OAKLAND, Calif. -- You can call officially call the Green Bay Packers, with their flaws and all, a playoff team. We knew that even before they kicked off Sunday’s game against the Oakland Raiders, but after their 30-20 victory at O.co Coliseum, they now have only two games to raise their level of play to postseason quality.
For a good portion of the game, the Packers’ best offense was Raiders quarterback Derek Carr throwing interceptions. The Packers picked him off twice in the first half -- one that Damarious Randall returned 43 yards for a touchdown and another that Micah Hyde returned deep into Raiders’ territory. Quinten Rollins and Morgan Burnett also dropped potential interceptions.
If the win against the Raiders wasn’t overly impressive, then there will be a chance for the Packers to change their perception heading into the playoffs when they travel to Arizona next Sunday. They couldn’t beat the NFC’s top team, the Carolina Panthers, in Week 9. Now they get a crack at the NFC’s No. 2 team in Week 16.
The Packers’ 92-yard, fourth-quarter field goal drive -- yes, they went 92 yards and didn’t score a touchdown -- was emblematic of their season on the whole. Their inconsistent offense couldn’t finish off what looked like an impressive drive.
What it means: The Packers showed why they’re the model of consistency among NFL franchises. They will make their seventh straight playoff appearance.
What were they thinking?: Coach Mike McCarthy’s decision to stick with a one-two punch at running back rather than riding Eddie Lacy cost him when James Starks fumbled late in the second quarter. It was Starks’ third fumble in his past three games. The Packers were on their way to at least a field goal try when Starks coughed it up with 1:22 left in the first half, and the Raiders turned that into a touchdown, which pulled them to within 14-13 at halftime.
One reason to get excited: Jared Abbrederis hasn’t received a ton of opportunities, but when he has, he has made them count. He caught three passes for 33 yards, including a 13-yarder on third-and-5 late in the third quarter. Abbrederis overtook Jeff Janis for the No. 4 receiver spot during the game.
One reason to panic: The Packers receivers continued to have trouble getting open, and even when they did, they dropped the ball. Davante Adams was the biggest offender, dropping a 14-yard touchdown in the third quarter. On the same series, Janis dropped a short slant that would’ve been a first down on third-and-2 from the Raiders’ 6. Earlier, tight end Richard Rodgers, who had only one drop in the first 13 games, was wide open down the middle when he dropped a ball in the second quarter.
Fantasy watch: In his return to Oakland, James Jones was the Packers’ most productive receiver. He caught one touchdown but had another taken away when he was called for offensive pass interference in the end zone in the fourth quarter.
Ouch: Starting left tackle David Bakhtiari left late in the fourth quarter with an ankle injury. Don Barclay replaced him. Backup outside linebacker Jayrone Elliott left in the first half with a quad injury and did not return.
What’s next: The Packers make their second straight trip out west. They play their final road regular-season game at Arizona before wrapping up at home against Minnesota on Jan. 3.