The Green Bay Packers are coming off of a very convincing win against the St. Louis Rams, in Week 2 and the Oakland Raiders narrowly beat the Detroit Lions. The Week 3 matchup between Green Bay and Oakland should be a fairly interesting game for both teams.
As far as I’m concerned, this game is a lock for the Packers for a number of reasons. Obviously, given the franchise’s complete faith in Aaron Rodgers, he will probably only play the first quarter, if that. Much of the same can be said of Clay Matthews, Jordy Nelson and Eddie Lacy. Everybody knows what these players can and will do, and there is little reason to expose any of them to injury for too long. In layman’s terms, the Packers’ lineup is set, and their depth is being shown more and more as the preseason goes on.
The same cannot be said of the Raiders. Their quarterback situation is questionable at best, the rest of their offense is unsteady and even their coaches are hesitant to endorse their pass defense. Khalil Mack is looking pretty sharp so far, but it will be interesting to see how he and the rest of the Raiders’ defense will play when faced with a talented but young and somewhat undisciplined Packers offensive line.
James Jones and Charles Woodson will be must-watch players as they both won the Super Bowl with the Packers back in 2011. Woodson left Green Bay after the 2012 season and Jones signed with the Raiders earlier this offseason. With Derek Carr very possibly out with a concussion, it will be interesting to see how Matt Schaub plays and whether either Matt McGloin or Trent Edwards do anything significant.
On the Packers’ side of the game, the defense seemed to come together against the Rams. Rookies such as Josh Boyd and Jayrone Elliott stepped up and made some big plays in Week 2, and it will be interesting to see whether such performances can be repeated. The receivers seem to be clicking and both Matt Flynn and Scott Tolzien have looked very solid in relief of Rodgers. The starting tight end job is still up for grabs, but Andrew Quarless looks like the favorite after his performance on Saturday.
Heading into this game, the Packers are the superior team in every way. Their defense is vastly improved from 2013, their offense looks better in terms of both passing and rushing, and with the Raiders’ coaches even expressing doubts in their passing defense, Oakland has a long way to go.
On the other hand, the Packers looked great against the Rams. The worst thing that can be said about the Packers on Saturday was the number of penalties. Their young players, especially on the offensive line, need to be more mindful of their hands and avoid needless penalties. While winning in the preseason doesn’t matter as much as diagnosing and addressing potential problems, the Packers are much closer to being “season-ready” than the Raiders.