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Packers ‘expect the unexpected’ from Raiders team with bye week to prepare

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NFL: Oakland Raiders Offseason Workouts Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

We know the schedule makers didn’t do the Raiders a lot of favors when they put this year’s lineup together. Looking specifically at the five-straight games away from Oakland in the first half of the season in particular. But there are spots where things are altogether bad.

Take this week, for instance, where the Raiders are coming off of their bye week and are set to face a Packers team on a short week after playing on Monday Night Football. That puts the Raiders at somewhat of an advantage at least in terms of their preparation, not only for studying the Packers, but for perhaps adding some things to their own game plan which the Packers won’t be able to game plan for.

“It is what it is and I don’t think anybody cares,” Packers head coach Matt LeFleur said of facing a team coming off a bye. “That’s what we told our guys is certainly when teams do have a little bit more time, you kind of got to expect the unexpected. It goes back to trusting your training, trusting your rules. And that’s why we have rules for some unscouted looks, but I’m sure there’s going to be some new wrinkles really in all three phases for them.”

LeFleur also noted that even when facing teams not coming off a bye, there will be plenty of game planning for unexpected wrinkles. The Bears probably didn’t expect the Raiders to go right at their strength on defense. But that’s what the Raiders did and it worked.

The Raiders as a team are 2-3 after their bye week since 2014, including losses in the last two against the Colts in 2018 and the Patriots in 2017. Even with a couple wins in there, the Raiders have given up an average of 31 points per game in post-bye week games while scoring an average of 25 points per game.

Across the NFL, teams have an 84-76 record, only a slightly better record (54.5%) following their bye week according to numbers compiled at Cheatsheet War Room.

So, I think what we can glean from this is, yes the Raiders are at a slight advantage coming off a bye. Players are rested, healed up from some injuries, and the coaches got plenty of time to pour over film from their opponent’s first six games this season.

It could be much like the slight advantage the Raiders probably gained from heading over to London a week ahead of time while the Bears waited until late in the week. It may not tip the scales entirely, but it puts the Raiders in the best position possible considering the circumstances. And that’s all they could ask for.