Green Bay Packers v. Oakland Raiders: 5 Burning Questions

Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images
Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images /

This week the Green Bay Packers will take on the Oakland Raiders and these are my five burning questions ahead of Sunday’s matchup in Titletown.

The Green Bay Packers are coming off of a huge comeback win on Monday Night against the Detroit Lions that moved them to 5-1 on the season and a crucial 3-0 within the NFC North. Now on a short week, the 3-2 Oakland Raiders who are also coming off of their bye, will be in town for week seven.

While in the past, the Raiders have been a team that could very easily be overlooked, they are coming off of a couple of big wins and shouldn’t be taken lightly by any means. This could very well end up being another hard-fought game for the Green Bay Packers.

But before we get to Sunday’s matchup between these two historic franchises, these are my five burning questions in which the answers will determine the outcome of the game.

Can Allen Lazard have another big game?

Last Monday with a banged-up receiving core that was plagued by drops throughout the night, the Green Bay Packers needed someone to step up in the fourth quarter when they found themselves down by two scores. And it turned out, that the unsung hero of that night would be former practice-squad receiver, Allen Lazard.

Lazard would finish the game with four receptions for 65 yards including a beautiful touchdown catch. All of Lazard’s catches would come in just the fourth quarter. Now this week with uncertainty around the health of Davante Adams and Geronimo Allison, the Packers will once again need someone to step up in the passing game. Can Allen Lazard do it again?

Will the run defense slow Josh Jacobs?

After being gashed by the opposing team’s running game for a couple of weeks, the Green Bay Packers’ run defense looked like the weakest part of that unit. However, over the last two weeks they’ve performed quite well.

Although against Dallas part of the reason for Ezekiel Elliot’s low production was that they were down by multiple scores for most of the game, the Packers were still able to hold one of the league’s top backs to only 62 rushing yards. Then against Detroit, it was the Lions’ inability to run the ball with the lead that was a big reason for Green Bay’s comeback as Kerryon Johnson was held to just 2.6 yards per carry.

This week will present another tough test with the Oakland Raiders as rookie Josh Jacobs is coming off of a huge game against Chicago where he rushed for 123 yards with two touchdowns and is averaging nearly five yards per carry on the season.

Can they get after Derek Carr?

The Raiders offensive line has performed very well all season and in their last game against the stout Chicago pass-rush, they didn’t allow a single sack or a quarterback hit according to Pro Football Focus. Now this week, Oakland will be getting Gabe Jackson back and this will be the first time all season that the Raiders’ offensive line unit is at full strength.

As we’ve seen through the first six weeks, the Green Bay Packers have been very successful at getting after the quarterback, which has created key sacks and forced a number of turnovers as well. It is no coincidence that the Packers’ worst defensive performance came against Philadelphia where they didn’t record a single sack in that game. Against a tough Raiders front, they’ll have to find a way to put pressure on Derek Carr.

Will they eliminate the big plays on defense?

One thing has been clear over the last two games and that is that the Green Bay Packers are missing Darnell Savage at safety. Particularly against Dallas and Detroit, the big play has been the enemy of this defense.

In Dallas, the Cowboys would total 441 yards through the air, including 226 just to Amari Cooper, along with four plays over 25 yards and two over 40 yards. Then just this past Monday, the Packers’ defense was burned on the first two drives of the game as they’d give up a 66-yard completion on the flea-flicker and another 58-yard completion on the following series. Those two plays allowed the Lions to jump out to a quick 10-0 lead.

Oakland isn’t a team that has taken a lot of deep shots downfield, in fact, Derek Carr throws the shortest passes in the NFL at just 5.4 yards per attempt. But Green Bay should still be wary of players like Josh Jacobs and former Packer Trevor Davis who have home run potential when the ball is in their hands.

Could this be a trap game?

The Green Bay Packers are coming off of an emotional win on Monday over the Detroit Lions just one week after they came away with a huge road win in Dallas. At 5-1 and 3-0 within the NFC North, there’s no question that the Packers have to be feeling very good about where they currently stand.

For a number of years now, the Oakland Raiders have been an afterthought in the NFL, however, they are coming into Green Bay off of their bye week and two consecutive wins over the Chicago Bears and the Indianapolis Colts. This is also a Raiders team that is ranked eighth in rushing yards per game and tenth in rushing yards allowed by the defense.

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With Green Bay on a short week and coming off of a pair of big wins, coupled with some difficult road games ahead against the Los Angeles Chargers and Kansas City Chiefs, the Packers better be prepared or Oakland could come out and punch them in the mouth much like Detroit did.