Why Packers will beat Raiders and why they might not

If Green Bay Packers fans are hoping that the team will treat the third preseason game like the dress rehearsal everyone expects it to be, they could be sorely mistaken.

Although there has been no official word on the status of Aaron Rodgers, it seems like a safe bet that he won't play. 

Rodgers was expected to play at Baltimore last week but missed the game due to an injury. Even if he is healthy, the preseason isn't worth risking Rodgers.

The quarterback said this week that even if he didn't play at all in the preseason, he would feel the same about his preparartion for the season.

Whether that turns out to be true, remains to be seen. But you can bet, if Green Bay struggles early, Rodgers absence will be brought up.

At any rate, with or without Rodgers, the Packers take on Oakland tonight, on the road. Here's why they might win and why they could lose.

Why Green Bay might win:

For this one, I really don't have a lot of answers. For one, it's the preseason so anything can happen. 

But if Rodgers doesn't play than it will be up to DeShone Kizer and Tim Boyle to put points on the board and that's hard to count on.

Boyle has thrown three touchdown passes but neither signal caller has inpsired a ton of confidence. 

The backups on the offensive line also haven't been great. Yet, this is a big week for those guys, especially Cole Madison, so keep an eye out for improvement. 

Without Rodgers, it also doesn't make sense to play guys like Davante Adams, David Bakhitiari or even Aaron Jones much. Green Bay should save reps for guys fighting for a roster spot like Jake Kumerow or Darrius Sheppard among many others.

As far as winning the game, we all know that doesn't matter. You don't want to be 0-4 in the preseason, but thanks to the Week 1 win, the Packers are just fine.  

Why Green Bay might lose 

The answer here is simple. Without Rodgers, the Packers offense hasn't looked all that high powered and if Derek Carr plays a significant portion of the game or even Mike Glennon, the Raiders should win. 

Kizer is getting better but he is way too inconsistent. Experienced quarterbacks tend to do well in the preaseason and Glennon is fresh off 175 yards and two touchdowns.

The preseason offers a lot of vanilla scheme and QB's that can make quick decisions and throw accurately thrive.

It doesn't seem like Antonio Brown will play, so that's one big-play threat Green Bay doesn't have to worry about. 

Brown has said he will play with the helmet the NFL wants him to wear but he has filed another grievance, so don't expect to see Jaire Alexander cover him 1-on-1.

That would be fun to watch but this is the preseason and it's not supposed to be fun. 

For Green Bay it's about avoiding injuries and getting to Week 1 against the Bears at as close to 100 percent as possible. 

Win or lose Thursday night, if the Packers avoid injuries and some players show growth, that will have to be considered a win. 

But the real bullets start flying in two weeks and by then, the score will matter. 

 

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Chris is a sports journalist from Montana and has been blogging about the Packers since 2011. Chris has been a staff writer for CheeseheadTV since 2017 and looks forward to the day when Aaron Rodgers wins his second Super Bowl. Follow him @thepackersguru

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Comments (60)

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ShooterMcGee's picture

August 22, 2019 at 08:11 am

The Raiders blitzed like hell last week against Arizona. I really don't need to see Aaron getting sacked or running for his life. We may see enough of that in week 1, but hopefully not.

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Lphill's picture

August 22, 2019 at 05:43 am

No injuries is better than a win .

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EddieLeeIvory's picture

August 22, 2019 at 12:32 pm

exactly.
records mean nothing. Jordys knee in 2015 fake game meant no Super Bowl.

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Coldworld's picture

August 22, 2019 at 06:09 am

I will just be watching individuals if Rodgers doesn’t play. If he does it’s about coordination with the O, including in the running game with A Jones.

After that I will be looking to see what Davis does in the game along with Shepherd and Lazard. Unless the second O line is dramatically improved I’m not hopeful that we will see much of anything offensively behind it though. This would be a game where a blocker like Lewis could be very helpful, but will they even use one?

On D, who, when and where for the D backs. I don’t expect us to do much more than rehearse the same calls for the front 7, regardless of what the Raiders do if the first games are anything to go by. May be as much about who is and who isn’t getting opportunities.

