One of the most confusing teams in the league, the Oakland Raiders, are coming to town on Sunday hoping to derail the Green Bay Packers’ perfect season. So we thought we’d throw some questions to those thugs at Thoughts From the Dark Side. Here’s what they had to say about the Silver and Black.
I don’t get the Raiders. They look like a contender one week and they go out and lose to the Broncos at home the next week. What’s the deal?
Lack of discipline. Their defense may be improved overall, but their defensive coordinator, Chuck Bresnahan is terrible. One mismatch can be exploited all day long. He doesn’t know the meaning of adjustments. The most he will do is switch from man defense to zone defense, but he does it at the wrong times. He was hired out of the UFL for Christ sake. Aaron Rodgers may not be a running quarterback, but expect him to develop some running skills on Sunday because he will be given huge open spaces to run through on third and long. That’s how the Broncos beat the Raiders. Miami beat them with stout defense and Reggie Bush. The Raiders linebackers lack direction. That’s why the starting middle linebacker is putting guns to people’s heads while he’s excused to supposedly attend his grandfather’s funeral. They just aren’t smart.
We know Darren McFadden is awesome, but he’s not going to play. Frankly, no one else on your offense scares me. Is there anyone we need to be even mildly worried about?
This is going to sound lame as hell, but the offensive line has been great much of the season. If they can get back on track, they’ll open up holes for Michael Bush all day and the Raiders can run it down the Packers’ throat and grind it out all day. Getting nailed by Bush in the cold will get real tiresome after a while. A lot of McFadden’s numbers were a product of that. The only real difference is once McFadden gets into space, he can take it the distance. Carson Palmer has made some masterful throws as well and outside of his first couple games, where he was getting used to a new offense, he’s been fantastic. He leads the league in yards per completion through the air. The best athletes on this team will be out this week. The scariest guys are McFadden, Jacoby Ford and Denarius Moore and they’re all injured.
If the Raiders have any shot at coming into Green Bay and beating the Packers, which we’re pretty sure they don’t, what’s the recipe?
The only choice the Raiders have is to grind it out. They’ll try to keep the ball out of Aaron Rodgers’ hands as much as they can. Unfortunately, they’re a pretty stupid team overall. They’ve had like one game all season where they weren’t at or near their season average in penalties. They’re on a record pace, averaging nearly 10 penalties a game. On the flip side, the Packers are among the best in turnovers. If somehow, the Raiders can NOT turn the ball over and NOT have double digit penalties, they have a shot. If they can’t do that, they have no shot whatsoever.
Next to the Minnesota Vikings, your fans have to be the biggest bunch of dumb thugs in the league. Do they just raise people to be criminals in Oakland or what?
The Raiders have earned a thug reputation and it has bled over to the fans (no pun intended). A lot of that persona from the fans came from the team’s L.A. days. That’s when it was really bad. Al Davis encouraged the intimidation by Raiders fans. He walked around in his white leisure suit like the Godfather and a lot of the fans thought of themselves as the mob. Green Bay is about as big as an Oakland suburb. Cheese is not exactly intimidating, although most Packers fan look like they ate another fan or are about to give birth to a litter of new fans. So, there’s that. Most of the real Raiders fans you see on TV aren’t thugs at all. They just want you to think they are in the same way that Packers fans want everyone to think they’re one bratwurst away from dropping dead of a heart attack.
Okay, seriously. How’s this game going to turn out?
I don’t see the Raiders getting out of their own way and it probably wouldn’t matter anyway. The Packers would have to pull a Saints vs. the Rams for the Raiders to win this one. The Raiders will probably put up a few scores on the Packers defense but Aaron Rodgers will have his way all day and the Raiders won’t be able to answer every score. Palmer will be without his favorite receivers and nearly all of the team’s speed. The only speedy player left on offense is Darrius Heyward-Bey. He’s been playing better of late and will probably surprise you a couple times, but he isn’t a game breaker. You point to McFadden, but I see Ford and Moore being injured as a bigger problem. The Raiders may be able to grind out a few lengthy drives, but without the threat in the receiving game that Ford and Moore bring, this offense is anything but high-powered.
Packers 35, Raiders 23
To read our interview with Thoughts From the Dark Side, you can go here. It is predictably awesome stuff.