Review – The better team won, and did so by overpowering and outplaying Dallas the entire game. It was refreshing to see the pedal pushed down the entire game. The play calling allowed the running game to come in with the right mindset – started early and often.
Play-calling – Aaron Rodgers (and Jordy Nelson) answered “We executed better,” when asked about the change of play calling. Some may take it as yet another jab at McCarthy, however it was clear the offense was in a rhythm from start to finish. The offense got to the line of scrimmage with more time left on the play clock than recent weeks and it seemed like they knew what they were doing. Plays were run with conviction. There was no hem-hawing at the line, Rodgers looked like he was in complete control (like normal). The execution was improved, but nowhere near perfect. The second drive of the game stalled at the 1-yard line after going for it on 4th and getting stuffed. The defense bailed out the offense on the ensuing drive.
Defense – Sam Shields made a great play on an awful throw from Matt Cassel. Many won’t remember how close this game was but it was 14-7 for a majority of the 2nd half. The defense kept them in the game, however without a legitimate starting QB the defense still gave up huge runs that were very concerning. Overall it was a good team win and everyone stayed healthy, for the most part.
Preview – Oakland ranks 20th in offense, 25th in defense, and 14th in turnover differential (+/- 0). The Raiders play primarily man coverage, which has given the Packers passing game fits this season. They also have, arguably, the best sack-man in the NFL in Khalil Mack. Mack is coming of a 5 sack game, yes GAME! He has all of the tools to get by NFL tackles. Bakhtiari and Bulaga will have their hands full and definitely will require help with chip blocks, line shifts, and quick throws. Since the Packers are the best (knock on wood) in the NFL at taking care of the football (9 giveaways) that should give them the edge in this game, along with the superior QB. It should be a tough, hard fought game, and for some fans they can get all giddy with seeing Charles Woodson play the Packers. With Mac calling plays the Packers and the Raiders’ secondary being their weak point, Green Bay should be able to get into a groove and move the ball. Playing from ahead is their specialty and that’ll be the key in this game and for the remainder of the games this season.