The Raiders will host the Green Bay Packers on Monday Night Football on ESPN in Week 5. With the Raiders having a 1-3 record after the first month of the year, this is an important game to get back on schedule if the team wants to compete in the AFC.
To get you prepared for this AFC-NFC showdown, we spoke with Zach Kruse, the managing editor of the Packers Wire to discuss the Packers going into this matchup.
How has Jordan Love looked in his first full year as a starter?
Inconsistent, predictably, but he’s also flashed big-time ability at times. His accuracy has been erratic, and the Packers offense has suffered through lulls, especially early in games, but Love can make every throw and has been clutch in some big spots.
Not having Christian Watson and Aaron Jones for a handful of games didn’t help, and now the Packers are shuffling through offensive line combos due to injuries. Love needs to be more accurate overall, but the Packers feel confident in how he’s played through four games. As is the case for all young players, the next step is consistency.
Good players can do it right every now and then, the great ones can do it right most of the time. I’m fairly confident that Love has the skill set of a league-average starting quarterback, but whether or not the flashes become more consistent will determine if he’s ever anything more.
How does the Davante Adams trade look for the Packers a year later?
That’s a good question. The Packers really missed his playmaking ability in the final year of the Aaron Rodgers era, and no one can really replace one of the game’s great players, but Adams wanted out and Christian Watson, Romeo Doubs and Jayden Reed now give the Packers a young and exciting trio at receiver.
Overall, the Packers got linebacker Quay Walker and the pick that eventually became Watson in the Adams trade. Walker has made mistakes but he’s also making more plays in Year 2, and Watson has the makings of a WR1 if he can stay on the field. It’s possible this is one of those lose-lose trades. The Packers got worse at a key time and Adams hasn’t won anything with the Raiders.
Give us one under-the-radar player to watch in Week 5.
I’ll give you a few. Rookie slot receiver Jayden Reed has a catch of at least 30 yards or a touchdown in all four games to start his first NFL season. He’s a deep threat from the slot, and the return of Christian Watson full-time could open up more short or intermediate opportunities, especially with Raiders slot corner Nate Hobbs injured.
On defense, second-year defensive lineman Devonte Wyatt hasn’t been a consistent player down to down, but he’s second on the team with 14 pressures and 2.5 sacks. He has flashed disruptive ability.
One final one: Keisean Nixon. The former Raider was an All-Pro kick returner last year. He’s still returning kicks in 2023, but the Packers are now using him in the slot on defense, and he even got a touch on offense in Week 3. I wouldn’t be surprised if he got another gadget opportunity against his former team on Monday night.
The Raiders haven’t been able to run the ball well this season. Do you expect the Packers to be able to keep Josh Jacobs in check or will this finally be a breakout game for him?
The Packers held up fine against the Bears and Saints but were gashed by the Falcons and Lions. It’s really difficult to figure out which run defense will show up week to week. Joe Barry’s scheme is designed to protect against big plays down the field, and the Packers defense isn’t particularly strong in the middle.
But do the Raiders have enough talent along the offensive line and present a big enough threat in the passing game to press the Packers? This is truly a matchup of weakness vs. weakness. It’ll be fair to wonder if the Packers can stop anyone in the run game if Josh Jacobs goes off on Monday night.
Who wins and why?
The Raiders look like a team with serious star power (Davante Adams, Maxx Crosby) but not enough surrounding talent and big issues at quarterback and the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. Also, I don’t really see an identity on offense or defense. That’s a tough combination for winning games.
The Packers are a league-average team and will need to play well in all three phases to win, but I think they enjoy big advantages in key areas entering Monday night, including up front on both sides of the ball, within the turnover battle and situationally. If the Packers can keep Maxx Crosby from taking over the game, I think Green Bay will win.