Oakland Raiders: Keys to Victory Over Green Bay Packers

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Dec 13, 2015; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos running back Juwan Thompson (40) is tackled by Oakland Raiders cornerback Neiko Thorpe (31) and linebacker Malcolm Smith (53) during an NFL football game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. The Raiders defeated the Broncos 15-12. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Keep Stuffing The Run

The Raiders spent the first seven weeks of the season being one of the best run stuffing defenses in the league. Heading into that terrible stretch that saw them get gashed deep by both Pittsburgh and Minnesota, they were the NFL’s second ranked run defense.

But then DeAngelo Williams and Adrian Peterson combined to hang 458 rushing yards in two weeks, dropping the Raiders’ run defense into the bottom third of the league. However, since the defensive debacle in back to back weeks, the Raiders have rediscovered their run defense and have been dominant against the ground game.

Over the last four weeks, the Raiders have given up a total of 276 yards to the Lions, Titans, Chiefs, and Broncos. That’s an average of just 69 yards on the ground per contest. Granted, they didn’t put up those stats against the best rushing teams in the league, but the run defense stepped up when they needed to and have done a fantastic job of taking away the run game from the opposing team.

In the Packers, the Raiders will need to deal with a two headed beast in Eddie Lacy and James Starks who have rushed for 641 yards and 515 yards respectively. As a team, the Packers are gaining 4.4 yards per carry and 121 yards per game overall. The Raiders will need to cut down the yards per carry the Packers are putting up and shut down their running backs.

And though it’s not a really well recognized facet of his game, the Raiders will also need to keep an eye on Rodgers who has been able to make some plays with his legs. Rodgers has run for 314 yards on the season and is averaging a healthy 6.2 yards per carry. They can’t afford to sleep on Rodgers or let him get free to carve up the defense on his own.

Oakland is going to need the kind of effort that made them one of the league’s best run defenses in the first part of the season – as well as the last few weeks.

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