NFL: Raiders-Packers preview

The Examiner breaks down the Raiders-Packers game, including what it will take to win, the matchups, a word about the coaches, our humble predictions and broadcast information.

THREE KEYS TO A VICTORY

1. How many snaps will quarterback JaMarcus Russell get a week after his NFL debut? He was a part of 16 plays in the Week 13 win over the Broncos, throwing some sharp passes while looking pretty comfortable in the pocket. His numbers were solid for a rookie (4-for-7, 56 yards) even though the Raiders never scored on his drives. But his impact on the game seemed to be bigger than stats; Josh McCown played with purpose, while the team and crowd seemed energized. Don’t expect him to get big numbers yet — but expect him to make a mark.

2. The Packers have relied on a pass-heavy attack to jump out to their hot start, but they have to be pleased with the emergence of running back Ryan Grant. Grant has averaged 93.5 yards per game in his last six. Don’t be fooled by the stats; the Packers now have a very balanced offense.

3. The Raiders’ secondary is facing its biggest challenge of the season when it lines up against Brett Favre and the second-ranked Green Bay passing attack. Favre is having one of the best years of his career, but will have to work against a strong unit.

KEY MATCHUPS

THOMAS HOWARD vs. GREG JENNINGS

Howard: LB has a way of coming down with picks; got his team-high fifth interception last week.

Jennings: Donald Driver is still Favre’s favorite target, but Jennings has 10 TDs to Driver’s two.

PAUL MCQUISTAN vs. AARON KAMPMAN

McQuistan: Over last two games, the first McQuistan has started this year, O-line has allowed just two sacks.

Kampman: Leads sack-happy Packers in QB takedowns with 11, good for second in NFL.

JUSTIN FARGAS vs. NICK BARNETT

Fargas: Raiders’ linchpin faces a very solid rushing defense (100.5 yards per game).

Barnett: He’s the guy who seems to be everywhere at once for Pack; 96 tackles leads team by far.

COACHES' CORNER

The divvying up of time at QB remains one of the big issues Lane Kiffin must face. While the Packers are getting their 250th straight start from Favre, Kiffin’s decision could come right before kickoff.

Packers coach and former Niners offensive coordinator Mike McCarthy is having a year beyond anyone’s expectations. After a (literally) painful loss in Dallas, ice-cold Lambeau will have never felt more like home.

THE EXAMINER PREDICTS …

The Raiders have picked up some momentum lately, with a solid rushing game leading the way. However, with rediscovering their ground game, the Packers’ offense is among the NFL’s elite, while the Raiders are still finding their way. PACKERS 28, RAIDERS 10

RAIDERS at PACKERS

Sunday, 10 a.m.

TV: KPIX (Ch. 5)

Radio: KSFO (560 AM)

NFLOakland Raiders & NFLsports

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