Face-Off: Cowboys vs. Packers

Face-Off: Cowboys vs. Packers

Credit: Getty Images

DeMarco Murray #29 of the Dallas Cowboys runs over Tim Jennings #26 of the Chicago Bears during the second quarter on December 9, 2013 at Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)

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by EDDIE MIDDLEBROOK

WFAA Sports

Posted on December 13, 2013 at 8:00 AM

Updated Saturday, Dec 14 at 12:14 PM

DALLAS vs. GREEN BAY

Kickoff: 3:25 p.m., AT&T Stadium

TV: 3:25 p.m., FOX

Radio: Noon, 105.3 The Fan

Records: Dallas 7-6, Green Bay 6-6-1

Series: Dallas leads, 16-14

Last meeting: Green Bay, 45-7 (2010, in Green Bay)

Betting line: Dallas -7

Weather: 47 degrees, 20% chance of rain

Eight possessions, eight scores last week for the Bears and yet, Monte Kiffin is still employed as the defensive coordinator for your Dallas Cowboys. After Monday’s game, the outlook on this season looks bleak, but hope shines in a mediocre Packers team that comes to town having won only one game since Aaron Rodgers went out with a broken collarbone on November 4.  Let’s see how these two teams match up:

Dallas offense vs. Green Bay defense

Credit to DFW Fan Connection on Twitter for citing this stat nugget: In the Cowboys six losses, Romo has thrown for 15 touchdowns, one interception and has a 110.7 quarterback rating. He is not the problem and hasn’t been all season.

Against Chicago, the running game was fantastic as DeMarco Murray and Joseph Randle combined for 199 yards on 27 carries. Romo was efficient as he threw three touchdowns and zero interceptions. In his last six games, Romo has only thrown two interceptions while completing 12 touchdown passes.

Green Bay’s defense ranks in the bottom half of the league in both passing (21st) and rushing (25th) defense. Until last week’s 22-21 win over the Falcons (3-10), the Packers had given up at least 26 points in six straight games (1-4-1 record during this span).

The offense is far more explosive at home (21 touchdowns in six games) than they are on the road (16 touchdowns in seven games), which shouldn’t change against a sub-par Packers defense.   

Edge: DALLAS

Dallas defense vs. Green Bay offense

What is left to say about this Dallas defense that hasn’t already been said? They made Chicago’s Josh McCown look almost perfect on Monday night. No, really, I’m not joking. McCown finished the game 27 of 36 passing for 348 yards, four touchdowns and zero interceptions, which gave him a QBR of 99.1 (100 is perfect). Matt Forte added over 100 yards rushing on the ground and the Cowboys game up 490 total yards.

Indications are that Rodgers will be out for this game which means East Texas native Matt Flynn makes his fourth start of the season for Green Bay. Through his first three games, he has two touchdowns and two interceptions while the team has gone 1-1-1 with Flynn at the helm.

Running back Eddie Lacy has been hot and cold all season, and recently he has struggled as he has 81 yards on 30 carries in his last two games.

In Flynn’s first two starts, James Jones was his favorite target as he caught 10 passes for 159 yards, but in the win over Atlanta, Jordy Nelson (who leads the team in receptions, yards and touchdowns) was once again the top receiver with four receptions for 85 yards. Tight end Andrew Quarless also had his best game of the season against the Falcons as he had six receptions for 66 yards and a touchdown.

Without Rodgers, the Packers are clearly not the same team, but don’t be surprised if Flynn lights up the Dallas secondary which ranks 32nd in the league.           

Edge: GREEN BAY

Key matchup

Green Bay’s offensive line vs. Dallas front seven: There has been a lot of talk from the Cowboys this week about getting more pressure on the quarterback specifically with regards to third downs. On the season, Dallas ranks 28th in the league on third down conversions as they allow first downs 42.9% of the time. Over their last six games, the Cowboys only have seven sacks. Meanwhile, Flynn has been sacked 12 times in the last two games. This team needs Jason Hatcher to display leadership and help fix these defensive woes.

Edge: EVEN

Special teams

As long as the Cowboys have Dwayne Harris healthy, they will be formidable on special teams in the return game as he provides a threat to take the ball to the endzone anytime and is a superb tackler on kick coverage.

Green Bay’s return game features rookie Micah Hyde who is fifth in the league in punt return average (12.7) and has a 93-yard punt return for a touchdown on the season.

Veteran kicker Mason Crosby is second in the league with 29 field goals made.         

Edge: EVEN

Intangibles

This is a must-win game for the ‘Boys as Head Coach Jason Garrett has alluded to the fact that they might need to win out if they want to get to the playoffs. Since Rodgers has been out, the Packers have been outscored 67-23 on the road while Dallas is 5-1 at home this season. What is the best way to forget Monday’s result? Win at home.          

Edge: DALLAS

Did You Know?

Until this season, the Cowboys record in Jerry World was 17-15 in the regular season. This season, their only loss was a 51-48 decision against the Broncos in an instant classic. It may have taken five seasons, but it appears Dallas has a home-field advantage in their new home.  

The More You Know…

Prediction: Dallas 30, Green Bay 28

Eddie Middlebrook is the co-host of “Chin Music” and VP of Media for ShutDowninning. He can be reached at Eddie.Middlebrook@ShutDowninning.com or on Twitter @emiddlebrook     

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