Dallas Cowboys, you have been warned. The Green Bay Packers just ran all over a team that beat you twice this season. The heart of this Packers team is growing with each week, and with each win they are finding their identity, a true Super Bowl contender. Let’s get this breakdown going in this week’s primetime matchup between the Green Bay Packers and Dallas Cowboys.
3 Burning Questions
Is the stage too big for Dallas’ rookies?
Dallas put together a remarkable regular season, but the lights will be the brightest that rookies Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott have ever seen. How they hold up under the pressure is something to watch for sure. Elliott will have an easier time adjusting to the biggest game of his career given his position and big games played in college, but Prescott is about to be put through the fire. Look for Dom Capers to make Prescott’s playoff debut one filled with disguise blitz’s and a lot of quarterback containment forcing him into throws, and hopefully forcing some interceptions.
Can the offense continue dominating without Jordy Nelson?
The Packers did not come out of the Wild Card round unscathed. Jordy Nelson took a vicious hit from Leon Hall and fractured two ribs. His status is still unclear, but I am going to assume that the pain will be too much to play. With that being said, this wide receiving corps will have to continue playing at a high level.
Davante Adams and Geronimo Allison have been great during the win streak, but the Packers will be looking for huge production out of Randall Cobb. Cobb burst back onto the scene last week after dealing with injuries for the bulk of the season by scoring three touchdowns. He was a huge part of the Packers not skipping a beat after Jordy’s injury, and he must contribute the same way against the Cowboys to keep this offense rolling.
Can the Packers secondary shut down Dez Bryant?
Aside from Elliott, Dez Bryant is the man in Dallas. Despite a few down years, struggling with injuries, he is still a Top-10 receiver in the NFL. Going back to last week, the Packers defense held Odell Beckham Jr., a Top-5 wide receiver, to just 28 yards. Call it drops, call it the boat, call it what you will, but the Packers, specifically Ladarius Gunter, got the job done. Dez Bryant, who has more size but less speed than OBJ, might actually be a better matchup for Gunter.
Hopefully we will be talking about a healthy Quinten Rollins, which will help in covering Bryant and the speedy Cole Beasley. In what has been a revolving door of injuries in the secondary, Dom Capers will have to work with what he has been given. Look for the same gameplan the Packers used on Beckham, they’ll smother Bryant in coverage, forcing receivers like Cole Beasley and Terrance Williams to make plays.
2 Key Match-ups
Packers Front Seven vs Dallas O-Line
The real success behind Ezekiel Elliott is his offensive line. This Dallas offensive line is the best run blocking line in football, and they have made several running backs good before Zeke. The key to this ball game is to limit the Dallas run game. If the Packers front line win at the line of scrimmage, and force Dallas to throw the ball, that will shorten their drives and give Rodgers the ball more. And let’s face it, the more Rodgers has the ball the better it is for the Packers.
Ty Montgomery vs Dallas Front Seven
Dallas has the top ranked run defense in football right now. This front seven is the real deal, but it is going to be missing one of their key players in Randy Gregory due to a year long suspension. In the same way the Cowboys want and need to control possession, the Packers would love to control the clock themselves. Ty Montgomery has become a crucial part of this Packers offense, especially in 3rd and long situations. His versatility makes him a matchup nightmare, and his decision making has also seen huge improvement. Look for the Packers, especially without Jordy, to get very creative with Montgomery and keep the chains moving to sustain long drives.
Last week the Packers made me look good by shutting down OBJ. This week I hope the Packers do the same. I’m looking for big things out of Davante Adams. I remember the playoff matchup back in 2014 between these two teams, and Adams was an absolute monster. Throwing defenders off of him to extend plays, ripping the ball out of defenders hands to make catches, and juking the crap out of Dallas’ weak secondary for touchdowns.
Dallas still has a weak secondary, and Davante Adams has only gotten better. Look for Davante to surpass 175 yards and score a pair of touchdowns.
Packers – 28
Cowboys – 14