The Green Bay Packers look to get back on the winning track when they travel to Sin City to take on the Las Vegas Raiders Monday night. The Packers enter the game with a 2-2 record while the Raiders are 1-3. The Packers lost their last game to the Lions 34-20 while the Raiders fell to the Los Angeles Chargers 24-17. Here is a look the matchups that will determine who will win Monday night’s game between the Packers and Raiders.
The Packers lead the all-time series between these two teams 8-5-0 in the regular season. The regular season series started in 1972. The Packers have won the last eight meetings between these teams. The last Raiders win came in 1987. The Packers won the only postseason meeting between the clubs in 1968 when they defeated the Raiders 33-14 in Super Bowl II.
Here is a look at six key factors that will determine who wins Monday’s game in Vegas:
Packers Key Matchups: Number One Don’t Let the Raiders Running Game Get on Track
The Raiders have struggled to run the football all season. In fact, Vegas is ranked dead last in the league in rushing yards per game with just 65.3.
Josh Jacobs remains the primary ball carrier. The former Alabama star is a talented runner. He led the entire league in rushing yards just a year ago with 1,653. Last season, Jacobs averaged 4.9-yards per carry. This year, he is averaging a mere 2.7.
The Packers run defense has struggled mightily to stop opposing rushers. They have a particular problem holding the edge. Last week, the Lions offensive line dominated the line of scrimmage.
The Packers rank 30th in the league in yards allowed per game with 155.3. T.J. Slaton, Kenny Clark, and Quay Walker must help the run defense. The Packers need to get De’Vondre Campbell back as Isaiah McDuffie has trouble getting off blocks because of his lack of size.
The Packers cannot let this be the week Jacobs and the Raiders running game finds themselves. Making the Raiders one-dimensional will really give the Pack a big edge in this game.
Key Matchups: Number Two Protect Jordan Love from Maxx Crosby
The Raiders have seven sacks through four games and Maxx Crosby has four of them. Crosby is the key to the Vegas pass rush. He usually lines up at left end, but the Raiders are likely to move him around the line of scrimmage to create mismatches for him.
The Packers offensive line couldn’t slow the Lions a week ago. They are dealing with a lot of injuries but hope to have Elgton Jenkins back in the lineup. Zach Tom is also dealing with injuries and the Pack needs him healthy and ready to play. Jon Runyan has been playing through injuries as well.
Royce Newman has been a major problem both in run blocking and pass protection. The Packers should replace him even if the injured players aren’t ready to go on Monday.
Giving Jordan Love time to throw allows the former Utah State star time to find receivers downfield and create some splash plays.
Packers Key Matchups: Number Three Contain Davante Adams
This will be the first time former Packers wideout Davante Adams will be facing Green Bay. Despite not having an elite quarterback, Adams remains one of the best pass catchers in the game.
Adams isn’t the biggest or the fastest, but he runs precise routes and has outstanding body control that he uses to gain an immediate advantage over defensive backs just off the snap.
The Packers hope Jaire Alexander is available after missing the last two games due to a back injury. The battle between these two elite players will be a great game within a game matchup to watch.
Adams will get his catches, but the Packers need to prevent him from making big plays and becoming the engine that drives the Raiders offense.
Packers Key Matchups: Number Four Run the Football
The Packers running game has struggled all season. Green Bay is ranked 30th in the league with just 74.5-yards per game on the ground.
The Packers hope Aaron Jones is ready to play more after getting only six touches in Week 4 against Detroit. Jones missed the previous two games with a hamstring injury. Green Bay’s running game sees a noticeable reduction in effectiveness when Jones isn’t in the lineup as A.J Dillon has struggled this season.
The offensive line has not done a good job of run blocking but getting Jenkins back and replacing Newman can help in this area.
Matt LaFleur has too often abandoned the running game. Even if it’s not effective, LaFleur needs to run the ball enough to keep the Raiders defense honest. Packers fans are tired of hearing the coach say it’s on me that we didn’t run the ball enough after a loss.
The Raiders defense is 26th in the league and allows 134.3 yards-per-game on the ground. This is a team the Packers should be able to run against.
Packers Key Matchups: Number Five Take Advantage of the Raiders Offensive Line
The right side of the Raiders offensive line is vulnerable. Right guard Greg Van Roten and right tackle Jermaine Eluemunor have been struggling and the Packers need to take advantage of it.
Rashan Gary has been outstanding coming off the edge but remains on a play count. He should be able to take advantage of the weak side of the Raiders offensive line. The Packers would like to get Preston Smith and Kingsley Enagbare going.
Karl Brooks, Clark, and Devonte Wyatt have applied pressure on opposing quarterbacks from the defensive line. They should be able to put some pressure on the Raiders offensive line who allowed 11 sacks through four games.
Packers Key Matchups: Number Six Don’t Fall Behind Early
The Packers offense has struggled early in games. They scored only 10 points in four games in the opening stanza and the field goal came after an interception deep in Lions territory last week.
When the Packers fall behind, they are more likely to get away from the run and abandon their game plan. Opposing defenses are also more able to concentrate on pressuring Love.
This is an important game for the Packers even if they are facing an AFC opponent. This is a winnable road game against a struggling team.
The Packers remain a young and inconsistent team and they need to play one of their better games to pull off the victory.
Getting some of their injured players back and winning the turnover battle will go a long way to improving the Packers odds.
Packers 27, Raiders 23
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