Oakland Raiders (7-5, 8-4 ATS) vs. Green Bay Packers (12-0, 8-4 ATS), NFL Week 14, 4:15pm ET, Sun. December 11, Lambeau Field, CBS
by Evergreen, Pro Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: Oak +11.5/GB -11.5
Over/Under Total: 54
Bet the Packers at +8.5 by placing them in a 20 point football teaser at 5Dimes.
The calendar turned again and the first weekend in December will have a lot of impact on the NFL Playoff picture with several teams stillfighting for division titles and wildcard spots. The Oakland Raiders east to take on the Green Bay Packers to try to solidify their playoff resume and ruin the Pack’s current perfect record. Green Bay has already clinched the NFC North at 12-0 but still has a little more work to do to sew up homefield throughout while Oakland is in a dogfight for the AFC West crown and does not want to slip into the wildcard mess if they can help it. The game from Lambeau Field was flexed into the 4:15pm ET slot and airs on CBS.
The line for the game opened with the Packers as 10.5 point favs but most online sportsbooks have pushed that to 11.5 or 12 by Tuesday with the over/under total most commonly at 53 or 54. Oakland brings a good potential value if you like them on the moneyline with 5Dimes having them at +475and Green Bay at -650.
If you think you can’t escape Tebow-Mania, just think what the Raiders must feel like. With the Broncos surging, Oakland now stands in a flat-footed tie for the division after a Week 13 loss at Miami. The Raiders had looked to be in the driver’s seat after a 3-game win streak but haven’t been able to distance themselves and now face the prospect of falling a game behind unless they can pull one of the biggest upsets of the season.
The Packers were tested at New York last as the Giants tied the game late but Aaron Rodgers led an expert two minute drive and Green Bay stayed perfect after a last second field goal. The 38-35 win along withlosses by Detroit and Chicago gave the Packers the division and a playoff spot but the Pack still have to hold off the 49ers for home field, although they do have a 2-game edge.
A tall test under ideal circumstances gets taller this week as the Raider injury report is very long. On offense, WR Jacoby Ford, WR Chaz Schilens, WR Denarius Moore and RB Darren McFadden are all questionable for Sunday and Richard Seymour is facing potential discipline after throwing a punch that led to his ejection from the Miami game.
Green Bay has injury issues as well, especially at linebacker with A.J. Hawk and Desmond Bishop both questionable with CB Charles Woodson’s status in doubt after a concussion. They may also be with OL Josh Sitton and RB James Starks from the offensive side.
Despite all the injuries through the year, Oakland has maintained good production on offense and enters the week 4th in rushing yards at 140 yards on average and scores 22.8 points per game. They are in the top half of the NFL in pass and total yards per game but depth issues at wide receiver could pose a problem as teams can focus on stopping the run. Defensively, the Raiders have been below average, giving up the 7th most total yards and the 6th most points per game. That does not bode well as they travel to take on the NFL’s best scoring offense.
Carson Palmer is making his 6th start after taking over for Jason Campbell and has played pretty well considering the circumstances, although his TD to INT ratio is about one to one. Michael Bush has been the offensive MVP for the team with the back leading the team in rushing at 686 yards and adds 300 yards on receptions. Darrius Heyward-Bey leads the team with 38 catches for 582 yards and Palmer will surely miss Danarius Moore if he cannot go as the young wideout leads the team with 17.1 YPC and4 touchdowns. Kamerion Wimbley leads the team with seven sacks but needs Seymour to remain eligible to take away double teams.
There is not much the Packers can’t do with the ball as they are in the top-5 in passing and total yards on the way to 35 points per game. They do not run the ball particularily well, averaging just 96 yards, and that has allowed teams to stay close in many games. The defense seems the weak spot with 2nd to last ranks in pass and total yards allowed but they play for turnovers and give up a respectable 21.8 points per game, good for 17th in the league.
Aaron Rodgers stats are crazy good with the MVP frontrunner completing 70% of his passes for nearly 3,900 yards and just 5 picks against 37 touchdowns and he leads the league in passer rating. Ryan Grant looks to get the start if James Starks can’t go but Brandon Saine could get some extra work as the team expands his role. Greg Jennings and Jordy Nelson are among the best WR tandems in the league with 9 scores a piece and both could go over 1,000 yards for the season with a good day against an average Raider secondary. Clay Matthews may need to takea bigger leadership role with Hawk and Woodson potentially out, but he shouldn’t have an issue with that and the defense still has plenty of playmakers.
Both teams could see good runs against the spread come to an end as both are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 against teams with winning records. Oakland is 6-1 ATS in the last 7 on the road while Green Bay is 5-1 in the last 6 at home. The over looks to be a good bet with the over hitting in 4 of the last 5 for the Raiders and 6 of the last 7 for the Packers.
Evergreens Pick to Cover the Point Spread:
If you simply believe that the Packers are not going undefeated, it’s time to start betting against them but I think they cover this week. The weather could get ugly at Lambeau and threaten the Pack in the playoffs but the forecast is for clear skies and 35 degrees this Sunday which won’t slow the passing game at all. Look for the depleted Raider offense to struggle and the Packers score their normal 35 or so. Oakland 17 Green Bay 38.
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