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Doug_In_Sandpoint's picture

August 22, 2019 at 07:21 am

Raiders: Just win baby.
Packers: Just tackle baby.

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4zone's picture

August 22, 2019 at 08:16 am

Zzzzzzzzzzzzz thud

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PatrickGB's picture

August 22, 2019 at 08:38 am

Rodgers might play one series just to shut the critics up. I don’t care one way or the other. This is a good time to evaluate the backups on the lines and sort out the depth chart. I hope tackling improves. Still, I love to follow the team even in preseason. Thanks for the coverage.

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dobber's picture

August 22, 2019 at 08:41 am

I think they'll give him a series, maybe two, and my guess is that they run 60-70% of his downs.

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Matt Gonzales's picture

August 22, 2019 at 08:57 am

If he plays, I'd love to see them keep Adams and Allison off the field and see if the receivers on the bottom of the chart can make something happen as part of the first team offense against a first team defense. This is going to be their last good chance to simulate a real game environment should a starter or two go down and they need to answer the call.

If Rodgers doesn't play, I'd like to see more of the first team offense on the field with Kizer and Boyle trading series, for the exact same reason.

Practice with the first teams is one thing, but game action (even PS) comes with a higher level of pressure, and this would be the last good chance to see if either can step up before the wins and kisses actually count.

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TheKanataThrilla's picture

August 22, 2019 at 09:12 am

I would really like them to give Shep and Lazard a chance to see what they got against a team's first team defense.

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dobber's picture

August 22, 2019 at 11:28 am

I agree with both of you in that getting #12 out there should naturally elevate those guys: what do they really give you when running the offense with QB1 against 1s and 2s? Any evaluation you do of these WR is accompanied by a "BUT Kizer was playing QB".

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Old School's picture

August 22, 2019 at 10:29 am

I'd like to see us line up the starting O-line (with Marcedes Lewis) and using the various backs just run the ball on almost every play, and go for it on 4th down. Let's see if we can run over the Raiduhs in Winnipeg in August.

I don't want to see Rodgers on the ground. If you think you can play him and not have that happen, I have no real opposition to him playing a series or two.

But for me, this is a great opportunity to see what our running game is.

Defensively, I think we are going to have to make some choices in the secondary, We would normally have 4 CBs, 4 safeties, and a guy who can do either on the gameday 21 roster. If that holds, I see the following as locked in place:

Amos, Savage, Greene, Alexander, Brown, King, Jackson. And Tramon Williams as the two-way guy. That's one more safety, and one more CB on the gameday roster.

Not to mention one more on the inactive 53, and at least one more on PS.

So......the other two DBs, and the one safety, who'll still make the 53 are...…….?

Assume Josh Jones is not part of the answer. Campbell might be. Who else? That's what I'd like the Packers to focus on tonight..... who is finishing off the 53 and the practice squad.

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Coldworld's picture

August 22, 2019 at 06:01 pm

I want to see Hill and Ford in the running game early. Late arrivals to camp who may offer something offensively and I. Protection.

Who will we see at FB, Johnson or Bohanan and what will they be asked to do.

I want to see more of Sullivan in the backfield early as well as Redmond at FS, who I think has outplayed Jamerson and is also CB depth.

Not sure who backs up Greene at 3rd safety if he is the starter and Jones doesn’t play with Campbell still on the PUP. That is a legitimate area where I’m not sure Tyson and Matthews represent truly genuine depth.

I want to see OT Nijman early, but I have the feeling that they are hiding him.

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Curry Rambeau's picture

August 22, 2019 at 01:20 pm

Do you really think Lafleur makes his roster decisions based on what the critics say? Who are these critics?

Here's what LaFleur said on Aug.19 being asked about Rodgers' playing in Winnipeg after practice: “I think we’d like to see him, but you’re talking about a veteran quarterback who’s played a lot of football,” LaFleur said, via the team’s website. “It’s not a necessity, but it’s certainly something we’d like to see.”

Nothing about him reacting to critics.

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Curry Rambeau's picture

August 22, 2019 at 01:22 pm

Do you really think Lafleur makes his roster decisions based on what the critics say? Who are these critics?

