Sunday, December 09, 2007

Packers - Raiders preview

It's less than 2 hours to game time at Lambeau. And this time of year, one has to take a closer look at the weather forecast. So, courtesy of The Weather Channel, here's what might be expected: "Snow showers. High 22F. Winds light and variable. Chance of snow 70%." Welcome to Green Bay, Raiders.

A couple of points to ponder. The Pack go into this game as 10-1/2 point favorites. That's a big spread, even against a team such as Oakland, which really probably isn't as bad as their 4-8 record might indicate. OK, their rushing defense is 30th in the league, their QB is...who?...and...that's about it. So, not great.

But, the Packers are still dinged up. Most importantly, ol' #4 is still nursing some hurts from the Dallas game, although he will start the game, of course. (That's 250 consecutive regular season starts...but who's counting?) What might that mean as far as the game? Probably a lot more handoffs than we've seen to this point in the season. It's possible that Ryan Grant might have a career high in rushing attempts today. That would be just fine if those rushes moved the chains and resulted in points. The other thing that might be expected is far fewer 7-step know, the kind that really worked against the Pack in the first half of the Dallas game? But I digress. The point is that in order to minimize the exposure of Brett to hits from old friends such as Warren Sapp, passes will probably be more of the 3- and 5-step variety, slants and quick timing passes. If the Packers were able to build a substantial lead in the second half, we shouldn't be surprised if Brett gave way late to Craig Nall in mop up duty. Brett should only be left in as long as absolutely necessary.

Charles Woodson practiced Friday and would love to play against his old team. On the other hand, it might be better for the Pack to hold him out unless he is absolutely recovered from his toe injury, which he is not. Having Woodson healthy for the playoffs is more important than any grudge match he may be wishing for today.

KGB will be back today. Bubba is still doubtful. Johnny Jolly is still out and probably will be the next player to be put on injured reserve when the Packers need to make a roster move. And, as noted in a post here earlier this week, QB Aaron Rodgers is out with a hamstring injury following his admirable performance in relief of Brett against the Cowboys.

So, what does all this add up to? A Packer win. Although the Packers still have to show up. If they do that and take care of business, the Pack clinches the division today. I don't expect a high-scoring game. For the sake of argument, let's call it 24-14 Packers.

Go Pack Go!!!