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GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Based on this night, at least, the Green Bay Packers are not yet one of the NFC's elite teams.
That conclusion seemed indisputable Sunday after a thorough 27-16 defeat at the hands of the elite Dallas Cowboys. The Packers kept it close for the first two-thirds of the game but ultimately were manhandled and out-run by a team with more athletes and better explosion.
A few big statistics will jump out to support this theory. Rushing yardage is always a good indicator of which team imposed its physical will, and the Cowboys unofficially finished with 217 yards on the ground. Explosive plays are also important; Dallas had five offensive plays of 25 yards or more.
No one expected the Packers defense to shut down the Cowboys, but it was a little surprising that the Green Bay offense wasn't able to keep pace better. The Packers, in fact, managed just seven first downs and 191 yards through the first three quarters before churning up some garbage yardage late.
I'm headed down to the Packers locker room and will follow up with a post on how the Packers deal with their first adversity under new quarterback Aaron Rodgers.