Starting this week, we’re going to take a look at each opponent’s Expected Points totals — via the good people at Pro Football Reference — and put it in the context of the Green Bay Packers’ next matchup. First up is the Las Vegas Raiders.
The chart above assigns an expected points value, based on down and distance results, to each side of the ball and splits out the game into the run and the pass. For example, the Packers’ +14.5 offensive number means that they’re playing 14.5 points above the NFL average. The non-Packers and Raiders squads highlighted in the “Team” column are future Packers opponents, for context.
Packers Offense vs. Raiders Defense
On paper, the biggest advantage the Packers should have is in the offensive passing game. Green Bay’s best unit relative to expectation is their +24.0 pass game, while the Raiders currently have the fourth-worst pass defense in the league at -38.5.
According to PFR, both of the Raiders’ starting outside cornerbacks — Marcus Peters and rookie fourth-round pick Jakorian Bennett — have allowed over 200 yards in the air thus far this season. When targeted, Peters is allowing a 101.1 passer rating, and Bennett is allowing a 134.8 passer rating, including an 80 percent completion percentage and a 12.4 yards per target figure.
Obviously, the big worry on the Raiders’ defense is blocking up pass-rusher Maxx Crosby. With Chandler Jones now out of the picture, though, Crosby is really the only defender you have to worry about in Las Vegas.
Packers Defense vs. Raiders Offense
The big matchup to highlight here is the Packers’ run defense (-16.0) versus the Raiders’ run offense (-16.9). On paper, this is the worst run defense in the league against the second-worst run game in the NFL. Both teams should be looking at this opportunity as a shot to get back on track, but someone is going to leave Monday Night Football severely disappointed.
The story with the Raiders’ offense right now is that their offensive line has been pretty good in pass protection this season, but they have really struggled to block teams on the ground. That was until last week against the Los Angeles Chargers when Khalil Mack brought down backup quarterback Aidan O’Connell six times for sacks.
Earlier this week, Raiders head coach Josh McDaniels stated that preferred starting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo will start against the Packers, if he clears concussion protocol in time. We’ll have to see if last week’s problem was due to O’Connell being under center or if the Raiders just had a couple of easier matchups to start the season. In Week 1, Vegas played the Denver Broncos — whose top pass-rusher, Randy Gregory, was just released after not performing like the $70 million player the Broncos signed him to be. In Week 2, the Raiders faced off against a Von Miller-less Buffalo Bills.