Packers vs. Raiders: Rants & Raves

It's a new format for what used to be the Saturday Scoop. Rants & Raves focuses on the biggest compliments and complaints about the Packers heading into their next game

Yes, you're reading it right.  What was formerly Saturday Scoop is now Rants & Raves.  For those who follow me in Twitter, you're very familiar with my game day rants and ramblings about the Green Bay Packers that usually lose me a handful of followers every week.  I like to call myself a realist, but the popular vote still refers to it as "negative" so I said to myself, "why fight it?".  There's still a good read to be had in some not-so-flattering type about the Packers being sprinkled in amongst some good, if only in the comment section.  Let's try out a little tongue-in-cheek sarcasm with some actual content sprinkled in, shall we?

The Packers head to Oakland to take on the Raiders at the pit that is O.co Coliseum.  You know, that stadium that the Oakland A's use during baseball season and that the NFL paints a football field on and pretends it meets league standards for game play.  At least by now, the sod is down and the entire field will be a grass (or whatever it is) surface.  We'll see how well it holds up if there is as much rain as the forecast suggests there could be on game day.  A wet and soggy day helped the Packers last week as they ran for more rushing yards than they had in over a decade against the Dallas Cowboys.  Oakland's run defense isn't the greatest so figure to see a lot of Eddie Lacy and James Starks at the outset of this one.  This is Green Bay's biggest opportunity on offense.  We'll also see Randall Cobb back there, I suppose, although I don't understand why this is still a thing.  Cobb has been counted on week in and week out to pick up the slack after the Packers lost Jordy Nelson during the preseason.  Then they stick him in the backfield and let the opposing team's front seven truck at him full speed with a basic five-man protection scheme.  You tell me.  I say ditch it and let Cobb do his work in the middle of the field.  More often than not, the runs don't produce much and if Mike McCarthy opts for any type of toss or sweep with Cobb, may the Lord have mercy on my television remote.

Friday afternoon, we got an updated injury report and this did little to lower my blood pressure.  When will it end with this team?!  We already know cornerback Sam Shields is out, as is receiver Ty Montgomery.  Let's face it here, folks, Montgomery ain't walking through that door anytime soon.  Nine weeks with a sprained ankle?  Sure, he's had setbacks with each one further delaying his return, but, NINE WEEKS?!?!  Are we sure this was just a high sprain?  Don't be surprised if Ty lands on injured reserve at some point.  Questionable are receiver Davante Adams (foot), guard T.J. Lang (shoulder), center Corey Linsley (ankle) and defensive lineman Mike Daniels (hamstring).  Mike Daniels?!  Figures, a week after he signs that huge extension and he may possibly miss his first game in three years.  He has a hamstring injury and those are tricky.  Depending on the severity, Daniels may go on limited reps Sunday or the Packers may opt to hold him out in hopes that an extra week's rest will have him in much better shape for two big NFC match ups to end the season.  Not having Daniels out there is never a good thing for the Packers and it would mean a bigger role for Letroy Guion.  Datone Jones would spend more time at end vs. from the outside linebacker spot the Packers have been trying him at.  

Fortunately, the Packers should be getting Nick Perry back and he'll be able to rotate in to help out Julius Peppers, who still has a rather large search party out looking for him.  Join the party anytime, Pep!  There's three weeks left in the season, your team has a good chance to make another playoff run and your audition for next year has been a flop over the last month.  But, at least he's healthy and he should be after all of those plays he takes off, amirite?  As for Adams and Lang, the Packers need both out there.  Lang obviously adds an element in run blocking and a steadier presence on the right side where Raiders linebacker Khalil Mack will be roaming.  No Lang and a banged up Bryan Bulaga at tackle means a long day at the office on the right side of the line.  Here's hoping Lang can shoulder the load and suit up (see what I did there?).  Mack took over last week's game against the Denver Broncos and was they key to victory.  He's the type that can show up like that every week and Green Bay has to be prepared.  Expect to see some H-back action in the backfield for added protection if Lang is out.  That takes Richard Rodgers out of the passing game a bit, but if the Packers can't make up what seems to be his four yards per catch that Rodgers is averaging, then I don't know (actually, it's nine but that's a padded stat thanks to our mother Mary).

Adams has been a far cry from what many expected this season and after his return from an ankle injury earlier this season.  He's dropped some big throws and run some pretty horrific routes, but there's always a chance with that guy.  Plays like the one he made against the Cowboys in last year's playoffs or games like he had against the New England Patriots.  If nothing else, having Adams out there helps open some things up for Cobb, James Jones and. . whoever the fourth guy is this week, be it Jared Abbrederis or Jeff Janis.

