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Washington's offensive line could surprise the Packers

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Washington's offensive line has done a great job protecting Kirk Cousins this season. Can they keep him upright against the Packers on Wild Card Weekend?

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There's not much to recall about the 1982 NFL season. A strike ate away nearly half the games that year, and a lot of teams struggled to regain their footing after a long mid-season pause. Not in Washington. That season, Joe Gibbs' second year in Washington, saw the birth of a dynasty. And it started up front with an offensive line that became affectionately known as The Hogs.

Center Jeff Bostic, left guard Russ Grimm, right guard Mark May, left tackle Joe Jacoby and right tackle George Starke formed the nucleus of one of the best blocking units the game has ever seen. That group helped a 33-year-old John Riggins rush for 553 yards in just nine games that season. But the real show started in January. The Hogs steamrolled defensive lineman and linebackers, paving the way for 610 yards in four postseason games. He capped off the effort with a 43-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter of Super Bowl XVII, giving Washington the lead and the first of three Super Bowl wins over the next 10 seasons.

This season, Washington is making only its fifth postseason appearance since their last Super Bowl win more than two decades ago. Their offensive line this year lacks the legendary status of those Hogs, but it's one of the more underrated position groups in the playoffs this year, and it just might be the best offensive line out of all four NFC teams taking the field on Wild Card Weekend.

Jay Gruden's second season in Washington has been one of transition for his offensive line. It's moving away from Mike Shanahan's old zone blocking scheme with smaller, more athletic linemen, to a group that features beefy fellows with a scheme more concerned with power and gaps.

It's been a struggle at times. During Washington's 6-2 run over the second half of the season, the running game has only produced four outings with triple-digit yardage. Still, Gruden stuck with the running game, averaging just over 26 attempts per game. Running the ball has been more about setting up the passing game.

Washington's offensive line has been effective in pass blocking, something Kirk Cousin's impressive statistics can attest to. Cousins has only been sacked 26 times. Overall, this version of the Hogs has allowed a sack on just 5.4 percent of dropbacks (per Football Outsiders data). Only two teams, from both the NFC and AFC, have been better at pass blocking by that measurement (Arizona and Pittsburgh).

They'll have a good matchup with the Packers' defense, which is sacking opposing quarterbacks on 6.7 percent of passing plays. But Cousins hasn't needed much time in the pocket, just enough to get the ball to matchup nightmare Jordan Reed or the blazing DeSean Jackson.

Washington doesn't need its offensive line to be The Hogs on Sunday. The front five just needs to force its way down the field, keeping the offense out of third-and-long situations and out of reach from the Green Bay blitz. If they can do that, Washington should be on its way to its first playoff win since the 2005 season.

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Leading up to Super Bowl 50, Gillette Fusion ProShield -- which features lubrication strips before and after the blades to shield from irritation while you shave -- is partnering with select NFL offensive linemen to celebrate the importance of protection. With John UrschelTrent Williams and Rodger Saffold having already shown off with their #ShieldMove dances, all current, former and future offensive linemen and coaches -- whether you play for fun, as part of an official team, or during your glory days -- are invited to join in on the action. To see the latest and share your signature dance move that celebrates protection for fun perks in the lead up to Super Bowl 50, check out and use the hashtag #ShieldMove on Twitter.