Can you believe it’s already Week 7 in the NFL season? Even better, the Raiders are still relevant and may have been given the inside track to win the AFC West after the Chiefs star QB Patrick Mahomes was just injured yesterday and is likely to miss several weeks. Oakland will still have to take care of business against a team they haven’t beaten in 30 years though, so first thing is first.
For Jon Gruden and company to sneak out the upset victory at Lambeau Field they are going to have to win in the key matchups in the game. With that in mind let’s take a look at 3 of the key matches entering Sunday’s game against the Green Bay Packers.
Raiders secondary against depleted Packers WRs
Davante Adams is out for the Packers which is huge, but their 2 and 3 receivers are also banged up. Geronimo Allison is doubtful after suffering a concussion and a chest injury last Monday against the Lions, and Marquez Valdes-Scantling is also marked as questionable and has been noticeably slowed by his injuries.
Gareon Conley and the rest of the Raiders secondary needs to take advantage of their luck by playing aggressive and tight defense. If there is one thing we know it’s that if there is a throw that needs to be made then Aaron Rodgers is capable of making it, but right now the Packers don’t have their best receivers to catch it. The Oakland secondary needs to make sure that they stick tight to their coverage, limit Rodgers passing windows and make the Packers really work for their receptions.
Don’t discount their wildcard receiver who got his first chance at proving himself last week in Allen Lazard. He is a 6’5 and 227lb UDFA signing this year for GB. Lazard might end up being the Packers most dangerous receiving weapon in this one, it seems like the perfect matchup for Lamarcus Joyner to show why the Raiders signed him this offseason.
Packers RB duo Aaron Jones, Jamaal Williams against Nicholas Morrow
The match-up here on the Raiders side should really be their entire defense because it’s going to take everyone to stop these two talented running backs. Either one of them would be a quality starting running back, together they make one of the best RB combinations in the NFL. That’s not hyperbole, it’s a fact.
Aaron Jones especially is on the cusp of stardom but had been severely underutilized the last two seasons under Mike McCarthy. The thing is, Jamaal Williams might be just as good or even better, and he has an infectiously positive personality too. These two both could be bell cow running backs with power, moves and speed. The question isn’t whether they will get to the 2nd and 3rd levels, it’s how many times.
That’s why how well Nicholas Morrow mans the middle is so important though, he is going to be the engine that runs the rush defense. His alignment calls can be the difference between giving up the back breaking big play or not. His sideline to sideline ability will also be crucial in covering these two backs on wheel routes out of the backfield, a favorite play call of Aaron Rodgers when he needs a big play.
so far Morrow has been more than adequate at replacing the suspended Vontaze Burfict, he needs his best game yet this weekend though. If the Raiders are going to stop the Packers powerful run game it will be on Morrow to be a force in the middle of the Oakland defense.
Jon Gruden vs Matt Lafleur
Old school against new school, veteran coach fighting the changing of the guard. Jon Gruden has come out the gates with great game plans in several games this year, and he’s going to really need to do that again here.
The good news for a Raiders fans is that he is very familiar with Matt Lafleur due to both of them having close relationships with Rams head coach Sean McVay. LaFluer coached under McVay and the influence is pretty clear when looking at his style of coaching. Gruden has an advantage there because he has been a mentor to McVay and therefore also to LaFluer by proxy. The smart money often goes to the veteran over the youth in situations of familiarity, let’s hope that trend continues here.
LaFluer is no joke though, he has his team humming along at 5-1 (with some help from the refs last week against Detroit). His players love playing for him and he has really had the team gel chemistry wise. Whoever coaches better in this game is going to likely be the victor, with key players out on both sides it’s going to take getting the most out of the lesser players on their teams to win. That is what coaching is all about though, let’s see which one of these coaches is more suited to the challenge this Sunday.
Just for some fun, check out this local Green Bay comedy duo “Live from Stadium Drive” preview for the Raiders game against the Packers. They feature a quick snippet of an interview of Jamaal Williams talking about UDFA Allen “Lizard” Lazard so it ties into two of the players mentioned in the match-ups to watch for so technically it’s related...
Live from Stadium Drive 2019 Week 7: Oakland Raiders @ Green Bay Packers
There is a lot of He Said/He Said but what about what we said? Wait, what did we say? Oh yeah! A chat with Chucky! PLUS we make an important endorsement!Posted by Live from Stadium Drive on Thursday, October 17, 2019