The Oakland Raiders return home for two weeks after a solid 15-12 win against the Denver Broncos, and now they'll face a tough foe in former Cal standout Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers.
The Packers present a tough matchup for the Raiders defense, which only gave up four field goals against the Broncos last week. Rodgers is a mobile quarterback that can hurt the Raiders if they do not contain him. Second-year linebacker Khalil Mack is coming off of a record-setting five-sack game, but him and the defensive line must maintain gap discipline to make sure Rodgers doesn't escape the pocket for a gain.
Head coach Mike McCarthy has retaken the play-calling duties, and turns to running backs James Starks and Eddie Lacy for his ground attack. Starks is quicker and shifty, while team-leading rusher Eddie Lacy is a bigger back that has posted 641 yards and a team-high three rushing touchdowns.
Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie reportedly went after Packers wide receiver Randall Cobb in free agency, but the speedy wide receiver decided to stay with Rodgers and the Packers. Cobb leads the team with 65 receptions for 737 yards and six touchdowns. The Raiders secondary did a good job against the Broncos passing attack, and now they must contain Cobb and a Packers offense that likes to run after the catch. The Raiders secondary must use solid tacklin technique to limit the yards after the catch.
Rodgers has recently found a solid chemistry with his big tight end Richard Rodgers, who is also from Cal. The tight end has caught a touchdown in the team's last two games and leads the squad with seven receiving touchdowns on 49 catches with 442 yards.
It should be easier for Derek Carr and the Raiders offense after going up against the tough Denver Broncos defense last week. Instead, Carr will go against a Packers defense that is allowing 350.2 yards per game (18th in the NFL).
Running back Latavius Murray struggled last week, but should find a little more running room this week against the Packers as they're allowing 116.2 yards per game on the ground. Getting the running game going will give Carr more time to get rid of the ball, as defenders will bite on the play-action.
Rookie wide receiver Amari Cooper went without a catch for the first time in his career last week, and there's no doubt that offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave will look to get him involved early and often. While it isn't as good as the Broncos defense, the Packers have a good secondary as well. Their defense is allowing just 233.8 yards per game, 11th best in the NFL.
Despite not ranking in the top of the NFL in terms of yardage given up, the Packers aonly give up 18.7 points per game as they're successful at keeping opponents out of the end zone. The Raiders will have to make sure they finish drives with touchdowns instead of settling for a field goal.
The Raiders will remain at home as they host the San Diego Chargers in a Christmas Eve matchup on Thursday Night Football.