Raiders Face Important Challenge at Lambeau Field

Raiders Face Important Challenge at Lambeau Field.

The Oakland Raiders have another tough challenge on this grueling road trip – the latest being the Green Bay Packers. This will be the fifth week the Raiders have not played a home game. Granted last week the team was on a much needed bye, but they still have this week and next before getting back to host a game in Oakland. After getting pummeled in Minnesota, the Raiders have put up two straight impressive wins. In both Indianapolis and London, the Raiders were big underdogs. That trend continues today against the Packers. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers leads a resurgent, but also banged-up, 5-1 Packers team, and it will certainly take a solid and well-executed game plan from the Raiders to fly out of Wisconsin with another upset win.

This is a winnable game for the Raiders.

It will not be easy, but the Raiders absolutely have a shot at beating the Packers. The Raiders will have to continue their domination of the trenches on both sides of the ball without starting right tackle Trent Brown. The Raiders will also be without wide receiver Tyrell Williams, which will undoubtedly put more pressure on rest of the group. Newly extended tight end Darren Waller figures to be a big part of the passing game, but also expect Raiders quarterback Derek Carr to spread the ball around, especially to rookie running back Josh Jacobs. Jacobs needs to have another big week, as the team will lean on him and the offensive line to grind down both the Packers defense and the clock in an effort to keep the ball out of Rodgers hands as much as possible.

No Easy Task.

The Packers will be without star wide receiver Davante Adams, and their other two starters at that position did not practice Friday. Nevertheless, running back Aaron Jones is a dual threat and is currently leading the team in passing targets. Additionally, expect Rodgers to lean on veteran tight ends Jimmy Graham and Marcedes Lewis. And with one of the best offensive lines in the NFL, the Packers offense can score on anyone and from anywhere.

On defense, outside linebackers Preston Smith and Za’Darius Smith have seven and six sacks, respectively, and in just the first six weeks. They lead a highly improved unit that has made opposing quarterbacks beg for mercy and write last wills and testaments (I jest), while racking up 18 sacks. This has lead to an impressive +4 turnover margin for the Pack.

The X Factors.

The Raiders are a young and hungry team that has been been gaining confidence of late. The team has suffered through serious adversity each week, but instead of crumbling it seems to have forged together. Jon Gruden has them more fired up each week. If the Raiders can come out hot as they did in the last two games, that could go a long way to stealing a win. Also the weather in Green Bay should be partly cloudy and somewhere in the 50’s, which should not limit the playbook.

And finally, Derek Carr. Carr has been a lightning rod for both praise and criticism this season… again. A win in London quieted most, but a poor performance in this game would rip the band-aid off an unhealed wound. A win, however, would go a long way toward rebuilding fan confidence, and with the Kansas City Chiefs losing two of the last three, a win would make put the AFC West title well within reach.

Win or lose, this Raiders seem to be getting better, and if they manage to remain relatively healthy, there is certainly a possibility for meaningful games during the holidays.

Just like old times.