Here's what LaFleur said on Aug.19 being asked about Rodgers' playing in Winnipeg after practice: “I think we’d like to see him, but you’re talking about a veteran quarterback who’s played a lot of football,” LaFleur said, via the team’s website. “It’s not a necessity, but it’s certainly something we’d like to see.”

Nothing about him reacting to critics.

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vkpolidora's picture

August 22, 2019 at 09:03 am

O-Tackle and QB are top 5 positions (top 3) in importance. Due to injuries depth at both positions has been inadequate in the past several years. Neither were addressed again this off-season. Are HC/GM really thinking QB, RT, LT are going to stay healthy this year?

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Jonathan Spader's picture

August 22, 2019 at 04:38 pm

Good thing Franchise Tackles and QBs grow on trees.

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Coldworld's picture

August 22, 2019 at 06:03 pm

They brought in Turner. I believe that he will be the first up. Light has been improved too. I believe Nijman is intended for the PS.

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Since '61's picture

August 22, 2019 at 09:04 am

Only the injury report or lack of matters for tonight's glorified practice.

Lesson for first year head coach MLF and Gute for that matter: Avoid scheduling preseason games on turf that you are not familiar with.

Stay healthy until Week 1. Thanks, Since '61

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flackcatcher's picture

August 22, 2019 at 03:00 pm

Not their call '61. Murphy made this deal instead of London or Mexico city. I was told that no one in either the front office or BOD knew. Yeah, I have a hard time believing that too. Heck if were MLF, I bench my all my starters on both sides of the ball for this game. Quad and thigh injuries, watch for them, if this field is as bad as I've seen both teams could get them. I hope not. Let get em done and home healthy.

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Coldworld's picture

August 22, 2019 at 06:04 pm

Actually it’s the Raiders who sought the venue. Could have refused I suppose.

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Tundraboy's picture

August 22, 2019 at 09:23 am

No injuries! A Rodgers - MVS TD, and a win would be nice though.

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murf7777's picture

August 22, 2019 at 09:22 am

I can’t believe this is what pre-season has come to. Teams playing not to win, but to mitigate injuries to key players. I still enjoy watching and analyzing players trying to make the team or another team if they get cut, but I hope we can get down to 2 or 3 pre-season games. Since the concussion suit, the game is changing rapidly right before our eyes. Can’t wait for Da Bears as they still suck!

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Matt Gonzales's picture

August 22, 2019 at 09:49 am

i think the NFLPA would easily agree to eliminating 2 PS games in favor of more camp time, but the league would not want to lose that revenue. It would likely come at the cost of an extra regular season game and/or a 16-team playoff with no byes.

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Old School's picture

August 22, 2019 at 10:34 am

I'm inclined to conducting these games as organized scrimmages, where you have coaches on the field and you're not trying to smash anybody into the turf.

These games are practice for everybody, from socks and jocks to the ground crews and communications, etc. But we don't need 4 or 5 "games" to do what needs to be done in terms of getting a team ready to play. Your opponent starts from the same spot as you.

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Matt Gonzales's picture

August 22, 2019 at 11:10 am

Totally right. A A Rod would probably not like it, but coaches and players would likely benefit more of they removed two PS games, and kept them as camp weeks with two weeks of joint practices. You could keep the red jerseys and limit other full tackling, and I'm guessing the NFL could figure out a way to get broadcast revenue from it.

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dobber's picture

August 22, 2019 at 11:26 am

This is why any discussion of shortening PS is almost always accompanied by the idea of adding regular season games.

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Coldworld's picture

August 22, 2019 at 06:07 pm

2 or 3 Rookie and inexperienced player only games and 1 with veterans added might be workable. Veterans report later for practice.

Spring development league would be best solution.

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Matt Gonzales's picture

August 22, 2019 at 11:28 am

I also have to say, it is totally right that the game is changing, as it should. Just because athletes are highly paid, that does not mean they should not be afforded any reasonable measures the NFL can take to preserve their quality of life when they hang up the cleats.

