Bye Bye, Oakland; The Streak Will March On

So, I'm in Vegas and I wrote a 700 word blog on Friday morning, got back to my hotel room and found out that only the first 100 words got saved. It was a brilliant post, too. I'll do my best to re-write it, but it's been a long day at the poker tables and I was looking forward to a rest...oh well.

A win over the Raiders on Sunday will earn the Pack a bye in the playoffs, just the next goal for the Green and Gold to check off on their way to the ultimate prize: a second consecutive Lombardi Trophy.

The Raiders are a difficult team to figure out, with a bit of a Jeckyl and Hyde persona, but ultimately lack playmakers to keep up with Green Bay. After three straight wins, at San Diego and Minnesota and against the Cutler-less Bears, they go down to Miami and fall behind 34-0. Yes, 34-0.

For the sixth straight week, they'll be without their best player, running back Darren McFadden who was on his way to a Pro Bowl season, before suffering a foot injury six weeks ago. Michael Bush is a bruising, effective runner who was filling in nicely, until the Bears and Dolphins shut him down the past two weeks. That puts more pressure on Carson Palmer and the passing game, which lacks a #1 (and a #2) receiver right now, with the emerging Denarius Moore and Jacoby Ford out. Palmer will look for Chaz Schilens and Darrius Heyward-Bust...I mean, Bey, with veteran TJ Houshmanzadeh waiting in the wings. Not a very skilled set of receivers for the statuesque Palmer who will have Clay Matthews in his face all day, unless right tackle Khalif Barnes can keep him at bay.

Where the Packers have the best matchup is in the passing game. Nnamdi Asomugha's departure via free agency leaves them with a mediocre set of corners. They're worse against the run, last in the league giving up 5.2 yards per carry. The last time they visited Lambeau, Ryan Grant rushed for 156 yards and a touchdown. With James Starks out, Grant could have another day like that. Brandon Saine will also get touches and could have a Starks-like coming out party against that defense. The Raiders are talented in the middle up front with Richard Seymour, Tommy Kelly and John Henderson rotating at DT.

With temperatures in the mid-30s, the offense should be able to move up and down the field against a Raiders defense that surrendered 100 yards to Reggie Bush and made Matt Moore look like a Pro Bowler. The Raiders get a break with the game moving to 3:15, giving their bodies a chance to recover a bit, but that's the only break they're getting.

The Pack will make it six in a row over Oakland and 19 straight overall, the second longest winning streak in NFL history.

Packers 31 Raiders 16

So, as I said I'm in Vegas, and while sitting at the Caesar's Palace sports book Thursday night, I noticed this prop bet on the big board: Will the Packers go 16-0 in the regular season in 2011? Yes -150 No +120. So you have to bet $150 on yes to win $100 (or $75 to win $50). First off, don't you have to place a bet just to have the ticket as a cool keepsake in a potentially historic season? Second, if you believe that Mike McCarthy will chase perfection, as I do, don't you have to believe they're going to win three home games and a road game in Kansas City?

Put me down for a C note, it will at the very least last longer than a trip to the craps table.


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