DALLAS - The Dallas Cowboys weren’t able to create points in the second half of the Rams game which ultimately led to a five-point loss at the hands of Los Angeles. Shifting their focus to this week, the Cowboys look to avenge their playoff loss of a year ago. Dak Prescott and company host the Green Bay Packers this Sunday.
The Packers are a team that the Cowboys are very familiar with. Including the game Sunday, the Packers and Cowboys will have met six times since 2013. The Cowboys lone win came at Lambeau Field during the regular season in 2016. The victory was only their second win there ever. Dallas is 1-4 in their previous matchups including an 0-2 record in the playoffs.
These five players should be watched closely on Sunday as the Cowboys look to move to 3-2 on the year.
- The team had high expectations for Hitchens coming into the season as he was expected to continue as the starter at the middle linebacker spot ahead of Jaylon Smith. An injury in a dress rehearsal preseason game has cost him the first four games of the season. He is now expected to start in place of an injured Sean Lee at weakside linebacker.
- According the NFL’s website, Hitchens recorded 78 combined tackles and 1.5 sacks in the 2016 season. His presence will help a team who could be missing their defensive captain Lee for a second straight game.
- The Packers have a banged up secondary so the Cowboys should look to take advantage. One player who seems to find a way to get open is Terrance Williams. So far, in four games, Williams has caught 17 passes for 166 yards. Not exactly world-beating numbers but he could take advantage of matchups against Green Bay.
- In Williams’ young career, he has 16 receptions for 265 yards and one touchdown against Green Bay. His lone touchdown came in the 2014 playoff game when he caught a 38-yard pass from Tony Romo.
- Cowboy fans haven’t seen the Ezekiel Elliott they grew accustomed to in the 2016 season. So far Elliott has only broken the 100-yard mark once. In four games, he is averaging 69.2 yards per game. However, the low mark is in large part thanks to an eight yard performance against Denver.
- In both games last season against Green Bay, Elliott rushed for well over 100 yards with 282 yards combined. Look for Elliott to punish the Packers yet again.
- For the first time this year, David Irving will suit up for the Cowboys as he makes his debut following a four-game suspension to begin the season. His return couldn’t have come at a better time. The team has needed his presence on both inside and outside rushes. Stephen Paea is banged up and Irving could help generate inside pass rush next to Maliek Collins.
- One of the four sacks Irving collected last season came in their first matchup against Green Bay. With the injury concerns on the offensive line for the Packers, Irving's return may be the perfect medicine for the pass rush minus DeMarcus Lawrence. Lawrence has been able to generate his own havoc despite who has been lined up in front of him.
- Prescott has been the target of a lot of criticism early on this season. The second year QB isn’t making the same plays of a season ago and that perhaps comes from defenses determined to make him beat them with his arm. Still, the reigning rookie of the year needs to have a larger impact for the Cowboys to come out on top this coming Sunday.
- Last season Prescott posted six touchdowns to two interceptions against the Packers. Both games were winnable but unfortunately things did not go the Cowboys way late in the playoff game. It will be important for Dak to create with his legs and find the open receivers this Sunday. Prescott throwing the ball 40+ times is a recipe for disaster as the Cowboys haven’t won a game when he is asked to do so.
Which players will you be keeping your eye on as the Cowboys take on the Packers? Share 'em with Patrick on Twitter @DraftCowboys.
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