It's not just concussions, either. Players today are bigger, stronger, and are pushed to train harder than ever before. It may put them in peak playing shape, but it wrecks their bodies long term. Players have long term impacts of playing football beyond the CTE risk. Look at Todd Gurley - he is a young man at his physical prime, and due to the wear and tear on his knees and progression of arthritis, exacerbated by the stress of playing, he will likely need surgical interventions when he's done playing that are normally reserved for senior citizens that will permanently impact his mobility.

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fastmoving's picture

August 22, 2019 at 01:57 pm

Man, Matt, just agree with you about everything you wrote. Cool. Thanx

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murf7777's picture

August 22, 2019 at 10:20 am

I agree and I think we are heading towards 17 game schedule with 3 pre-season games. I would love to see 18 games, but don't see that happening. The players want 16 games and the teams want 18 so I believe they will compromise at 17.

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PackersWinning's picture

August 22, 2019 at 10:57 am

Saw the arrival pics.......A Rod doing Village People covers in Canada since he's not playing?

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BradHTX's picture

August 22, 2019 at 12:02 pm

Well, he is a macho, macho man.

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Swisch's picture

August 22, 2019 at 11:22 am

So is Aaron Rodgers right in basically saying preseason games aren't necessary for getting our offense ready for the regular season?
If he doesn't need preseason games, then why do any of our established players need them?
If it isn't worth risking injury to Rodgers, then how do you ask any of the veterans to risk injury in a meaningless game on a hard field against a blitzing defense in the middle of nowhere?
Why have the starters even fly all the way to Winnipeg, rather than staying in Green Bay and having a bowling night?
Actually, bowling may be too risky for injury; perhaps a checkers tournament.
Maybe Aaron Rodgers has a great point, or maybe he's a diva. I'm not sure, but I'd like to get to the bottom of this.

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Matt Gonzales's picture

August 22, 2019 at 12:16 pm

Snark aside, he has a great point. Exhibition games were more meaningful when teams used them to cap off TC and and put into action everything they learned. Now that teams are afraid to tip their hands and give opponents meaningful game tape, they're largely useless for veterans other than seeing how bubble players will gel with your starters in a live game experience, which has value, but could be largely replaced with scrimmages.

Two PS games with your first team playing a half of one game would effectively do what needs to be done, with more off-camera camp time to work the offensive and defensive installations

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Swisch's picture

August 22, 2019 at 01:06 pm

If preseason games are useless exhibitions that needlessly put players at risk of injury, then I'm all for eliminating them.
Take the revenue losses out of Roger Goodell's salary, and be done with it.
Just stop teasing fans with the illusion of football games.
It makes me snarky.

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Matt Gonzales's picture

August 22, 2019 at 01:13 pm

A quick conservative estimate has the value of just ticket sales for the PS at about $250MM. That is before overhead, of course (the largest chunk of that being player pay, but since camp and preseason are "per diemed" that only adds up to about $7.5MM for the 4 week exhibition period), but it also doesn't include concessions, parking, sponsorship, local broadcast deals, etc.. The preseason is a veritable cash cow since teams can charge close to regular season ticket prices while paying the players peanuts.

I agree it's meaningless, but the NFL ownership structure is not going to walk away from this kind of money unless there is other big revenue they can make up in the form of additional regular season and/or postseason games.

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porupack's picture

August 22, 2019 at 01:53 pm

If it was meaningless, no fans would go. no money would be made. As long as there is demand, why should owners not supply.

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Swisch's picture

August 22, 2019 at 02:34 pm

If the package for season tickets requires the purchase of preseason games, then fans don't have much choice.
Anyway, my main point is whether or not we fans should continue to care about and pay attention to preseason games. Maybe we're being duped.
Are there good reasons to be excited about the game tonight?
I do look forward to seeing our young guys (e.g. Shepherd, Lazard, and Ford) and trying to evaluate the keepers -- but I wonder if these exhibitions are truly good forums for fair evaluations.
With the apparent disinterest of our top player in preseason games (at least regarding his personal participation), I guess I just want to have an honest discussion about whether we fans should care.
I'd like to know whether I would be better off doing something different with my evening, even if it means resorting to the useless exercise of reading a book ;-).

