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Packers vs. Raiders: Performances to watch

Green Bay looks to keep run defense trending in right direction

TE Darren Waller
TE Darren Waller

GREEN BAY – The Packers are seeing the Raiders for the second time in three months, but the first time was in Winnipeg in the preseason.

The starters for both teams are going to play this time. Here are five things to watch.

1. Clamping down: The Packers' run defense was in a rough stretch, allowing anywhere from 122 to 198 yards on the ground in each of the previous four games before last Monday. The Lions managed just 56 rushing yards and only 2.8 yards per carry, an effort Green Bay will look to duplicate against Oakland RB Josh Jacobs, who is coming off a 123-yard outing vs. the Bears in London. Jacobs has rushed for at least 79 yards in four of five games this season.

2. Doing it again?: Packers WR Allen Lazard burst on the scene with four catches for 65 yards, including a 35-yard TD, in the final 10 minutes of Monday's come-from-behind victory. As Head Coach Matt LaFleur said this week, "Anybody can do it once." The question is can Lazard do it again? He may have to with the Packers significantly banged up at receiver.

3. Pick your poison: Two weeks ago, RB Aaron Jones tallied 182 yards from scrimmage and four TDs. Last week, RB Jamaal Williams compiled 136 total yards and a score. LaFleur has shown a tendency to ride the hot hand in the backfield and that'll likely continue as long as both players stay healthy.

4. Tough cover: Since Philly's Zach Ertz had seven catches for 65 yards against the Packers in Week 4, the Cowboys' Jason Witten had just three grabs for 29 and Lions rookie T.J. Hockenson had four for 21, though he lost the handle and what should have been a TD. Oakland TE Darren Waller is by far QB Derek Carr's favorite target, with 37 catches (more than twice as many as any other Raider) for 359 yards. He's a huge key to the Raiders ranking eighth in the league in third-down offense.

5. Take it away: The last time the Packers' defense didn't generate a turnover, vs. the Eagles, the unit responded with three interceptions in Dallas (and could have had five). Green Bay did not have a takeaway vs. Detroit and saw its turnover margin for the season slip to just plus-4.