Oakland Raiders: Keys to Victory Over Green Bay Packers

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Dec 13, 2015; Denver, CO, USA; Oakland Raiders tight end Clive Walford (88) catches a 25-yard reception in the third quarter against the Denver Broncos 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

A Tale of Two Tight Ends

Oakland’s problems with opposing tight ends over the first half of the season is well documented. They were being absolutely eaten up by a cast of characters that wasn’t exactly a murderer’s row of tight end receiving talent.

But DC Ken Norton has done a nice job of recovering from that early season futility and using players like Neiron Ball and then Taylor Mays – after Ball’s injury – to help shut down the opposing tight ends, the defense has done a far better job of not being taken advantage of by them.

In Green Bay, the Raiders will face another test in Richard Rodgers. He’s an important security blanket for Aaron Rodgers and is second on the team in receptions (49), third in targets (70), third in yards (442) and tied for first in touchdowns (7).

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Needless to say, Rodgers is an important part of Green Bay’s offense and the Raiders absolutely must account for him.

On the other side of the ball, Bill Musgrave absolutely has to find ways to get rookie tight end Clive Walford more involved in the offensive game plan. Walford is proving himself to be a valuable and reliable addition to the offense. And yet, for the season, he has just 21 receptions on 36 targets.

Walford has great hands and is a nightmare matchup for opposing linebackers. He has size, speed, and can do a lot of really terrific things if given the chance. Musgrave must give him that chance. If he does, Walford will add another lethal dimension to an already powerful Raiders offense.

Next: Get Out Of the Way