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Raiders-Packers matchup of the day: Friday

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Dan Arkush

darkush@pfwmedia.com
Executive editor

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By Dan Arkush

Raiders CBs corps vs. Packers WR corps

 The Raiders have held their last eight opponents to under a 50 percent completion rate, but they know they could be in for a long day facing the Packers' power-packed receiving corps. Oakland defensive coordinator Chuck Bresnahan knows full well that his pass defenders will be playing with fire if they dare to focus on any single Packer wideout. Look for him to very judiciously mix coverages to keep QB Aaron Rodgers as off balance as possible.  

Oakland's secondary actually depends on its excellent safety corps more than its rather ordinary CB corps. The team often goes with what it calls a "Wolverine" package featuring three safeties (Michael Huff, Tyvon Branch and ex-Colt/Saint/Panther Matt Girodano, who has played real well in Oakland). The cornerbacks expected to start on Sunday for Oakland are Stanford Routt, who is normally assigned to handle the opposition's No. 1 wideout (Greg Jennings, in this case) and Chris Johnson.

Routt, who got a sweet new deal in the offseason, has a great blend of size, speed and quickness. But the team's second-round pick in 2005 has a tendency to lack feel and focus and isn't considered a strong tackler by any means. Johnson, who missed eight games with hamstring and groin injuries, just returned to the Raiders after leaving the team briefly to be with his family after his sister was murdered in Texas. Johnson always could run but has problems adjusting in zones. The well-traveled Lito Sheppard adds depth at cornerback. He still has some quickness but has slowed down considerably.

Jennings leads the Packers with 65-929-9, but Jordy Nelson has been almost as dangerous (48-876-9). They were team co-leaders in receiving yards with 94 against the Giants. Old geezer Donald Driver still showed he could get it done in that same game with a pair of TD catches. Don't be surprised if a few plays here and there designed to exploit the versatile skills of Packers rookie WR Randall Cobb are thrown into the mix.

 

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