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Matt Gonzales's picture

August 22, 2019 at 02:34 pm

Largely meaningless for veterans. Exhibition games have their place, but what they are largely used for now (final evaluation) could easily be done with two games, and all players would get more out of the additional hours going back into camp practice time.

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Coldworld's picture

August 22, 2019 at 06:09 pm

I’m not so sure. People go to family night practice and the shareholder meetings.

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Rudedawg67's picture

August 22, 2019 at 11:55 am

If we just would have kept Tayson Hill two years ago instead keeping a backup QB because he was a higher draft choice there won’t be a backup QB problem. Every Packer fan knew he was the better QB by far. Even Mike McCarthy’s mother knew Hill was the better QB to back up Rodgers. Yet management blew a choice that was so obvious.

Rodgers does need to see action this week against competition other than his own defense. This isn’t an ordinary season starting out. A new coach and new offensive scheme needs to be test now by the starters, not none of this we will figure it out after the first three games of the regular season stuff. We did that with the old coach and Relax we will win the last six games of the season doesn’t always happen.

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Matt Gonzales's picture

August 22, 2019 at 12:56 pm

I agree we should have kept Hill, but I don't agree that they should have kept him over Hundley. The Saints saw something in him to be a gadget player, get him on the field, and be able to get actual value out of the #3 QB spot, similar to how Joe Webb has been used for most of his career. If the Saints felt Hill was developed and ready enough to take the field as an every-down QB, they wouldn't have signed Bridgewater to a $7.5MM contract this year. If Brees stays healthy, Hill will definitely get more playing time, but should Brees get hurt, Hill's role as a gadget player likely won't change that much, and it will be Teddy taking most snaps under center.

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TheKanataThrilla's picture

August 22, 2019 at 01:15 pm

I really wouldn't mind looking into getting Joe Webb as a back-up. The problem being like you mentioned similar to the situation in New Orleans you can't have your back-up be a gadget guy and only have 1 back-up QB because he might get hurt. You then must carry 3 QBs on the roster at all times. Not sure we want to do that.

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Matt Gonzales's picture

August 22, 2019 at 01:47 pm

Guys like Webb and Hill aren't your traditional backup QBs. They're basically ST guys who also happen to play QB (and can do other gadget play stuff), so yes, you're carrying 3 QBs, but since that 3rd QB is hopefully going to see more game time than your #2, you're recouping more value from their roster spot.

This works great with Hill as he is playing on a cheap rookie UDFA contract. Webb is making about $1MM this year so he's relatively expendable, but if he's the true #2 they're not going to risk him returning kicks and potentially having to sign another backup if he gets hurt. Wouldn't be surprised if he still comes out for some wildcat plays, though.

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Rudedawg67's picture

August 22, 2019 at 02:19 pm

Brigdewater is an ex-pro bowler and Huntley hasn’t proven anything. So far Hill and Bridgewater are neck and neck. The Seahawks signed Matt Flynn to a big contract but how did that work out for them. In the Seahawks case they where willing to start the better player. It was a good move by the Saints to sign a proven backup of Bridgewater’s caliber but that doesn’t mean he will win job and the question should be mote because we should have kept Hill over Huntley.

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Matt Gonzales's picture

August 22, 2019 at 02:45 pm

Apples and oranges. The Seahawks signed Flynn having not yet drafted Wilson with the assumption any rookie would likely not be ready week 1. Flynn's elbow issues hastened the timetable, and Russel was largely a running QB at first.

Brees is the entrenched starter, but he is also 40 years old, meaning he could go full Manning at any point and start showing serious issues of diminished strength and mobility. Teddy is the safer backup option and will be given every chance to succeed should he need to see the field.

If Brees is still intending to play next year at the end of this year I would fully expect the Saints to let Bridgewater walk, sign or trade for another veteran backup QB, and try to keep Hill as insurance and as a jack of all trades player.

