Looking Ahead To The Dallas Cowboys


The Green Bay Packers look to stay on the winning track Sunday at Lambeau Field against the battered Dallas Cowboys.

When we last saw the Green Bay Packers, they were running off the field after an absolute miracle of a win over the Detroit Lions. Before the win, everyone was ready to write off the Packers and offered them almost no shot at doing much in the division or the playoffs.

Cut to a week later, and Green Bay is not only very much in control of the division (thanks to some Minnesota Vikings miscues on Thursday), but can also sneak into a bye week should they get some help.

After the miraculous turnaround of last week’s game, it’s easy to jump back onto the ship and announce that the team is ready to ride the momentum off to the Super Bowl. To those people, I’d say pump your brakes, and let’s focus on Sunday’s game.

Coming into Lambeau are the somehow-still-alive Dallas Cowboys, on a short week after coming back themselves against the Washington Redskins on Monday night. Let’s break down Sunday’s game.

Who Are They?

The Dallas Cowboys started out this year as potential Super Bowl favorites. Coming off a season that saw the team get to 12-4 and put Tony Romo and DeMarco Murray in MVP talks, everyone thought they’d be a pretty big contender in 2015 even after losing Murray to the Philadelphia Eagles.

Sadly, injuries derailed much of those hopes, as Romo broke his collarbone in the second week of the season and wide receiver Dez Bryant fractured a bone in his foot during the first week. Without their two best offensive players, the team was forced to play with the likes of Brandon Weeden and Matt Cassel, which got them to a not-too-respectable 4-8.

However, due to the poor play of the NFC East, they aren’t out of playoff contention just yet.

After a come-from-behind win last week, the Cowboys can still manage to snag a playoff spot should they manage to win their division, a task that doesn’t seem as hard when you look at the competition in it. However, the team is going to have to play out of their mind in order to make it anywhere.

With no Murray in the backfield to help, the Cowboys running game is nowhere near what it was last year, and with guys like Cassel playing quarterback, they’ve managed to accumulate a league-worst minus-14 differential in giveaways/takeaways this year.

On the other side of the ball, the Cowboys aren’t nearly as bad. With guys like Sean Lee and Greg Hardy leading your defense, you’d think you would be doing fine, and the Cowboys are.  Dallas actually ranks as the fourth-best defense overall, boasting a fairly stout rushing defense and a defensive line that’s finally getting to the quarterback.

What to watch for: 

  • Don’t Expect Much Drama: The last time these two teams played each other, it was the divisional round of the playoffs, and was capped off by a memorable catch/no catch late in the game. While that game was filled with tons of drama, don’t expect much this time around. The Cowboys are coming into Lambeau at 4-8 and looking to just barely maintain hope in the division.The Packers, on the other hand, are looking to take firm control of their division, so while it may seem like a playoff game, I can’t see much in the way of drama happening.

No Missed Curfew:


Eddie Lacy

barely saw the field last week, many people assumed that he had perhaps hurt himself again. Surprisingly, it was later revealed that he was benched for

missing curfew

the night before. While Lacy has said he was simply in the hotel lobby, his coaches were obviously not happy with him not making it back in time.

This week, however, it seems like Lacy has been doing all of the right things and will once again take up the mantle of starting running back. The question now becomes whether or not he can pick up where he left off, having had back-to-back 100 yard rushing games before getting benched. If Lacy can get going early, the Packers might be able to put the game away quickly. 

Offensive Tempo:

Last week, the Packers looked all sorts of bad during the first half, going down 17-0 almost immediately and not doing much else. When the second half rolled around, however, everything looked different.The team performed at a much faster pace and higher function, and the offense actually completed two touchdown drives of 75-plus yards, one of them coming in the fourth quarter to make it a one-score game.

It seems like this year the crutch of the team has been the offense, and if they can figure out exactly how to fix whatever has been broke, they stand a great chance of picking up where that 6-0 streak left off.

Keys to Victory: 

Mostly every week, the Packers defense has been the key to victory. This week doesn’t see that trend change yet.

Regardless of who is throwing him the ball, Bryant is still a very formidable player to go against, and the Packers defense will have its hands full with him for most of the game. Luckily, Sam Shields has been playing at an excellent level, and his matchup with Bryant is going to be one of the most interesting matchups of the entire game.

The defense can also jumpstart this game by getting back to what they did earlier on in the season: sacks and turnovers. As we discussed, the Cowboys are the worst team in the NFL in giveaway/takeaway differential, and if Green Bay’s defense can get to Cassel early, he might have a rough Sunday ahead of him.

Offensively, Green Bay is coming into this game on the back of a miracle, but they can’t stay in that moment forever. The team still looked fairly poor last week, but if they can build off of the strong second half they had, the sky is the limit for the team. Lacy will be the key for the offense; he is usually a cold weather running back who does better the more times he’s given the ball.

With the cold weather coming upon us, the team should look to start feeding Lacy the ball in order to expose an already suspect Cowboys secondary.

While I most certainly do think that Green Bay will win this game, I don’t think it will be as one-sided as many of the pundits think. The Packers showed promise in the second half of the Detroit game, but this team has shown they have a penchant for not sticking to what can work, and if the wide receivers to have problems getting open, it might be a bit closer than most think.

However, against Cassel in Lambeau, I can’t side against them here.

Prediction: Green Bay 24, Dallas 13