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Raiders vs. Packers: How It Breaks Down

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Raiders vs. Packers: How It Breaks Down

When The Packers Have The Ball:

The Packers' offensive tackles, Marshall Newhouse and Bryan Bulaga, have taken turns the past two weeks turning in their worst performances of the season. Bulaga's was in Detroit, while Newhouse struggled mightly in New York. Both struggled with speed off the edge and Newhouse, in particular, was left flailing much too often going up against what admittedly is one of the best young pass rushers in the league in Jason Pierre-Paul.

Though no defense is capable of stopping the Packers offense entirely, a team that can rush and get consistent pressure on Aaron Rodgers with four has the best chance to slow them down, at least enough for their own offense to try and keep up by taking advantage of a suspect Packers defense.

Newhouse and Bulaga will probably be able to handle Lamarr Houston and Desmond Bryant, the Raiders' starting defensive ends. It's linebacker Kamerion Wimbley, who has seven sacks so far this year, that both the tackles and the interior of the Packers offensive line will have to be wary of on stunts and blitzes.

Expect the Raiders to keep their safeties back but to pick their spots from time to time and run some zone-blitz looks at Rodgers to try and keep him off balance. The Raiders like to drop guys from unexpected spots from time to time and Rodgers is coming off a game where he flat out missed seeing a guy in coverage before throwing an ugly interception.

Raiders corners Stanford Routt, Lito Sheppard and (ex-Packer) Chris Johnson all have some talent but none of them match up well in any way with Greg Jennings, Jordy Nelson or James Jones. Provided he's afforded the time, he should have a bonanza throwing the ball in Lambeau on Sunday - yes, even in the cold.

James Starks will not play, so Ryan Grant will get the start - but look for rookie Brandon Saine to get the majority of the work, especially if Grant is unable to get going early. The Packers wanted to run Grant against the Giants, but had to go to Saine after Grant proved completely ineffective. Saine has shown a burst and surprisingly good vision. Not only that, he looks like anything but a rookie on the handful of screen plays McCarthy has called for him the past few weeks.

When The Raiders Have The Ball:

The Packers defense catches a break this week when they'll be facing a beaten up Raiders offense. Running back Darren McFadden will miss the game Sunday, a bruising back and a type of player that has given the Packers problems this year.

The Packers are giving up way too many big plays through the air, and McCarthy indicated the deep post in particular has been a problem. The victim of that exact play twice last week, Tramon Williams has to hone in on his technique, communicate with the safeties, and shut that play down. The Raiders will pound and pound the football and then take shots deep. It's in their DNA, and you can bet head coach and playcaller Hue Jackson will work to get the matchup he likes and take a shot deep at least once a quarter against Williams until he proves he can stop it.

Look no further than this play from last week.

Williams gives his man a big cushion, almost conceding a short route. But once the receiver drives on him, he opens his hips as though he is expecting help inside. Once he does that, the receiver knows he has him beat on the post. Williams knows what he has to do to make the correction - now he has to do it.

Enough Already, Who Wins?

I have admittedly been nervous about this game for some time. The Raiders are a streaky team, but when they are playing well, they can get after the quarterback and they can be physical and smash you in the running game. The Packers are coming off their toughest test of the year and will be without a number of starters, including Josh Sitton. Chad Clifton and Desmond Bishop, as well as a big contributor in James Starks.

All that said, as has been the case all season, Aaron Rodgers and the Packers offense just looks to be too much for the other team to handle. Teams have learned they need to keep two safeties back, try to keep them deep over Finley and/or Jennings, and roll the dice that Jordy Nelson, Donald Driver and others won't beat you. That hasn't worked so far and I don't see it starting to this Sunday.

Packers: 31

Raiders: 21

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (16) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

FITZCORE1252's EVO's picture

Palmer throws three picks, GBP roll.

49-17

GBP 4 LIFE

CSS's picture

All 3 to Ryan Picket on zone blitzes, one returned 78 yards for a score.

War fat-man....

Bob's picture

I would love to see that score, but I have to go with Aaron on this one. The Raiders will come top play, embarrassed last week, owener who they loved, died, playing for the playoffs. There will not be a wild card in the AFC west. I expect a game similar to Tampa Bay with one big exception, Josh Freeman as opposed to Carson Palmer. The defense has to bring their A game this week.

davyjones's picture

This is off topic, but here is yet another reason Packer fans are simply the shit...young fans with some talent...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cPdC1ltLWvU&feature=share

jbovegas73's picture

I love this new song ... Hilarious yet sincere praise of Rodgers. These kids are from LaCrosse & have a couple of other funny songs on YouTube.

GO PACK GO!

NoWayJose's picture

Nice post, Aaron.

Two observations about that video:

(1) Cruz is blazing fast.

(2) Whoever was playing the TE on the right side the Giants is wide open for a big gain on that play too. Yeesh.

Michael's picture

I wouldn't exactly call McFadden a big bruising running back... Bush yes. McFadden no.

KCNYC's picture

With Starks out this week, can Ryan Grant have a week like he did in 2007 vs Oakland?

http://www.nfl.com/videos/nfl-game-highlights/09000d5d804ee869/Week-14-R...

Maybe he has one last great game in him, but maybe not.

Bearmeat's picture

Can we actually play some D this week? It'd be nice. This is the worst defense GB's had since 08, and before that 04...

just. awful.

Wagszilla's picture

Both Peprah and Burnett should wear visors and write "don't bite on the play-action" on the inside.

Bob's picture

Peyton in New Orleans has a china doll he gives to injured players. Maybe Capers should get a box of Tutus that he gives to defensive backs that spin in coverage in the previous game. They should wear them all week at practice, to show what lovely ballerinas they would make. Make note I said a box of Tutus! The Packers are the defending champs, it's time for EVERYONE on the defensive side of the ball to play like a champion on every play.

DrewTheDraftGuru's picture

I was nervous about this game, too, and then the OAK offense went and got hurt. Sure, Michael Bush is good, but McFadden is better. Heyward-Bey might be the only healthy WR they have.

AJ Hawk could be valuable at stopping the run. Blowing up blockers is what he does best.

PackersRS's picture

Hawk will bring defensive adjustements. We were killed by Manning (yep, I said it) in his audibles. He saw what the defense was doing and adjusted it, but there was noone to make the counter-adjustement. While Woodson was playing it wasn't so bad, but after he left...

Not only that, but Palmer isn't Eli.

We're not gonna lose the mental battle on defense every snap.

thehatefulnerd's picture

According to Mangini's analysis on NFL Network this week, that pick by Arodge was actually a good play.
The defender had just been picked up that week, and he was far from where he should have been in that defense.

packeraaron's picture

Yep, I saw that. Doesn't change the fact that Aaron never should have thrown the ball.

Bob's picture

That play was very similar to the interception in Chicago. Linebacker moving in a direction opposite to the direction of the play. It's hard to say from a network broadcast, but it looked like a receiver running the same route deeper was also open on that play.

On a similar note, looked like Jones was a touchdown pass on the play setting up the field goal at he end of the Giants game. Everyone jumped Jennings and left Jones open down the sideline.

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