Each week, Raiders.com Senior Editor Jerry Knaak poses five questions heading into that weekend's matchup. As the Oakland Raiders get ready to host the Green Bay Packers, here are this week's questions.
*1. How will the Raiders contain Aaron Rodgers? *
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers is one of the best in the game and he has led the Packers to a 9-4 record so fare this season. He has tossed 28 touchdown passes. However, it's Rodgers mobility and scrambling ability that are most concerning. The Raiders did a nice job against Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota, and have done a fairly decent job against the mobile quarterbacks they've faced. Rodgers is excellent at sliding around the pocket as well as taking off for big yardage. The Raiders pass rush has been phenomenal the past few weeks as defensive end Khalil Mack has vaulted into the NFL lead with 14 sacks. Will Mack record another multi-sack game?
Photos from the Raiders VS Packers all-time series.
- What can the Raiders do to stop the Packers running game?**
The Raiders have been excellent stopping the run of late. Green Bay has been pretty good running it the past few weeks as running back Eddie Lacy rushed for 124 yards and a FedEx Ground Player of the Week Award. Lacy and James Starks form a potent tandem and have combined for well over 1,000 yards rushing between them. The Raiders held the Broncos to 38 yards rushing in a 15-12 win last week, and the Chiefs to 89 in a 34-20 loss the week before. The Raiders also held the Titans to just 44 yards on the ground in a 24-21 win. Lacy went for 124, while Starks rushed for 71 in a win over Dallas last week. In a Week 12 loss to Chicago, Lacy ran for 105 yards.
3. What do the Raiders need to do to put in a good performance in front of the home fans?
I know I have written about this in another "5 Questions" column, but the fact remains that the Raiders have been a better team on the road this season. After struggling to win on the road in recent years, the Raiders are 4-3 away from home, and just 2-4 at O.co Coliseum. The three road losses were by a total of 10 points. Although the home losses, save one, were close until the 4th quarter, those losses were by a combined 37 points, and if you count the season-opener, 57. The bottom line is that the Raiders must play better at home and give the Raider Nation a show. Perhaps the best game of the year at home, top to bottom, was a 34-20 win over the Jets in Week 8.
- What can the Raiders do to jump-start the offense?**
The Raiders were held to -12 yards of total offense in the first half against Denver last week and won the game with just 126 yards of net offense. Quarterback Derek Carr completed just two passes in the first half. The offense caught fire to start the third quarter and mounted an impressive touchdown drive to get back in the game. However, it took a muffed punt and a recovery at the 11-yard line to set up the go-ahead score. The Raiders offense struggled a bit against the Chiefs as well, especially in the fourth quarter. The Packers do give up yards but not many points. The Raiders offense has been pretty good in the Red Zone this year. Something is going to have to give. Is Oakland's offensive ship righted?
5. What offensive line adjustments will the Raiders make?
Head Coach Jack Del Rio would not reveal the offensive line's line up for Sunday's game with right tackle Austin Howard out with a knee ailment suffered against the Broncos. Tony Bergstrom played a snap as J'Marcus Webb moved from right guard to right tackle. Then Khalif Barnes saw the bulk of the action at right tackle, with Webb back at guard for the remainder of the game. The left side of the line has been a constant this year with tackle Donald Penn and guard Gabe Jackson. Bergstrom has played well at center when called upon in place of Rodney Hudson who has been battling an ankle injury. There are several options for the Raiders here with some combination of Webb, Barnes, tackle Matt McCants, Bergstrom and rookie Jon Feliciano all a possibility. With linebackers Clay Matthews and Julius Peppers on the other side, the Raiders will need to put a capable group on the field Sunday.