After yet another instance of the Detroit Lions lining up and kicking the Packers' teeth in on both sides of the line, Green Bay will have plenty of time to recover before matching up with the Las Vegas Raiders on Monday Night Football — a game in which the Raiders are slightly favorites on DraftKings. We are in a weird stretch of football where Green Bay basically plays one game in an almost three-week stretch since they follow this game up with a bye before playing the Denver Broncos on October 22nd. A banged-up team could use the time off, but one more test sits between Green Bay and some rest and rehab. How do the Raiders square up with Green Bay?
The Raiders are also dealing with notable injuries right now, as starting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo missed last week’s game with a concussion. He did begin to get limited participation designations at the end of last week, so I would lean towards him playing if I had to choose, but with concussions, it’s tough to really know. Davante Adams left the game against the Chargers but returned, so it appears he will be good to go for his first matchup against his former team.
If Garoppolo is back, that should help the Raiders' passing game which struggled mightily last week without him. Rookie Aidan O’Connell put up a dismal -.24 EPA-per-dropback and was sacked on 15% of his dropbacks. Garoppolo’s efficiency is a far cry from the numbers he was putting up under Kyle Shanahan, but he is at a dead-even 0.0 EPA-per-dropback with a much lower 5.1% sack rate. Davante Adams is still one of the better receivers in the league, despite mediocre-to-poor quarterback play, he still ranks eighth in the league in yards-per-route-run at 2.65. Former Patriot Jacobi Meyers has been their number-two receiver and is posting a solid 1.7 yards-per-route-run. After Adams and Meyers, no other Raider receiver or tight-end has more than seven targets this season. The offense really is Adams, Meyers, and running back Josh Jacobs.
Speaking of Jacobs, oh boy. After a saga that lasted the off-season, I cannot imagine this season could be going much worse for him. The Raiders are dead-last in EPA-per-rush. While the offensive line has not been great, they do rank eleventh in Ben Baldwin’s run-blocking composite score with very similar rankings across PFF, SIS, and ESPN’s win rate stats.
Run block composite ratings— Computer Cowboy (@benbbaldwin) October 4, 2023
The Eagles are *dominating* this pic.twitter.com/lWyvjClz1O
Jacobs is posting a very rough -.8 RYOE-per-attempt. That’s not quite AJ Dillon bad (who is at -1.23), but it’s worse than noted busts like Clyde Edwards-Helaire and old man Ezekiel Elliott. It’s worth noting that while the above table seems to grade out the Raiders' run blocking as fine, Next Gen Stats sees Jacobs’ carries in a much more difficult light. While he is underperforming, NGS has his expected yards-per-carry at just 3.48. I would venture it really is a combo of the line and Jacobs himself struggling. There is no excuse this week for the Packers front. They absolutely cannot allow the Raiders to move them in the run game. This is a horrendous rushing attack. Put Vegas in third-and-long and you can force Jimmy G into turnovers. That is the game model, and if they cannot execute it, it’s a failure of both player and coaching.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Raiders have been one of the worst units in the league. They rank 30th in EPA-per-dropback and 25th in dropback success rate. They have been better against the run, but still below average at 21st in both categories. The Raiders have one guy on their defense, and that’s Maxx Crosby. Crosby has been one of the best pass rushers since entering the league. Crosby ranks eighth in in PFF’s win rate stat this year amongst EDGEs. SIS has him fifth in the league in total pressures. This guy is good. The Packers may get Elgton Jenkins back this week, which should help on the interior, but they’ll need both Zach Tom and Rasheed Walker to have bounceback games after a very rough showing against the Lions. Crosby can destroy a game plan by himself, so expect to see plenty of help given to both tackles, especially since he is really the only player who causes significant problems for opposing teams. It is worth noting that Malcolm Koonce has had a decent run as a situational pass rusher, but the snap counts are still pretty low there, so I wouldn’t take too much from those numbers yet. Rookie first-rounder Tyree Wilson has been credited with just three pressures across 70 pass-rushing snaps so far. The Raiders' secondary is a bit of a mess with no player standing out so far. If the Packers can keep Jordan Love upright, there is plenty of production to be had here.
If Aaron Jones can tolerate a higher workload this week, Green Bay should be able to get into more favorable down-and-distances against this Raider front. The decider on that front will be if Green Bay can move bodies, which may largely come down to the health of Elgton Jenkins. Green Bay simply lacked body movers on the line and faced Detroit with below-average run blockers across the board. While Elgton isn’t a pure mauler, the improvement over Royce Newman is vast.
Green Bay is coming into this matchup favored, and it isn’t too difficult to see why. If Green Bay can be a bit healthier here and exploit the Raiders' weaknesses, they should be able to head into their bye at a solid 3-2, continue to get healthy, and then continue to attack their softer schedule. Green Bay is not an elite team, nor were they ever going to be this year, but taking care of business on Monday will go a long way toward helping their quest for a Wild Card birth.