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Packers vs. Raiders: 5 Things to Watch and a Prediction

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Packers vs. Raiders: 5 Things to Watch and a Prediction

The Green Bay Packers (9-4) travel out west to take on the Oakland Raiders (6-7) in a Week 15 showdown between a likely playoff team in the NFC and a young club desperately trying to stay in the AFC postseason hunt. 

Here are five things to watch and a prediction for Green Bay’s matchup with Oakland on Sunday:


Blitzing Rodgers

Opposing defenses haven’t been as afraid to blitz Aaron Rodgers this season. In fact, he’s faced extra pass rushers on 140 drop backs through 13 games, compared to just 121 in 2014. The increase is probably due to the fact that Rodgers’ passer rating against the blitz has fallen by almost 35 points since last season. Raiders defensive coordinator Ken Norton hasn’t been a heavy blitzer, but he might be tempted to throw a few different things at the Packers quarterback on Sunday. The running game and a few well-timed screens are good ways to combat extra pressure. 


Facing Favre Jr. 

Some believe Raiders quarterback Derek Carr to be very similar to Brett Favre, whose name and number recently went up in yellow letters at Lambeau Field. Carr is fearless, and he possesses an rocket arm capable of making any throw. After 13 games, Carr has tossed 26 touchdown passes, with more passing yards and a better completion percentage and passer rating than Aaron Rodgers. He’s as talented as any quarterback the Packers have faced since taking on Cam Newton roughly two months ago. This will be a good test to see if Green Bay’s ascending defense is a product of real improvement or simply the opposing quarterback. 


Woodson’s Revenge?

The Packers will face Charles Woodson for the first time since parting ways with the future Hall of Famer back in 2012. Green Bay thought the then 37-year-old was done, but his last three seasons in Oakland—which have featured 10 interceptions—proves he still had something left in the tank. Now 39, Woodson has produced the most interceptions (five) for a player his age in NFL history. He’d probably enjoy putting on a show against the club that cut him loose before he wanted to go. 


Secondary Test

With Sam Shields out while recovering from a concussion, the Packers will head to Oakland with rookies Damarious Randall and Quinten Rollins locked in for big roles alongside Casey Hayward. Facing Carr and his receiving group figures to present a stiff challenge for the first-year cornerbacks. Amari Cooper, Michael Crabtree and Seth Roberts are an emerging trio of pass-catchers, with 2,000 yards and 16 touchdowns between the three. Randall against Cooper could be a can’t miss matchup, but Crabtree and Robert are just as capable of moving the sticks and putting up points. 


Mack Trucking

May the Force be with Bryan Bulaga and David Bahktiari, the Packers two offensive tackles. They’ll get all they can handle in Raiders Sith Lord edge rusher Khalil Mack, who had five sacks against the Broncos a week ago and now leads the NFL with 14. He took over the game last Sunday, registering four sacks and forcing a safety in the second half of Oakland’s comeback win. Last year’s fifth overall pick is as active and disruptive as any pass rusher in football. The Packers better have a sense where No. 52 is at all times. 


Prediction: Packers 24, Raiders 20

The Raiders can stop the run, and Mack is an otherworldly talent capable of making life uncomfortable for Rodgers all afternoon. Luckily, Green Bay’s defense is playing exceedingly well, allowing just 15.6 points per game over the last five games. I think a big turnover late in the game turns the contest in favor of the visitors. 


Zach Kruse contributes to Cheesehead TV. You can reach him on Twitter @zachkruse2 or by email at [email protected].

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (15) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Nick Perry's picture

Rollins is going to get a decent test on Sunday against Crabtree and Cooper. I love Randell and I'm not worried about him though I'd felt better if Shields was able to play. The Raiders have a pretty good RB in Murry and 2 TE's that have combined for close to 50 catches, 500 yards, and 4 TD's. They also have one of the best Centers in the NFL so Raji needs to play well.

I think Abby is going to get a chance to play a little more this week and hopefully had more reps with the Starters. No matter what they hve to start to see what he can do and if he can stay on the field because I think this WR group looks much different next year. If he can stay on the field and start to show that knack for getting open, he'll catch the damn ball, something that Adams doesn't do. I think Rodgers quietly has a 3 TD game and the offense rolls up over 400 yards again. James Jones WILL have a TD too.

Keep running Eddie and James! If Lacy has 5 yards after 4 carries keep giving him the ball. I believe McCarthy does that no matter what, something Clements bailed on way to soon in some games this year. Packers 31 Raiders 20, and that's with a garbage time TD by Oakland.

EdsLaces's picture

If Rollins is on Crabtree or Cooper it's gonna be a long day. He's a good young player ..but he's not ready for them.

Brand New Hero's picture

That's quite the statement.

Care to elaborate? What led you to believe this? Was it coaches film and advanced statistics? Or just a gut feeling? And when will he "be ready" for them? Is there some hidden metric you've patented that will let you know? Or will it just be another gut feeling?

Rollins is ranked as the 19 best CB in the NFL so far this season by PFF, so he's doing something right.

And for the record, I don't necessarily agree or disagree with your opinion, I'm just curious how you came to it.

cpabandit's picture

Hey BNH! Lighten up a bit on him. He has an opinion that he's entitled to give. Remember, he is a Packer fan as we all are, rooting for the same team. Your last sentence doesn't negate the first paragraph. Enjoy the game. Go Packers.

EdsLaces's picture

I am saying it because I watch every game even if I have to do that from my phone at work. I liked Rollins better in the draft but 23 has changed my opinion. Although I have seen Rollins make some great plays I have seen him get burnt by some double moves that Randall would have stuck to. So it is my OPINION that if he has to guard one of these 2 wrs that have been dominating this year it will be a long day. Why I was so polite in my response I have no idea.

Brand New Hero's picture

I wasn't rude; just asked some questions. It was quite an unsubstantiated claim by you. I wanted to know how you came up with it.

So what's leading to his struggle on double moves? Is it his hip placement? Is he cheating routes from film study? Is it mental lapses?

And what is Randall doing differently that allows him to stick on those routes? Just curious. Thanks for the response.

zeke's picture

Curious as to whether you think Derek Carr will revolutionize the QB position, the way that Colin Kaepernick did?

FITZCORE1252's picture

I have a hard time taking anyone seriously when they don't honor their word.

Lphill's picture

Cow when have you ever picked the Packers ? What an Ass .

FITZCORE1252's picture

Pack, in a nail biter.

EdsLaces's picture


sheppercheeser's picture

I hope MM has a plan to give Bakhtiari a little help against Mack- maybe Kuhn or Janis. Other than that, I think the only way GB doesn't win is if we lose the turnover battle. AR has to be very smart against Woodson- you know that Charles will be trying to bait Aaron to throw his way.

ray nichkee's picture

That sounds about right. I've heard its been raining not stop there too.

4thand1's picture

Rain favors Lacy and Starks.

LAS VEGAS-TOM's picture

JMO, But we can't be throwing away from Charles Woodson. We need to beat Charles Woodson. If AR limits himself to half the field, Oakland will pick that up. That would give them too much of an advantage in this game. If we have to worry about Charles Woodson, let's just pack it in now.LVT

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