LAS VEGAS (AP) — Green Bay has had extra time to think about its 34-20 loss to Detroit, a Thursday night game that gave the Packers last weekend off.
The Packers, who are 2-2, certainly don’t want to spend extra time stewing over another defeat should they lose Monday night at Las Vegas. But that’s exactly what will happen if the Raiders properly defend their home field.
This is the Packers’ only game in a 23-day span.
“I take every game personally,” Green Bay cornerback Rasul Douglas said. “I don’t like losing at anything. If there’s a way I can win, I’m going to win. So I just hate losing, and then I hate just not being myself and what I mean to the defense. I hate being that person.”
The feeling isn’t all that different in the opposing locker room.
Las Vegas is off to a 1-3 start, having lost three games in a row after opening with a 17-16 victory at Denver. If the Raiders win, they have a stretch of games that includes New England, Chicago and both New York teams where they have a shot of success.
If the Raiders lose, then memories of last season’s 6-11 record truly begin to hang over this team.
“I don’t want to come here and (expletive) lose, I want to win,” Raiders defensive end Maxx Crosby said. “It’s as simple as that. There are no excuses. We’ve got to do it. The players have got to do it, the coaches. Everybody has got to look at themselves in the mirror and figure out how to get better.”
CARLSON VS. CARLSON
Packers rookie kicker Anders Carlson is the younger brother of Raiders kicker Daniel Carlson, a 2022 All-Pro selection.
Anders said about 27 family members will be heading to Las Vegas to watch this sibling rivalry. That group includes the Carlsons’ oldest brother, Nils, who will travel from Sweden.
Which team’s colors they’ll be wearing remains uncertain.
“Hopefully, my wife’s in Packers gear,” Anders said. “We’ll see about that. She should be. My parents definitely are going to have to split colors. I don’t know what they’re going to do. They’ll figure that out. But super excited to see them gameday.”
Anders acknowledged he wouldn’t be rooting against his brother even while playing on the other team.
“I hope he makes every kick,” Anders said. “I just hope we win by a lot of touchdowns.”
RUNNING IN PLACE
Both the Packers and Raiders have struggled to run the ball, even though both teams feature an accomplished running back.
Josh Jacobs, the NFL’s rushing leader last season, has run for only 166 yards while gaining just 2.7 yards per carry. The Raiders found other ways to use him Sunday against the Chargers. Jacobs caught eight passes for 81 yards to go with his 58 yards on the ground.
“I tell the quarterbacks all the time, ‘I’m always open,’” Jacobs said. “It helps you get in the rhythm of the game.”
As a team, the Raiders are last in the league in yards rushing per game (65.3) and 31st in yards per carry (3.0).
The Packers haven’t been much better. They’re 30th in yards rushing per game (74.5) and 29th in yards per carry (3.3). Aaron Jones missed two games with a hamstring injury and had just five carries when he returned to action in the Packers loss to Detroit on Sept. 28.
“I’m feeling good,” Jones said. “Just still taking it day by day. The hamstring, it can linger so don’t want any of that. That’s why they’ve been so cautious.”
The Packers have been outscored 44-3 in the first half of their last two games.
They erased a 17-0 halftime deficit by scoring 18 points in the final 11 minutes of an 18-17 victory over the New Orleans Saints. They couldn’t come all the way back after falling behind 27-3 in the first 30 minutes of the loss to the Lions.
“I think we’ve just got to get into a rhythm faster … just finding completions early, get the ball moving and kind of just getting ourselves out of maybe the third-and-long situations we put ourselves in, cleaning up penalties, just all the pre-snap things that is hurting ourselves,” Packers quarterback Jordan Love said. “So I think once we get that, get that rhythm going again, we’ll be good.”
Las Vegas has a slightly different issue.
The Raiders have outscored opponents 53-40 in the first and fourth quarters, but have been outscored 61-9 in the middle two periods.
Those mid-game struggles forced the Raiders to play catch-up the past two games. They had to rally against the Pittsburgh Steelers and Los Angeles Chargers, only to come one drive away from at least tying the game in the final minutes.
“I don’t think we lack urgency, or it’s not like we need a ‘Win one for the Gipper’ speech out there in the middle of the game” Las Vegas coach Josh McDaniels said. “I know that the play might not have necessarily reflected the effort that we were trying to play with in terms of our overall production.
“But I think you can see in the second half of both of the last two games. Everybody’s trying to do everything they can to fight, and it’s not like they’re not doing that in the second quarter or the third quarter.”