These interconference games are hard to predict.  Unfamiliar opponent and lots of film study.  The Packers have had their struggles in these AFC matchups before.  Remember the game at Indianapolis when Reggie Wayne grew three extra arms and caught everything thrown his way?  How about the game against the San Diego Chargers earlier this year when Keenan Allen was on pace to catch 54 balls before he left with an injury?  Or Peyton Manning, who is on one leg (well, he's actually on the bench right now, but I digress) to end the Packers unbeaten record?  Remember Virgil Green running and running. . and running before a Packers defender finally tackled him?  He runs about a 5.5-40.  So does Oakland tight end Lee Smith, who runs about as fast as the Lee Smith some may remember as a relief pitcher for the Chicago Cubs.  But watch out, that's the type of guy the Packers love to forget about.  Green set a career high in yardage against the Pack.  Can Smith do the same?  He needs only 29 measley yards to accomplish the feat.  Worse would be a pair of 2-yard touchdowns because the Packers are too focused on the Raiders top-flight receivers.  Why do the Packers give these ridiculous career days to guys named Joe?  Why?!?!  

Speaking of Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper, they're both having good seasons.  It would seem that Cooper has the home run potential the Packers need to watch out for, but I'm looking at Crabtree and seeing visions of his former teammate with the San Francisco 49ers Anquan Boldin.  Not in that they're the same guy, but I can see Crabtree just roaming the field, finding soft spots and setting in to make catch after catch just like Boldin did against the Packers in 2013.  He's seven years in now and still playing at a high level.  His smarts are helping the good amount of talent still there.  With Shields out, Damarious Randall and Quinten Rollins will see more time.  Randall especially has played very well.  He had Dez Bryant most of last week, but let's be honest, Dez took himself out of that game just as much as Randall's play did.  Not saying the rook didn't play well, but he'l have his hands full.  Rollins has a longer way to go in coverage to prove that he can hang with superior talent.  He has good ball skills, but if he has to win in coverage alone, it could open up some opportunities for Oakland.  David Carr isn't a great quaterback, but he's improving each week and can take advantage of opportunities handed to him.  Cooper sneaking behind coverage or Crabtree streaking across the abyss that is the middle of the Green Bay defense would certainly qualify as opportunity, to me.  If Crabtree or Cooper get into double digit catches, we'll know something went awry with the Packers secondary, such as putting Micah Hyde in coverage, for example (bangs head on wall).

One area no one is talking about is special teams.  Janis played out of his mind against the Cowboys.  That's the good news.  The bad news is that he's now going to get a special escort down to the punt returner in the form of two guys who were told in the film room that if they let 83 beat them and make the tackle, they're going to become ball boys.  Janis has very good speed and some talent to boot.  Can he handle the extra attention he'll be getting or will he shut down like he does on his route running as a receiver?  The mark of a good player and a good team is still performing well even when the opponent knows what you're doing and has a good game plan for it.  For some reason I see special teams becoming a factor in this game.  Former Packer Jeremy Ross returns kicks for the Raiders but he fumbles a lot. . or was that just when he was with the Packers?  The coverage teams have to be solid in this game.  I just can't help this vision I have of a total breakdown on a kick return and a long run by the guys in silver and black.  On defense, the Packers need to keep Oakland on their side of the mid-field logo.  80-year old Sebastian Janikowski has a few over 60 yards to his credit and if his kicks are as long as his teeth are, the Raiders may be in field goal range all day long.

Last but not least, let's not forget the headline image of this post, Charles Woodson.  Think he wants to have one of his better games this week?  If he doesn't, he'll have the rest of that defense amped up for this game.  He'll tell these young guys about how he had a career day against this and that future Hall of Fame quaterback and how that forged his legacy in the NFL.  Every defender wants to pick off or sack Aaron Rodgers.  Woodson had two against Manning earlier this season when he hadn't had any in his career, which started in 1998!  He'll be looking to bait Rodgers into a throw or two.  Wood's old friend James Jones will be roaming as a receiver for the Packers.  Should be fun to see those two square off but the way Jones is playing lately, I don't like that matchup at all.  I often wonder if the Packers could have found a role for Woodson another season or two.  Obviously they're in good shape with Ha Ha Clinton-Dix at safety and Randall and Rollins at corner, but to see Woodson still making some plays at this stage makes you at least stop and pause.  I said in my prediction that I hope this game doesn't come down to a Woodson pick-six.  Rodgers has only one in his career so far.  This would be a baaaaaaaaaad time to pad that stat.  We love you, Charles, but please save the fireworks for another game!

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Jason is a freelance writer on staff since 2012 and also co-hosts Cheesehead TV Live, Pulse of the Pack and Pack A Day podcasts.  You can follow him on Twitter here

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Comments (22)

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FrozenTundra's picture

December 19, 2015 at 01:22 pm

If I didn't know better I would swear Cow wrote this article.

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Phillthy's picture

December 19, 2015 at 04:17 pm

If it was COW this article would be down voted and ripped to shit in the comments, but since it isn't we will respect his view.

It's bullshit, we're all Packer fans with a unified love for the team. Don't rip each other for our opinions because they aren't the same as yours. That kind of attitude would make us no better than Cowboy fans.

I don't always agree with COW but I ain't gonna lynch mob gang up on him, that's not the Packer way and certainly not acting like Packer people.

