The teams: The Green Bay Packers (12-0) vs. the Oakland Raiders (7-5).
The time: 3:15 p.m. CST Sunday.
The place: Lambeau Field, Green Bay.
The TV coverage: WDJT (Ch. 58 in Milwaukee) and WISC (Ch. 3 in Madison).
The announcers: Jim Nantz and Phil Simms in the booth.
The coaches: Green Bay's Mike McCarthy is 66-34 (including 5-2 in the postseason) in his sixth season as the Packers' coach and as an NFL head coach. The Raiders? Hue Jackson is 7-5 in his first year as the Raiders? coach and as an NFL head coach.
The series: The all-time regular-season series is tied, 5-5, with the Packers having won five straight.
The rankings: The Packers? fourth-ranked offense is No. 29 in rushing and No. 3 in passing. Their 31st-ranked defense is No. 13 against the run and No. 31 against the pass. The Raiders? 12th-ranked offense is No. 4 in rushing and No. 16 in passing. Their 26th-ranked defense is No. 28 against the run and No. 17 against the pass.
The line: The Packers are favored by 11.5 points.
The injury report: Packers ? RG Josh Sitton (knee), LT Chad Clifton (hamstring/back), ILB Desmond Bishop (calf), RB James Starks (knee/ankle) and OLB Vic So?oto (back) are out. ILB A.J. Hawk (calf) is questionable. CB Charles Woodson (concussion) is probable.
Raiders ? QB Jason Campbell (collarbone), WR Jacoby Ford (foot), RB Taiwan Jones (hamstring), RB Darren McFadden (foot), WR Denarius Moore (foot) are out. DT John Henderson (knee) is questionable. TE Kevin Boss (hip), S Michael Huff (ankle), DT Tommy Kelly (toe), DE Jarvis Moss (hamstring), DE Trevor Scott (shoulder), DT Richard Seymour (knee), WR Chaz Schilens (foot) are probable.
THE BREAKDOWN: FIVE THINGS TO WATCH
Running for cover: Running back Ryan Grant doesn?t know how many carries he?ll get Sunday, but the combination of the Raiders? 28th-ranked run defense and winter temperatures arriving in Green Bay have Grant hoping for a run-heavy game. Given coach Mike McCarthy?s pass-oriented offense ? and the play of NFL MVP candidate Aaron Rodgers ? the Packers will never be a run-first outfit, but this could be a game where the commitment to the run is greater.
With second-year running back James Starks out with an ankle injury, Grant figures to get the bulk of the carries. While Grant has started 10 of the Packers? 12 games so far, Starks has carried the ball 127 times for 565 yards this season, while Grant has 92 carries for 316 yards. According to ProFootballFocus.com, Starks has played 428 snaps to Grant?s 228.
Having taken a $1 million pay cut in August to stay with the team and coming off the season-ending ankle injury he suffered in the 2010 regular-season opener, Grant can also showcase himself to prospective employers for next season, assuming he doesn?t return to Green Bay.
?I think it?s an opportunity, no matter what,? Grant said Friday. ?Take it how you want. It?s an opportunity to be productive on a lot of levels.?
Asked directly if it was a chance to audition for other teams, Grant smiled and said: ?It?s an opportunity to be productive on many levels.?
Offensive coordinator Joe Philbin said the Raiders? problems against the run are in part because of the chances they take with pressure.
?Every once in a while, a team will catch them. They?re not afraid to pressure, and once in a while if you?re going sideways, sometimes you can get creased,? Philbin said. ?They?ve got a big, physical defense. Their front seven, they?re big guys.?
Ground and pound: Packers defensive coordinator Dom Capers expects a run-heavy offensive approach from the Raiders, even without starter Darren McFadden. And with big Michael Bush carrying the load, that could present a challenge to the Packers, who have struggled against big backs historically, including against Tampa Bay?s LaGarrette Blount last month.
According to Capers, the Raiders went away from what they do best when they fell behind Miami last week, and he expects them to return to their running roots Sunday.
?Those are the first two things that jump out on you: big offensive line, big backs. I?ll say this: the three games before this last game (against Miami), I think they ran it 40, 39 and in the mid-30s, so they?ve been running it 35 times on average,? Capers explained. ?The Dolphins got up on them and they got away from the run. It was a different style game. I?m sure they?ve gone back and looked at the tape and they say, ?We?ve got to get back to what we are.?
?All you?ve got to do is look at their last four games. They won three in a row and they were pounding people running the ball and then making plays. Even in the Bears game, it was a close game and they threw the ball over the top at the end to make the play that really won the game. ? I would anticipate them coming back in here and wanted to run the ball 35 times.?
That means the Packers? inside linebackers will be vital, and even if A.J. Hawk (calf) plays, they?ll still be without Desmond Bishop (calf), and while rookie D.J. Smith has shown promise and terrific effort, he?s undersized and will have to tackle well.