6 Keys to Oakland Raiders’ Preseason Game Against Green Bay Packers

Oakland Raiders Preseason Game 3: 6 Keys to Game Against Green Bay Packers

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The third preseason game will likely be the final dress rehearsal for most of the starters. They'll see their first – and only – extended action of the exhibition season as they prepare themselves for the season opener against the Jets. The Raiders still have a number of questions yet to answer and a number of areas that must improve if they are to be competitive this season. Here are five keys to their game against Green Bay on Friday.

6. Running Backs Need to Keep Up the Solid Play

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6. Running Backs Need to Keep Up the Solid Play

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While the offensive line hasn't done a great job in protecting their quarterbacks, they've done a pretty outstanding job of blowing open holes for their running backs. And Maurice Jones-Drew, Darren McFadden, Latavius Murray and Kory Sheets have taken advantage of it. Oakland's running backs have been explosive, made people miss and shown that the Raiders very well may have a lethal running attack this season.

5. The Offensive Line Needs to Come Together

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5. The Offensive Line Needs to Come Together

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They're moving in the right direction, but Oakland's offensive line has yet to jell completely – not surprising given the number of new faces. In the game against the Lions, though the line only yielded one sack, the Raiders' quarterbacks were under duress all night. The line must to a better job of coming together and being a cohesive unit. They've been good in run blocking, but their pass blocking needs to catch up and keep their QBs upright.

4. Wide Receivers Need to Step it Up in a Big Way

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4. Wide Receivers Need to Step it Up in a Big Way

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Consistency has been a key missing ingredient for the Raiders' wide receiving corps over the last few years. With the addition of James Jones and the emergence of Rod Streater, this group was supposed to be ready to move to the next level. But through the first two preseason games, it's clear they're not there yet with a number of conspicuous drops and some poor route running. This must change immediately for the offense to stand a chance.

3. The Defensive Front Needs to Generate Some Pressure

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3. The Defensive Front Needs to Generate Some Pressure

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The Raiders arguably have one of the more talented defensive fronts in football. Between Justin Tuck, Antonio Smith, LaMarr Woodley and Pat Sims, they have a lot of experience and added to that are young and explosive playmakers like Khalil Mack and Sio Moore. But as of yet, they've not been able to generate a lot of pressure on opposing QBs. It's critical they turn that pressure up very, very quickly and make life difficult for Rodgers & Co.

2. Matt Schaub Needs to Shine

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2. Matt Schaub Needs to Shine

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Having only played a total of seven series to this point, the criticism of Schaub has been ridiculous. While he hasn't yet been as good we've hoped, he hasn't been nearly as bad as his critics make it seem. With the game against the Packers expected to be his first extended action – he'll likely play at least a half – he'll be able to finally attempt to establish a rhythm and lead the Oakland offense; and hopefully, shut some of his critics down.

1. The Secondary Needs to Step Up and Make Plays

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1. The Secondary Needs to Step Up and Make Plays

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With the additions of Tarell Brown and Carlos Rogers coupled with the return of Charles Woodson and Tyvon Branch, the secondary was supposed to be a source of strength for the team. Through the first two games, though, it's been a train wreck as they've been lit up by Matt Cassel and Matt Stafford. Now they'll get arguably, the best QB in the game, Aaron Rodgers. The DBs need to make a statement by stepping up and making some plays.

How Will it All Shake Out?

Final Slide
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How Will it All Shake Out?

Final Slide
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Truth be told, the Raiders will likely not win this game. The Packers have too much firepower, and Oakland is still trying to establish their identity. The scoreboard in this game, though, is nearly irrelevant to Oakland. What matters in this game – the first, and only, extended action for most of the starters this preseason – will be seeing Oakland's progress and improvement. Will those great camp sessions translate to the field? We'll see.


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