Packers' next opponent: Jon Gruden's Raiders coming in on a roll

Jim Owczarski
Packers News
View Comments

The Green Bay Packers will host the Oakland Raiders on Sunday to conclude a stretch of five home games in the first seven weeks of the season.

Basics on the Raiders

Last week

Oakland is coming off a bye. The Raiders beat the Chicago Bears 24-21 in London on Oct. 6.


Raiders head coach Jon Gruden runs a West Coast-styled attack that features a rhythm passing game built off the run. But, Gruden has implored quarterback Derek Carr to take more deep shots down the field the last two seasons.

The defense is a base 4-3 and it’s coordinated officially by Paul Guenther, who is a Mike Zimmer disciple and is well versed in the “Double A” gap pressures up the middle,.

Key numbers


Number of sacks Oakland has allowed and rank of its rushing offense.


League rank of the Raiders’ rush defense.


Percentage of third downs the Oakland defense allows a first down on (No. 28 in the NFL).


Percentage of times Oakland allows a red-zone touchdown on defense.


Derek Carr’s rating, No. 14 in the NFL and tied for a career-high.

Oakland Raiders running back Josh Jacobs has emerged as a workhorse for head coach Jon Gruden.

Players to watch

Trevor Davis, WR

On Sept. 19 the Packers shipped Davis to Oakland for a late-round 2020 draft pick. In his two games with the Raiders he has caught four passes for 42 yards, rushed twice for 74 yards and a touchdown and returned three kicks for 85 yards (28.3 average). No doubt Davis will like a chance to showcase his speed in a return to Lambeau Field.

Benson Mayowa, DE

The seventh-year journeyman is in his second stint with the Raiders (2014-15) and is on pace for a career high in sacks (4.5 through four games). He had six for Dallas in 2016. Mayowa is a specialist at this point — he has played only 26.8% of the Raiders’ defensive snaps — but he has clearly been effective in his role.

Richie Incognito, LG

It may seem odd to highlight an interior linemen, but the Packers have been using Za’Darius Smith to help create inside pressures and the 36-year-old former Pro Bowler has helped solidify what has become a pretty good offensive line. Incognito, who was out of football last year and started this year with a two-game suspension, is also a volatile player. He has committed three drive-killing penalties totaling 35 yards and was fined for an illegal chop block and unnecessary roughness in the Raiders’ last game against Chicago.

Reasons to worry

The Raiders have been much more competitive in Gruden’s second season at the helm, and they are coming off a bye week following an upset of the Bears in London. Gruden has elected to lean on rookie running back Josh Jacobs and a physical offensive line to set the tone on offense, which could once again test the Packers' rush defense. Such a presence could open up some deep shots, which the Packers have struggled with this season.

Defensively, Guenther's group doesn’t jump off the page as the No. 17 overall defense and No. 21 in scoring, but they have produced nine sacks. They have also forced four turnovers in the last two games.  

Also, the Raiders have some confidence having beaten the Indianapolis Colts and Bears away from home in their last two games.

Reasons to relax

The Raiders feel a lot like the Detroit Lions in that they’re 3-2, but there are holes there. Jacobs is the real deal at running back and Carr has been to a couple of Pro Bowls, but they were pounded by Kansas City and Minnesota and squeaked out a victory over the Chase Daniel-led Chicago Bears in London. They were able to go home to California last week on the bye but they have technically been on the road since Sept. 15.

Defensively, Oakland has not been good on third down or in the red zone, areas in which the Packers are improving. They have also given up 11 passing touchdowns, which is No. 28 in the league. Of those scores, six have come from 27 yards or longer.

Contact Jim Owczarski at Follow him on Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat at @JimOwczarski or Facebook at

View Comments