Green Bay Packers Head to Oakland to Take On the Raiders
The Green Bay Packers travel to Oakland Sunday to face the Raiders. The Packers will try to win their third straight game and improve to 10-4.
Green Bay holds a one-game lead over Minnesota (8-5) in the NFC North standings. The Vkings play the Chicago Bears Sunday. Oakland is 6-7 and is coming off a win against the AFC West-leading Denver Broncos last week.
The Packers will have to try and keep Khalil Mack in check. Mack had five sacks against the Broncos last Sunday. On the season, Mack has 14 sacks and in his second year in the NFL, he's becoming a force at defensive end.
All in all, the Raiders are much improved and one the reasons is because of General Manager Reggie McKenzie's latest drafts. He's nailed it on taking Mack, quarterback Derek Carr and wide receiver Amari Cooper. Sunday is a homecoming for McKenzie as he used to be the director of football operations for Green Bay before taking over in Oakland.
It's also a homecoming for Charles Woodson, as he plays his old team. Woodson was defensive player of the year in 2009 and won a Super Bowl in Green Bay. Aaron Rodgers will have to watch Woodson closely Sunday. Woodson, even at age 39, has five interceptions, a forced fumble and three fumble recoveries this season.
Green Bay is coming off a 28-7 win over Dallas, in which Mike McCarthy took back the play calling. And McCarthy ran the ball a lot. The Packers ran for 230 yards in their win over the Cowboys. Eddie Lacy ran for 124 yard and a touchdown, while James Starks rushed for 71 yards and a touchdown. Starks also caught a touchdown. Now, can the Packers' ground game be consistent? It will help set up the passing game and provide a big boost for Green Bay's offense.
For the Packers, to have that success in the ground game, the offensive line must carry over last week's big game to this week. Green Bay's offensive line unit has been banged up this season. David Bakhtiari, Josh Sitton and Bryan Bulaga are all probable, while Corey Linsley and T.J. Lang are questionable. Being healthy will be important for the Packers' offensive line because they will have their hands full with Mack Sunday.
On the injury report also for the Packers, Sam Shields is out with a concussion. The rookies Damarious Randall and Quinten Rollins had a solid game last week and will have another big test against Oakland and Cooper. Mike Daniels, who just signed a new contract extension with the Packers is questionable. Davante Adams is also questionable. Casey Hayward, Clay Matthews and Nick Perry are probable. Rookie wideout Ty Montgomery is also out again after suffering a setback with his ankle in practice this week. If the Packers can get Montgomery back, he would be a big boost and another weapon Aaron Rodgers can use.
For the Raiders, Nate Allen and Austin Howard are out of Sunday's game. Neiko Thorpe is questionable, while Cooper, Shelby Harris, Taiwan Jones, Mack and Woodson are probable.
Sunday's game between the Packers and Raiders is at 3:05 p.m. on FOX and right here on ESPN 99.1.
Sam Tastad will have stories on the Packers all season with pre-and-post game previews. Follow him on Twitter @samtastad and email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.