Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports
#4 Green Bay Packers (10-6) at #1 Dallas Cowboys (13-3)
Arlington, Texas (AT&T Stadium)
January 15th, 1:40 PM (PST)
Another must watch game this weekend on FOX, as the red-hot Green Bay Packers, who are winners of 7 straight, head on the road to face arguably the best and most consistent football team of 2016, the Dallas Cowboys. This is a marquee matchup and it will not disappoint.
This game is another tough matchup to pick. Green Bay is red hot and has the better quarterback, but Dallas is coming off a bye at home and has the better overall team and season stats.
Dallas will look to take advantage of the weak Green Bay defense. The Packers have shown they can be taken advantage of through the air. They gave up an average of 269 passing yards during the regular season and 295 last week to the Giants.
Dallas’s success will revolve around their ability to run the ball, though. Why? The Cowboys have the best offensive line in football along with Ezekiel Elliott, arguably the best back in the NFL. More importantly, though if they establish the running game early, that will force Green Bay to defend heavily against the run, thus opening up the threat of the pass. Dak Prescott is too young to trust to spread out the Packers and throw the ball every play without establishing the run game first.
Lastly, probably the most important reason to run the ball, is to chew up the clock. The more clock they chew up, the less Rodgers will have the ball. Right now it seems having him stand on the sideline is the only way to stop him.
Green Bay’s Offense
Green Bay put on a clinic last week against one of the best defenses in the league, the New York Giants. This week, the Packers face a much weaker Cowboys defense. The Cowboys are an average defense with inflated stats because of their above average possession time. However, Rodgers will be without his top target, Jordy Nelson, which may interrupt the Packers passing game. Rodgers will have to compensate using his three other big targets: Randall Cobb, Ty Montgomery, and Davante Adams. The Packers have also been doing a better job of running the ball lately. Their running game isn’t going to win the game, but it is doing just enough to take some of the pressure off Rodgers.
This should be a high scoring game. Whoever has the ball last will have the best chance to win. The Cowboys are too inexperienced, starting a rookie QB and RB, and I believe it is going to catch up to them at some point. They have gone the entire year without any resemblance of being rookies. They will still play solid football, but I think they could have one or two costly turnovers that the Packers will take advantage of.
It will be a close game, but Rodgers will carve up the Cowboys average defense.
Packers 34 Cowboys 30
This is also a rematch of the famous playoff game from 2 years ago where the Packers beat the Cowboys on the controversial call of an incompletion to Cowboy WR Dez Bryant late in the game. The changing of the call cost the Cowboys the game.
The Packers also played the Cowboys earlier in the year, week 6, but lost 30-16 at home. I don’t think we can look much into this game because it is a completely different Packers team now than it was in week 6.
Ryan is currently a student at the University of North Carolina. He grew up in the Bay Area and has had Raiders season tickets his entire life fostering his love for the NFL. He has founded his own sports website, thejrreport.com and works at the Sports Desk for the Daily Tar Heel. You can follow Ryan on twitter @rytime98 if you want to discuss anything sports.