Key Battles Week 7: Packers vs. Raiders

Here are some Key Battles that will make the difference in Sunday's contest.

This installment of the Packers vs. Raiders is sure to have one thing, a standard size, 100 yard, NFL field.   Unless a crater hits Lambeau Field between now and tomorrow afternoon, this game will be contested in somewhat normal conditions, and both teams will be able to focus on football instead of what a joke the NFL can be on a daily basis.  After reading this last sentence, the officials and Alberto Riveron asked me to hold their beers.

This matchup against the Raiders is an intriguing one for a few reasons: First, anytime John Gruden makes his return to Lambeau Field, it's always an enjoyable trip down memory lane.  Secondly, this matchup will be featuring two pretty good football teams (record-wise); so we will be able to see whether or not they are legitimate contenders or pretenders.  Fun fact, if the season ended today, both the Packers and the Raiders would be in the playoffs.  Finally, it is always interesting when a former Packer comes back home especially when they were traded during the season.  I know the Packer Universe will fall off its axis if Trevor Davis returns a kick for a touchdown or catches a touchdown in his return to Lambeau.

As has been the case this year, I believe five key battles will turn this game into a victory or a defeat for the Packers. 

1. Smith ESQ. vs. The Raiders Offensive Line:

As always, the defense goes as the Smith's go.  This duo has accounted for 13 sacks and many more pressures through the first 6 games of this season.  The key to combatting the Raiders offensive attack is for the Smiths to plunge the edges and the A-Gap on a variety of blitz packages.  Lately, Preston and Captain Z have been making opposing offensive tackles lives miserable, and they will have to continue to do so tomorrow in order to disrupt the Raiders gameplan.   

2. Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams dominating the rushing and the receiving game:

With the receiving core officially in shambles, Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams have become key members of the Packers passing attack.  Both have shown their value to the screen and check-down game week in and week out.  Now, they will be forced to play some reps in both the slot and outside game in an attempt to move the ball down the field without dramatically altering the gameplan.  If I'm the Packers, I will be looking for 10 combined receptions from the two running backs for between 100-150 yards.  Jones and Williams contributions to the receiving game will take some pressure off of Lazard and the rest of the young receivers.        

3. Lamarcus Joyner vs. Allen Lazard???

Who would have ever thought this could be a possible matchup on Sunday?  However, with the Packers receiving core depleted, Lazard stepping up in Monday's win, and Joyner, in my opinion, being the Raiders best pound for pound defender, Paul Guenther could elect to match Joyner up with Lazard in order to shut down one of the Packers best vertical threats.  Lazard will need to find a way to win a few one on one battles if matched up with Joyner in the slot or in specific packages on the outside.    

4. Ryan Grant vs. Trevor Davis

This is one of those games where two players will match up against their former teams looking for revenge.  Trevor Davis never lived up to expectations while in Green Bay, and I'm sure, he would love nothing more than to break a big return in Sunday's contest.  The same holds true for Packers receiver Ryan Grant who was released by the Raiders earlier this year.  Grant will hopefully be able to step in just days after being signed and make a few big plays against his former team to help the Packers receiving unit.  

5. JK Scott vs. The Endzone

The reality is the Packers offense is going to go through stretches where they cannot move the ball down the field.  This is where JK Scott needs to be able to unleash his leg and place the ball inside the 20-yard line.  The Packers punt return game will continue to have to rely on Scott to unleash high, long kicks that eliminate returns and start the Raiders offense inside the 20-yard line.  If the Packers can do this more times than not, their front seven will be able to pick their spots and really go after Derek Carr.

Keys to Victory:

1. Slow Down Clelin Ferrell and the rest of the Raiders front seven.

2. Unleash Jamaal Williams and Aaron Jones.

3. Win the field position battle and point of attack.

4. Having receivers make plays in crunch time.

Prediction:

I think the Raiders are a much-improved team and I see them giving the Packers a fight for 60 minutes.  At the end of the day, the Packers are the better team and I see them making just enough plays to sneak away with a 24-21 victory.

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David Michalski is a staff writer for Cheesehead TV. He can be found on Twitter @kilbas27dave 

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Comments (19)

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Lare's picture

October 19, 2019 at 12:39 pm

The Packers upgraded Allison from doubtful to questionable for the game.

Unfortunately, that's also how I grade his ability to catch a pass this season.

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DavidMichalski's picture

October 19, 2019 at 12:49 pm

Yea, I saw that after I published. Hopefully, he can give it a go even if it's just for matchup purposes.

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Daren726's picture

October 19, 2019 at 01:56 pm

He’s been fantastic for the last couple years when he wasn’t hurt. I think he’ll figure things out if not this week in the next week or two and he’ll be one of the Aaron’s most steady pass catchers. For some Reason, he just hasn’t been able to get it together so far this year. Maybe it’s the new offense or his new role that’s giving him trouble.I say we need to give him a little more time before we write him off.

