Green Bay stays atop NFC North with win over Oakland


The Green Bay Packers are back on the right track, out-lasting the Raiders 30-20 in a driving rainstorm in Oakland. Here's what we learned: 

1. This was a strange game, with the Packers leading at halftime 14-6 despite being dominated in total yardage. Give Aaron Rodgers and the Packers defense credit for playing its best football in the last 20 minutes after falling behind 20-17. They scored on their next three drives, including a 19-play, 92-yard field goal march. The Packers' defense held the Raiders scoreless in their final five drives to close the game out.

2. There wasn't an easy conclusion this time in term's of coach Mike McCarthy's playcalling. Eddie Lacy was held to 23 yards on 11 carries and the Green Bay rushing attack mostly struggled until a late James Starks run barely pushed them over 100 yards as a team. The Packers' passing game was out of sync for much of the day until James Jones caught a number of contested catches in the second half. Rodgers finished with 204 yards, one score and a silly late interception on 39 throws.

3. The Packers led 14-0 early because of two ugly Derek Carr interceptions. Carr's play has deteriorated over the last three weeks, but we love that he continued to stay aggressive throughout the game. His willingness to keep going deep brought his team back into the lead. He finished with 276 yards and two scores on 47 attempts.

4. Amari Cooper went over 1,000 yards for the season with 120 yards and two touchdowns. He abused fellow first-round rookie Damarious Randall for most of the day. (Randall did have a pick six early.) Still, we can't help but remember Cooper failing to come up with a key third-down catch that killed a third quarter drive. That's happened too often this season. The Raiders, now 6-8, were officially eliminated from playoff contention.

5. The Packers remain in position to win the NFC North if they can beat Minnesota in Week 17. Green Bay also kept alive their hopes of sneaking past Arizona for a playoff bye.

6. Julius Peppers deserves love after three QB hits, two and a half sacks and two tackles for loss. He's played better in the second half of the season. The Packers defense has done much of the heavy lifting for this team the last two weeks.