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lou's picture

December 19, 2015 at 04:24 pm

FrozenTundra you made me laugh out loud. I agree with being unfamiliar with the opponent makes it hard to forecast not only who will win but the score (especially if it rains - I lived in San Diego for quite a while and believe me they are not used to rain very far North of there). A couple of thoughts, I believe Woodson may go down as the "Best Defensive Back" ever, forget corner, safety, nickel, dime etc. just as Favre is arguably the "best football player to play QB" if you know what I am getting at. Only real issue with the article I have is the statement that Adams opens things up for Cobb and Jones, he has been as ineffective as Boykin was last year (at least Boykin added something positive to special teams). Hopefully they can get an early lead and send the idiots in the "Black Hole Section" back to Alcatraz on an early boat.

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JerseyAl's picture

December 19, 2015 at 07:54 pm

he did say, "tongue-in-cheek sarcasm..."

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tm_inter's picture

December 19, 2015 at 04:39 pm

I agree that Cobb should be used as receiver, not as running back, because of his small physique. I suggest Janis take Cobb's place in the backfield instead. After all, Janis is much bigger and probably faster than Cobb. A few new plays could be designed for Janis due to his extraordinary speed.

Go Pack Go!

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Tundraboy's picture

December 19, 2015 at 05:36 pm

I agree. But they just don't want to use Janis on O. Maybe as a decoy only but how effective is that when he is rarely targeted.

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DrealynWilliams's picture

December 19, 2015 at 07:09 pm

Bigger and stronger doesn't make some a better "runner".

I like Cobb running. I just don't like Cobb running up the gut.

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dobber's picture

December 19, 2015 at 08:27 pm

Ding! Ding! Ding!!!

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Nick Perry's picture

December 19, 2015 at 07:35 pm

I'm with you and tundraboy. Every time I see Cobb take a handoff I cringe when he's running into 300 pound D-Lineman who want to kill him. I understood it in 2012 or 13 when it was "A New Wrinkle", now it's 2 yards and hold my breath until he pops up.

Abby is going to have a good game and show he can take a hit and get up tomorrow.

BTW... I thought the post was entertaining!! Good job Jason!

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jasonperone's picture

December 20, 2015 at 01:26 am

Thank you sir!

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dobber's picture

December 19, 2015 at 08:35 pm

If you're going to hand the ball off to Janis, you better do it when he's got a head of steam on a jet sweep or on a reverse, not from the backfield. Yes, he's fast but he's not necessarily elusive--like Cobb. This is why he returns kicks and not punts.

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WinUSA's picture

December 21, 2015 at 01:26 pm

Hey Tm.... I really like that concept!
:+)

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WinUSA's picture

December 21, 2015 at 01:27 pm

Hey Tm.... I really like that concept!
:+)

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WinUSA's picture

December 21, 2015 at 01:29 pm

Okay...here's one for all the doom and gloomers.... Arizona loses 2, Packers win 2....the Packers have the home field advantage until the NFC Championship less the Panthers get upset...then the Pack has the home field advantage in that game also....

w00t w00t !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

PS. I think I have the playoff tie breaker right but certainly can be corrected....but love, love, love, the concept!!!!! :+)

Go Pack!

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4thand1's picture

December 19, 2015 at 07:25 pm

McCarthy usually throws in a new wrinkle near the end of the season. Don't be surprised if Janis is it. Makes perfect sense,all the down play, teams won't be expecting it until he burns em deep.

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Tundraboy's picture

December 19, 2015 at 08:28 pm

As I was writing my post above about Janis being a decoy, that thought crossed my mind. Maybe MM is lulling everyone before he unleashes a Janis play.

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Nick Perry's picture

December 20, 2015 at 05:47 am

AWESOME!!!! Cow stated ALL Janis is capable of providing is ST play. We all know what happens when Cow says "It ani't happenin", Janis is about to Breakout!! Personally I think it's Abby but I don't think he'll breakout. Just do what he did at UW, move the chains and "Catch" the ball. Yes I'm thinking of you Davante.

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4thand1's picture

December 20, 2015 at 08:30 am

Yes Nick! Right on! Cowdouche bizzarro world is about to take over. Everything he touches turns to shit. His predictions are ass backwards. If only he would give us lottery numbers. We could pick our numbers as far away from his and most likely win.

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Ima fubar's picture

December 19, 2015 at 07:56 pm

The game will be close. Both teams are about equal. Quit trying to put an average team in the elite column. That went out with the Seattle fiasco last year that mm orchestrated.

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Doug_In_Sandpoint's picture

December 20, 2015 at 08:34 am

I like the article Jason. If there is a right way to be a realist, this is it. Throw in some humor like a spoonful of sugar. Take note Cow and Ima.

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ray nichkee's picture

December 20, 2015 at 09:44 am

Talking shit isn't an opinion. Did you watch cassel tear it up last night?

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4thand1's picture

December 20, 2015 at 10:02 am

SOB! ray, why can't we have a qB as great as cassel? TY cow for giving us hope, we may be able to get cassel cheap when he gets CUT.

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