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ALLGASNOBRAKES's picture

October 19, 2019 at 01:04 pm

I really stuck up for both Allison and Graham this offseason. Allison had such a good start last season I thought he come in and do it again. I was hoping more than anything after a rough year last year Graham had at least one good year left and might have it in year 2 with AR.

Just as you said, unfortunately, that's not been the case most of the season.

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dobber's picture

October 19, 2019 at 01:33 pm

Allison would flash from time-to-time, but I think that's more a function of who's throwing the ball than Allison, himself. There are a lot of GMo-types out there.

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ALLGASNOBRAKES's picture

October 19, 2019 at 01:00 pm

Just a little FYI David...Arden Key is listed as being OUT this week buddy..

I'm actually really looking forward to seeing more of Jones and Williams on the field together. Williams is a nice compliment to Jones and an excellent receiver out of the backfield. He also always seems to fall forward for that extra yard just as advertised coming out of school. I'm looking forward to how MLF uses both backs this weekend with the WR shortage the Packers have right now.

PLEASE MLF... More Marcedes Lewis...Less Jimmy Graham. I understand Lewis is a bit older and used more as a blocker BUT when he's more involved in the passing game he's delivered which is more than I can say about Graham. I really thought Graham would be much better this year in year 2 with AR, but through 6 weeks and several key drops, it doesn't seem to be happening.

The Raiders actually have a pretty good O-Line especially inside with Hudson, Incognito, and Gabe Jackson. If Trent Brown is out (doubtful now) obviously that's to be huge but the Packers HAVE to be able to handle the middle of that O-Line.

I don't think it will be that close... Packers 31-16

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dobber's picture

October 19, 2019 at 01:30 pm

Trent Brown being out will be a major blow to Oakland's ability to protect Carr, who isn't very mobile. As you say, their game is running Jacobs, mostly between the tackles. Being able to force passing downs should lead to stops and TOs.

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DavidMichalski's picture

October 19, 2019 at 02:54 pm

Apologies, for not seeing the Arden Key news I don’t have much time as I’m working 4 jobs

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ALLGASNOBRAKES's picture

October 20, 2019 at 02:12 am

NO worries David...

Personally, I've never really understood why some of our fellow fans here go ballistic over a typo or a writer not knowing about a change that probably happened minutes before they post their piece.

SMH...Great job and Thank you!

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Spock's picture

October 20, 2019 at 09:02 am

David, I appreciate your getting an article in between those four jobs (I hope your wife feels the same way about your use of the time, lol). I always like the match-ups stuff because I never watch any other team and am unfamiliar with their personnel (especially AFC teams). Nice write up.

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jannes bjornson's picture

October 19, 2019 at 07:23 pm

Pettine has two guys to stop for the Raiders. Hopefully he can figure that much out. Letting a WR gain beaucoup yards/TDs is not a prescription for success moving forward.

Pack 27 ---Raiders 17

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jlc1's picture

October 19, 2019 at 01:20 pm

Even with few or no injuries this Packer team is not going to win many if any easy wins, they are going to continue to play nail biters. It is interesting that here and elsewhere I don't hear anyone saying the GB tight ends need to get used more. Sure looks like that has been a huge misfire by the front office. Likely to come down to who has the ball last.

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jlc1's picture

October 19, 2019 at 01:21 pm

Well make that we hear almost nothing about the TEs......

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BoCallahan's picture

October 19, 2019 at 10:24 pm

Jlc1,
Do you ever listen to Nagler? He is constantly addressing the need to get the ball to the TEs. He even brings his concerns to Matt Laf. He alludes to the TEs almost as much as he makes Star Wars references.

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dblbogey's picture

October 19, 2019 at 06:26 pm

That's actually an often covered topic.

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jannes bjornson's picture

October 19, 2019 at 07:25 pm

Panic moves after Ted and Lowball let Cook walk. I like Sternberger. He's the future.

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GVPacker's picture

October 19, 2019 at 04:33 pm

I think the Packers will pull this out at home against the Raiders. I like the way the Defense is able
to make plays and they are overdue for a pick six Are you listening J Alexander and Kevin King?
My only concern is Special Teams, maybe consider using Tramon Williams as a punt returner?

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porupack's picture

October 19, 2019 at 07:13 pm

Key Battle to add;
MLF vs Gruden. We know Gruden has impressive track record to get his team fired up, and play sly and resilient ball. Can LeFleur match wits? Throw surprises at Gruden? So far, LeFleur met the challenge. But eyes are still on coach, that all pre-season assessments were not to expect many wins from rookie coaches. He's snatched a few. Can he get another against a wiley veteran?

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jannes bjornson's picture

October 19, 2019 at 07:27 pm

Get LaFleur another weapon for the receiving corps, be it WR or TE. Must be aggressive; no need to continue wasting Rodger's talent fielding scrubs.

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