bradford and Tyrod Taylor, no less. The Packers' offense has floundered worse than any time since the pre-Brett Favre, but Sunday night it will awaken with force. Rodgers will come out slinging from the kickoff and dice up a suspect secondary leaving everyone to wonder why so many wrote off the reigning NFL MVP. -- Kevin Patra

Rodgers rights ship against Redskins

Aaron Rodgers said it might be time to let it fly a little, and against the Redskins on Sunday he'll do just that. The Packers are stacked full of players who turn it on when the world is against them, and after a week of enduring the narrative that Kirk Cousins was better this season, Rodgers will be ready to bring the heat. Expect him to throw at least four touchdowns in a thriller. While Cousins will keep pace for a while, it will be Rodgers proving once again why he's the best in the business. -- Conor Orr

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