GREEN BAY PACKERS (3-1)
at DALLAS COWBOYS (2-2)
AT&T Stadium – Arlington, TX
Kickoff: Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET
Line: Dallas -2.5, Total: 52.5
The Packers will be going for three straight wins on Sunday, but they’re facing a Cowboys team that will be out for revenge for how last season’s playoff game ended.
Last year, a Mason Crosby field goal sunk the Cowboys in the postseason. Green Bay went on to lose to Atlanta in the NFC Championship, and Dallas sat and watched from home. The Cowboys were unbelievable a year ago and definitely felt as though they had a shot to win a Super Bowl. For that reason, it couldn’t be easy for them to watch Crosby’s field goal fly from outside the left post to just inside. Dallas will be insanely motivated when the teams meet here, but that might not be enough to keep the Packers down. Green Bay has been impressive this season, as the team is 3-1 and only lost to the Falcons in Atlanta. Dallas, meanwhile, is coming off of a 35-30 loss to Los Angeles at home. The Rams rushed for 168 yards in that game, which is something that the Cowboys desperately need to fix soon. It’s worth noting that Dallas is 9-2 SU and 8-3 ATS when hosting Green Bay since 1992. The Packers, meanwhile, are 2-1 both SU and ATS when facing the Cowboys over the past three seasons. They’re also a ridiculous 29-10 ATS versus teams that average 60 or more penalty yards per game under head coach Mike McCarthy. It’s not all bad for Dallas, though. The Cowboys are 6-0 ATS over the past two seasons after gaining 175 or more rushing yards in their previous game. Green Bay will also be hurt by the loss of RB Ty Montgomery (Ribs), who is pretty much week-to-week for the team.
The Packers are coming off of a solid victory over the Bears, but they know this meeting with the Cowboys is a big one. One guy that they can always count on to play well in big games is QB Aaron Rodgers (1,146 yards, 10 TD, 3 INT). Last year, Rodgers threw for 355 yards with two touchdowns and one pick in a win over the Cowboys in the playoffs. You can expect him to be even better in this one, as the Cowboys’ secondary looks pretty lousy against a mediocre Rams passing attack last week. The loss of RB Ty Montgomery (152 yards, 2 TD rushing; 18 rec, 129 yards, 1 TD receiving) could really hurt the Packers, though. He is doubtful for this game and the Packers lack proven options behind him. That means that the offense will be relying heavily on WRs Davante Adams (16 rec, 219 yards, 2 TD), Jordy Nelson (17 rec, 206 yards, 5 TD) and Randall Cobb (19 rec, 189 yards, 1 TD). All of them have been pretty excellent this season, but Nelson has obviously continued to perform like a superstar. Defensively, the Packers need to focus on stopping Ezekiel Elliott and the Dallas running game. That is no easy task, so the front seven must come ready to play.
The Cowboys are going to want this win badly, especially after losing to the Rams last week. That was a very bad home loss for Dallas, but the team must turn around and play a good game here. The one guy that will be the key to this one is RB Ezekiel Elliott (277 yards, 2 TD). Elliott has only rushed for over 100 yards in one of his four games this season, and that is something he did in seven of his 15 games played a year ago. The team needs to start getting him the ball in some more space moving forward, as his ability to eat up yards really helps the passing game be more effective. QB Dak Prescott (941 yards, 8 TD, 3 INT) doesn’t necessarily need a good running game to have success, but it just helps confuse opposing defenses when they don’t know whether or not they should only play the run. Prescott has actually been better as a passer this season than he was a year ago. He isn’t completing more passes or anything, but he has been very good and that is with an increase in passing plays called. The Cowboys will need him to make some big throws in this one, so look for him to go out of his way to find WR Dez Bryant (16 rec, 212 yards, 2 TD) a bit more often here. Prescott hasn’t targeted Bryant the way Tony Romo used to, but he would be wise to start finding him a little more often.