By: Bill Tewes, Mark Prott, & Jim Boyce
After taking care of the Giants at home in a game that didn’t feel as close as the final score, the Packers have another NFC East opponent coming to town in the 4-1 Dallas Cowboys.
PACKERS 24 COWBOYS 20
Through five games it appears the Cowboys have what it takes to be a playoff team. Rookie QB Dak Prescott has shown poise beyond his years while generally not being asked to do too much. Without top WR Dez Bryant, Prescott has often looked to Jason Witten and Cole Beasley on the short to intermediate routes. Where Dallas really excels though is in the run game, where top pick Ezekiel Elliot is churning out a ton of yards behind Dallas’s excellent offensive line. It will be a great test for the Packers run defense, which has been historically great through four games. I believe the Cowboys will be able to run for around 100 yards in this game, but as long as Green Bay limits the huge gains and doesn’t allow Dallas to control the clock by running for 150 plus then they should be in decent shape to win.
The Packers offense gained over 400 yards against New York and held the ball for 36 minutes, yet settled for too many field goals and had turnovers which kept the game closer than it needed to be. Green Bay needs to eliminate the poor throws and drops, and hope Eddie Lacy is healthy and ready to roll on Sunday. If so I think Green Bay does enough to win, but I expect a tight game throughout.
PACKERS 27 COWBOYS 17
Don’t get me wrong the Cowboys deserve respect for their surprise start to the NFL season. I was especially impressed by their win last week easily defeating the Bengals. Led by two rookies in Prescott and Elliot the Cowboys statistically are one of the top offenses in the game right now. However, as the old saying goes “if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.” The Packers defense should match up favorably against the Cowboys offense. As long as the strong run defense of the Packers can slow down Elliot, which I suspect they will, look for DC Dom Capers to throw multiple exotic looks to confuse the young QB Prescott in an already hostile environment
Packers 21 Cowboys 24
It has to happen Pack fans. The Packers typically lose anywhere from 3-6 games a year and I believe this game will be one of them. The Packers have yet to face a running back like Ezekiel Elliott. While their run defense is no doubt impressive and seemingly unstoppable, I strongly believe Elliott will get his yards and find the end-zone against Green Bay Sunday afternoon. In fact, I’ll say Elliott ends up with 115 yards and a score.
This game is going to be huge for both teams. If Dallas wins, it will signal that they are for real and nothing (not even the top ranked run defense) can stop Elliott and Prescott. If Green Bay wins, it is business and usual and they continue their dominance of usual home wins.
The problem I have with Green Bay is inconsistency on offense. I was ready to say they were back after their win versus Detroit, but the second half of that game, coupled with the second half of the Giants game says otherwise. Something is going on with Green Bay’s rhythm and they have yet to work out all of the kinks. An odd sight was Jordy Nelson dropping three passes and having one of his worst games in quite some time. Luckily Randall Cobb and Davante Adams picked up the slack and I expect them to contribute big if Green Bay plans to win this game.
Dak Prescott has certainly wowed in the five games he’s been the starter for Dallas. He has yet to make any real critical mistakes and has let Elliott do his work as the workhorse of Dallas’ offense. If they keep to the script and pound the rock, I cannot see Green Bay having enough consistency on offense to keep a lead late into the 4th quarter. If Dallas wears out Green Bay’s defense, this game is theirs for the taking. And that is why I believe Prescott and company will come away with a close victory.