The Green Bay Packers have been something of a surprise package so far this season moving to 5-1 for the year having beaten Detroit last Monday night, but they will be taking nothing for granted against a rejuvenated Oakland outfit.
What made the victory against the Lions more impressive was that they achieved the comeback win with several of their big names – Davante Adams and Geronimo Allison – lost for most of the second half while Marquez Valdes-Scantling was at less than full speed after picking up an ankle injury.
Green Bay were 22-13 down when they got the ball with 12:17 remaining in the game with former MVP Aaron Rodgers driving them to a touchdown and the game-winning field goal by throwing for 147 of his 283 yards during those final two possessions.
It’s uncertain whether those players who picked up injuries last week will feature in Sunday’s game as the injury report they released with an approximation of practice availability had Adams, Allison, Valdes-Scantling and tight end Jimmy Graham as out of practice while Rodgers is apparently suffering from a knee injury.
However, the injury crisis could give and opportunity to Allen Lazard, who was summoned from the bench during last weeks’ comeback against the Lions and provided four catches, including a 35-yard touchdown having spent much of this year on Green Bay’s practice squad.
The Packers also bolstered their receivers this week when they signed Ryan Grant, who had four catches in two games with the Raiders before being released when they traded for Trevor Davis – from the Packers, and Grant might just be called into action against his former team on Sunday.
Much of the Packers’ solid start to the season has been built on the back of a home-heavy schedule and this will be their fifth home game in seven weeks; but then will enjoy just one home game over the next six weeks due to a quirk in the schedule and can be backed at 4.55* to make the most of home field advantage and win this by 7-12 points.
They won’t be getting any sympathy from their opponents on Sunday however, with the Raiders having made trips to Minnesota and at Indianapolis in September before having their “home” game against Chicago moved some 5,000 miles away in London as part of the International Series.
The Raiders are back on the road with this visit to Green Bay before travelling to Houston and will finally get back to California for matches against the Lions, Chargers and Bengals throughout October and November.
The Oakland Raiders continue to shock the NFL with their impressive 3-2 start, coming off back-to-back victories over the Indianapolis Colts and Chicago Bears before getting a well-deserved week off and currently find themselves a half-game behind the Chiefs for first place in the AFC West.
Much of their recent success has been built on their running game, with the Raiders averaging 134.4 yards per game while Derek Carr leads the NFL in completion percentage at 73.3 percent, though overall their offence averages 20.6 points (19th in NFL) and 348.2 yards (21st in NFL).
So if the Raiders are going to pull off another upset then they will have to give the ball to Josh Jacobs to control a Packers defence that has allowed 124.5 rush yards a game so far this season who is fresh off a 123-yard, two-touchdown performance against the Bears in London two weeks ago.
Jon Gruden’s men have been excellent at controlling the clock and moving the chains on third down when they’ve needed to, so if they can keep Rodgers and the potentially depleted Packers offense quiet there is no reason why they can’t pick up another surprise win and can be backed at 5.95 to win this by 1-6 points.*
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