Packers-Raiders: How we picked it
WESTON HODKIEWICZ (9-4)
PACKERS 29, RAIDERS 23
Reggie McKenzie's massive rebuild of Oakland is starting to bear fruit, but the Raiders are still a year away. Two solid drafts have helped the Raiders build a promising offensive foundation with quarterback Derek Carr, receiver Amari Cooper and defensive end Khalil Mack. The absence of Sam Shields (concussion) will challenge Green Bay's young secondary and a defense that's shown a lot more stability over the last five games. The Raiders can score points, but their defense will give up production, as well. With Mike McCarthy calling plays gain, the Packers' offense showed a confidence and swagger against the Cowboys that had been lacking for a majority of the season. If Eddie Lacy keeps charging forward, the Packers clinch a playoff berth.
RYAN WOOD (9-4)
PACKERS 24, RAIDERS 17
When the schedule was released back in April, this game looked like a blowout. The Raiders have been the NFL's dead weight for most of the past decade. The Packers consistently have been among the league's best teams. A lot can change in 13 games. The Packers are the better team in this matchup, of this there is no doubt, but they will be challenged. Pushed. Tested. The Raiders have young, talented players on both sides of the ball, even if their roster is mostly untapped potential. They also have one of the league's premier veteran leaders in Charles Woodson. Ultimately, their comparative inexperience will be the difference, but this will be a much closer game than expected in April.
PETE DOUGHERTY (10-3)
PACKERS 27, RAIDERS 21
The Raiders' future looks bright with a budding star on each side of the ball (Khalil Mack on defense, Amari Cooper on offense) plus, finally, a promising young quarterback in Derek Carr. And this game got tougher for the Packers when they found out Sam Shields won't play because of a concussion. He's their best and fastest cover man, and the Packers will miss him against the gifted rookie Cooper and the rest of the Raiders' receiving corps. But the Packers have new life on offense with Mike McCarthy back calling plays, and the guess here is that he and Aaron Rodgers will find enough offense to knock off this up-and-coming team.
STU COURTNEY (9-4)
PACKERS 30, RAIDERS 14
Did the Raiders make a statement by going into Denver and beating the Broncos 15-12 last Sunday? Or are they a young and talented but nonetheless still inconsistent team, as their 6-7 record would attest? They followed up a big win over the Jets last month by losing their next three games, including a 30-14 thrashing at the hands of the Vikings in Oakland. Green Bay will be without top cornerback Sam Shields (concussion), but unlike earlier this season when the Packers were missing Shields and got torched by Carolina's Cam Newton, they will have a healthy Quinten Rollins and a more battle-tested Damarious Randall ready to match up against the Raiders' dangerous passing game. In what is expected to be another rain-soaked affair, look for a revitalized Eddie Lacy and the Packers to grind out a victory.
ROBERT ZIZZO (8-5)
PACKERS 24, RAIDERS 20
If Green Bay can slow the pass rush of Khalil Mack, it has a decent chance of success against a largely mediocre Oakland defense, which will be without starting safety Nate Allen. Much of that will depend on which Eddie Lacy shows up. The Raiders’ offense has several weapons, including ascending stars Derek Carr and Amari Cooper, but it hasn’t been clicking of late, averaging only 17.2 points over its past five games.