The Green Bay Packers go on the road to take on the 1-3 Las Vegas Raiders on Monday Night Football. This is the second straight primetime matchup for the Packers, coming off of a Thursday Night Football game last week.
It has been 11 days since Green Bay last played a game, giving the team plenty of rest. This long break allowed the Packers to get healthier.
Elgton Jenkins, Jaire Alexander, Luke Musgrave and Jon Runyan Jr, who all either missed last week or suffered an injury, are all expected to play this week. Aaron Jones has been limited all week in practice and reports hours before the game claim it is unlikely he will be available tonight.
The only major piece out for this matchup on defense is linebacker De’Vondre Campbell, still injury he suffered back in week three.
The Packers look to rebound after an embarrassing loss to Detroit last week. The Raiders team they face has been sluggish to start the season. After a one-point win over the Denver Broncos, who may be the worst team in the league, in week one, the Raiders dropped their next three matchups.
Over these three games, the Raiders have averaged only 12 points a game, while giving up 28. The Raiders defense has been one of the most underperforming units in the league this year. Expected points is a stat that measures the likely amount of points scored on a given drive, taking into consideration factors such as down/distance, home field advantage, location on the field, etc.
According to Pro Football Reference, the Raiders have the fourth worst defense by this metric, with -48.23, narrowly beating out Arizona’s -48.86. This means the Raiders defense has been underperforming heavily this year and are consistently bending to the wills of opposing offenses. This is a favorable matchup for a Packers offense looking to get on track.
This game also marks the first matchup of Davante Adams against his former team. The long-time Packers was traded prior to the 2022 season and has continued his dominance. Now he faces Jaire Alexander in what should be a clash of titans.
Outside of Adams, the Raiders don’t have many weapons offensively. Josh Jacobs had a stellar season last year, and could easily carve up the Packers porous run defense. However, this season Jacobs has only averaged 2.7 yards per carry and only has one score. The Packers should be able to contain him.
The Raiders offense is captained by longtime Packers boogeyman Jimmy Garoppolo. Garoppolo has been bad to start the year, throwing for only 709 yards, five touchdowns, and six interceptions in three games. Jimmy G missed last week with an injury but is expected to play in this matchup. If he plays, the Packers defense will have an opportunity at revenge for years of playoff heartbreak.
It is still early in the season, but this matchup is a must-win for Green Bay. A weak Raiders team with a poor defense is just what the Packers need to get back on track. Will they capitalize on this opportunity?
The Packers continued their trend of starting slow to start a game with another slow start against the Raiders. In the first half, the Packers offense managed only 123 yards and a field goal, coming on their second drive of the game. Love continued to showcase his accuracy issues and had one pretty horrible interception, throwing it right to Raiders linebacker Robert Spillane.
Defensively, the Packers played pretty well, allowing one touchdown drive at the start of the second quarter. Even on a short field following the Love interception, the defense didn’t budge, forcing the Raiders to settle for a field goal.
After another three and out, the Raiders got the ball back once more in the first half. Driving into field goal range, Raiders kicker Daniel Carlson lined up for a 53 yard field goal. Packers offensive tackle Yosh Njiman got up in the air and got enough of the kick with his right hand to force a miss, keeping the score locked at 10-3 going into the half.
At the start of the second half, it seemed the trend of a stellar third quarter for the Packers would continue. The third quarter started with a bang, as Rudy Ford undercut Jakobi Meyers to snag the interception, bringing it back to the Raiders’ 37-yard line.
The Packers capitalized on this turnover, riding AJ Dillon on five straight carries before he found the endzone to tie the game up at 10. After forcing a three and out, the Packers went to work again, getting down to the Raiders redzone thanks to a 77-yard catch and run from Christian Watson. Watson would have scored if not for a blatant touchdown saving horse collar tackle.
That tackle ultimately resulted in a four-point swing, as the Packers could find the endzone, instead settling for a 22-yard field goal. Anders Carlson drilled the field goal, retaking the lead for the Packers 13-10.
Those would be the last points of the game scored for the Packers, as across their final three drives, Love tossed two more interceptions. Sandwiched between those two interceptions was a three-and-out.
Following the Packers’ field goal, the Raiders scored once more. Running back Josh Jacobs hit pay dirt for the first time this season from two yards out, capping off a 10-play, 75-yard drive. The Raiders took the lead 17-13 at the start of the fourth quarter, and kept it the remainder of the game.
The Packer’s defense held the Raiders to a three-and-out and a missed field goal across their final two drives. Despite this, the offense could not capitalize, and Love’s third interception in the endzone on a pass to Watson sealed the game for the Packers.
Players of the Game
- Preston Smith: Preston Smith had himself a day against the Raiders offense. Smith recorded three tackles, one for a loss, one sack, one pass breakup, and two QB hits. Save for one play, which will be discussed later, Smith played an all-around solid game, spearheading a defense that overall, played well.
- Anders Carlson: The rookie kicker out of Auburn earns a spot on this list not only because he was 100% on all kicks today, but also because he has been 100% on all kicks this season. The sixth round pick struggled in training camp and preseason, enough so that the fanbase called for the re-signing of longtime veteran Mason Crosby. Carlson seems to have overcome these struggles. So far this season, Carlson has attempted seven field goals and 10 extra points, making every single one of them. For now, it seems Carlson has silenced the doubters.
- Quay Walker left in the first half with a knee injury. He did not return to the game.
- Darnell Savage left in the first half with a calf injury. He returned at the start of the second half, but would later be ruled out for the remainder of the game.
The Packers offense continued to struggle, even against a poor Raiders defense. Only mustering a pitiful 285 yards and 13 points, the offense sputtered without Aaron Jones. This game made it as clear as ever the importance of Jones to the offense. It seems whenever Jones is not on the field, the offense simply isn’t the same. The offense runs through Jones, hopefully he will return fully healthy after the bye week.
The offense may have only put up 285 yards, but they still outgained the Raiders’ 279 offensive yards. The defense played pretty well today, save for a couple questionable scheming decisions. Lining up Preston Smith over Davante Adams on a second-and-10 overshadows an overall good outing for the defense.
The defense forced four punts, two missed field goals, and an interception while only allowing 17 points across the Raiders’ 11 drives. Kenny Clark, Preston Smith, Rashan Gary, and Kingsley Enagbare all recorded a sack, bringing their team season total to 15, tied for 5th in the league. Clark, Smith, Enagbare, Walker, Isaiah McDuffie, and Jonathan Owens all recorded at least one tackle for loss.
The Packers stumble into their week six bye week with a 2-3 record. They couldn’t capitalize on a favorable matchup to get some momentum going for the remainder of the season. The offense continues to struggle without Aaron Jones, and Love continues to have an accuracy issue. Hopefully the bye week will allow them time to improve some in these areas.
The Packers get a break this week before heading to the Mile High City to take on the 1-4 Denver Broncos in another favorable matchup.