Green Bay Packers at Dallas Cowboys: Divisional Playoff Matchup

Cowboys fans are hoping to see RB Ezekiel Elliott and QB Dak Prescott celebrating at the end of the game. Photo Courtesy: Keith Allison
Cowboys fans are hoping to see RB Ezekiel Elliott and QB Dak Prescott celebrating at the end of the game against the Packers. Photo Courtesy: Keith Allison
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By Zach Walker

Game Info
Green Bay Packers vs Dallas Cowboys
Sunday – January 15 – 3:40 pm
AT&T Stadium – Arlington – TX

Records Before the Game
Green Bay Packers (10-6, 4-4 Away)
Dallas Cowboys (13-3, 7-1 Home)

Who do the Cowboys need to shut down?
RB Ty Montgomery & WR Randall Cobb – Seems like every time these teams set to face off, Randall Cobb is just off of a sweet game of burning the Giants. Okay, so it’s just a two game sample, but still, Cobb had a resurgent game against the Giants coming back from an ankle injury. I don’t care what the Packers have Ty Montgomery listed as, running back or wide receiver, the rookie is going to get major touches, and as I put in my preview of the Giants game, Montgomery is a dangerous weapon. The positive, none of the Cowboys’ safeties were on the Cowboys’ injury report before the regular season finale, so they should be at full strength come Sunday, and the Cowboys are getting full participation from Mo Claiborne at practice, and that’s a supreme boost to the aerial defense against Rodgers.

Who on the Cowboys, needs to step up?
The Cowboys’ Rookie Duo – Dak Prescott and Zeke Elliott had this game in the regular season as their launching point, the game of validation. That opportunity comes full circle for them now, but this is a different animal. It’s Prescott opposite a red hot Aaron Rodgers, if Prescott wants another high-dive into the hearts of the football world, conquering the Rodgers monster is a guarantee of stardom. Zeke against this defense was nothing short of groundbreaking, 157 yards, and with that extra week of R&R for the offensive line, they should look to duplicate that, if they are going to win. The Giants couldn’t run the ball, and they perished in the wild card round. The Cowboys CAN run the ball.

Which group will give the Cowboys trouble?
The Green Bay Quarterback – COP OUT ALERT!!! But, seriously, Aaron Rodgers can forcibly evolve players on his offense to play better, stronger than perhaps they actually are. The Packers brought in Jared Cook, an alright in-line tight end, but with Rodgers dishing the ball, Cook is a major threat. Guys like Jeff Janis and Geronimo Allison are completely different kinds of threats because of the precision of Aaron Rodgers, who hasn’t thrown an interception in seven games, while throwing 19 touchdowns in that same span of games. He’s mobile, hates mistakes, and takes care of the football maybe unlike any quarterback in history. He gives the defense no free lunches and is seemingly unflappable. This is the most dangerous quarterback in the NFC, and unfortunately for the Cowboys, he’s as hot as possible right now. Maybe Jordy Nelson’s absence can shake him a little, but no one should be counting on that.

Which group will give the Packers trouble?
That Cowboys’ hustle – In the regular season matchup, it was the Rod Marinelli brand of hustle that helped win the game. David Irving had three forced fumbles and Aaron Rodgers had a very uncomfortable time in the pocket. It’s going to be up to the men up front for the Cowboys to make Rodgers as uncomfortable as he was last time they played. The Cowboys held a ton of their rushmen out against Philadelphia, and aimed for this game in the playoffs to be the relaunching. The Cowboys must put smart pressure on Rodgers, they can’t just crash and hope he’s in someone’s arms. As of Thursday’s practice, the defense had these players practicing: Tyrone Crawford, DeMarcus Lawrence, Terrell McClain, and Cedric Thornton were limited, but practicing. If the rotation is managed well, this could be the greatest Sunday in twenty years for the Cowboys.

What will it take for the Cowboys to win?
Play the ball control way, long drives and positive gains. Take the shots to keep the Packers honest on defense. When Rodgers has the ball, the Cowboys’ must be smart on defense and not allow any loose change, or let emotion get the better of them.

Dallas 35 – Green Bay 31