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Rudedawg67's picture

August 22, 2019 at 03:18 pm

The Seahawks signed Flynn fully intending him to be their QB of the future. Back in 2012 you didn’t pay 26 million for a to be a backup to a third round pick in two years. Wilson was never meant to be a starter let alone his rookie season. Wilson just flat outplayed Flynn. Wilson was not just a runner. He played for Wisconsin his senior year and definitely was more of a passer although he could run.

It is apples and oranges because the conversation originally was who was a better backup. Rodgers and Brees are entrenched as the starters and Hill is a better backup than Huntley.

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Matt Gonzales's picture

August 22, 2019 at 04:00 pm

Only $10MM of Flynn's contract was guaranteed, with $8MM of that paid up front. Maybe a bit high by 2012 standards but that's a pretty damn team friendly deal for a probable starter.

Also, Wilson averaged 24-25 pass attempts per game his first two years. He pulled some rabbits out of hats but he was largely managing a run game. Had Flynn not had issues with his elbow it's entirely possible he would have at least started the 2012 season, but that's total conjecture.

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Rudedawg67's picture

August 22, 2019 at 06:34 pm

I would have liked for Flynn to win the job. I think there was too small a sample of his playing time to warrant a contract like that. He was traded to the Raiders and could beat out Terrelle Pryor who is no Russel Wilson. He had his greatest success with Green Bay and I would have to say the offensive scheme in Green Bay played to his strengths. He actually did worse career wise and maybe financially also by leaving GB.
And that is just conjecture also.

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Matt Gonzales's picture

August 22, 2019 at 04:31 pm

Oh, and for fun, you should compare Hundley and Hill's stats for the preseason:

Hill - 19 of 29 for 216 yards, 3 TD, 1 interception, 2 sacks, 107.8 passer rating. 11 rushes for 98 yards (8.9 YPC), 0 TD.

Hundley - 20 of 29 for 243 yards, 2 TD, no interceptions, 1 sack, 117.5 passer rating. 4 rushes for 40 yards (10 YPC), 0 TD.

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Rudedawg67's picture

August 22, 2019 at 06:09 pm

For fun

2017 Packers Preseason

Hundley - 48-76 for 482 yards 6.3 YPA , 3 TD 1 INT, 11 Sacks for 99 yards loss, Passer rating 88.8, 4 rushes 32 yards

Hill- 14-20 for 149 yards, 7.5 YPA, 2 TD 0 INT, 3 Sacks for 21 Yards loss, passer rating 124.8, 10 rushes 71 yards

2018 preseason

Hundley- 23-37 for 263 yards, 1 TD 1 INT, 5 sacks for 32 yard loss
passer rating 81.2 4 rushes for 17 yards

Hill 36-49 for 365 yards, 2 TD 2 INT, 4 sacks for 23 yard loss
passer rating 90.9, 19 rushes for 161 yards

I will just say lets hope the new additions to the O-lines keep Rodgers upright and there is no need to worry about a backup. Amen!

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Coldworld's picture

August 22, 2019 at 06:11 pm

Agreed, he is a gadget player. TT and MM didn’t go for that type of thing. When the Saints were faced with Hill starting, the wasted no time getting Bridgewater in.

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Rudedawg67's picture

August 22, 2019 at 06:36 pm

Well we saw what being faced with Hundley brought to the game.

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Matt Gonzales's picture

August 22, 2019 at 08:20 pm

The ability to win games? Hundley has a 3-6 record as a pro. Not fantastic, but better than our current backup situation.

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Point Packer's picture

August 22, 2019 at 12:35 pm

I can't wait for the pre-season to be over.

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sam1's picture

August 22, 2019 at 03:01 pm

All I know is the Packers get some vet QB off the scrap pile because Kizer isn't the answer and Boyle still too green!

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Coldworld's picture

August 22, 2019 at 06:12 pm

Scrap is not an upgrade.

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Rebecca's picture

August 22, 2019 at 06:41 pm

Yes. Scrap is 80% crap and the Packers don't need more of that on this team

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Rudedawg67's picture

August 22, 2019 at 07:05 pm

Remember the days when Green Bay drafted a reliable back up.

Mark Brunnel
Doug Peterson
Matt Hasselbeck
Matt Flynn

Has our selection process changed?

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