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Dallas Cowboys News & Notes: Cowboys Not Intimidated By Packers

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Latest Cowboys headlines: For the Cowboys, the trip to Green Bay is strictly business; Troy Aikman would take Tony Romo over remaining playoff QBs; ‘Complementary’ players coming through for Cowboys.

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Cowboys don't plan to be intimidated by Packers - Newsday
For the Cowboys, the trip to Green Bay is strictly business and not some romanticized trip into the past.

"We're not going for a history lesson," defensive end Jeremy Mincey said Friday. "We're going to play some football."

"More than anything, playing in these games is what you want to be doing as a player," Tony Romo added. "I don't know that it matters where you play. I've played long enough, I've seen all the stadiums, done all those things. It's about winning, getting your team to play in a championship and winning that."

"It's a playoff game," he added. "You can play anywhere and it's going to be important."

Troy Aikman would take Tony Romo over remaining playoff QBs - USA Today
If Troy Aikman needed a QB to make one play in this postseason, it wouldn't be Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Joe Flacco or Russell Wilson. No, sir.

"I'll tell you, right now, from what I've seen this year – just talking about this year – I'd probably take (Tony) Romo," Aikman told USA TODAY Sports after a long pause, sitting in the lobby of his hotel. "I've seen him make too many plays when he's had to make them this year and he's made them."

Why Cowboys' Bruce Carter is finally living up to his draft position | Brandon George, DMN
You learn something new every day. Turns out, the reason why Bruce Carter has been playing like a man possessed over the past few weeks is better "eye discipline."

"His whole thing is it’s never been physical attributes, it’s never been athletic ability," Cowboys linebackers coach Matt Eberflus said. "Now he’s getting his eyes in the right spot. His eye focus and his eye discipline, where to look and what to look for, and that’s why you see him playing quicker. He looks instinctive. He looks better. But it’s really eye discipline.

"The formations tell you where to look, and now he’s starting to understand, if I key this, boom, it’s I’m on the ball now. He’s worked at it. The light has turned on for him in terms of that, and he’s able to go out there and play and now you’re starting to see his given ability. Now he’s starting to make plays within the perimeter of the defense, which is really good to see, and I’m glad for him."

"When you can read your keys faster, the game slows down and it allows you to play faster," Carter adds. "So you don’t want to see a lot of things. You want to see one thing and focus on that and go. When you see a lot of things, you play slow. I’ve really been focusing on that and that just comes from watching film and his coaching, showing me what I need to be watching."

The NFL Swing Men: Eight Guys Who Could Decide the Divisional Round - Grantland
Robert Mays looks at a number of under-the-radar players who could have an outsize impact on whether their teams advance to the conference championship. For the Cowboys, Rolando McClain is the guy who might swing the NFL playoff picture this weekend.

After Sean Lee was lost for the season, it looked as if middle linebacker might be the weakest spot on a potentially awful Cowboys defense. Turns out, it might’ve been the strongest. What McClain gave Dallas this season is pretty remarkable. The Cowboys are far from a good defense, but they’ve had stretches of respectability due, in large part, to the play of McClain. Like most defenses that have evolved from Monte Kiffin’s version of the 4-3, Rod Marinelli’s is dependent on the middle linebacker doing a little bit of everything — and McClain has.

He’s been reliable in pass coverage all year, but where Dallas will need McClain — who has been cleared to play after a concussion — the most on Sunday is against the run. Even with Aaron Rodgers not at full strength, Marinelli will likely trot out two deep safeties and dare the Packers to run. That puts a lot of pressure on McClain and the Cowboys defensive tackles to hold up inside. If they can, which would allow the rest of the defense to scheme around stopping Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb, the Cowboys should have a fighting chance.

Barry Church: What Jason Garrett does that makes me want to play for him so much more | Dallas Morning News
Church told 105.3 FM that that one of the reasons the players play so hard for Garrett is his calm sideline demeanor that elimates any type of panic.

Cowboys need ‘complementary’ players to keep offense moving - Drew Davison, Star-Telegram
Davison writes that the Cowboys’ are using all their offensive threats to help keep defenses honest, and that Cowboys trust their role players like Cole Beasley, Terrance Williams, Joseph Randle, and Lance Dunbar to come through just as much as their stars.

"Teams are going to want to stop the run with DeMarco Murray, they’re going to want to stop Dez Bryant and Jason Witten," Jason Garrett said. "These guys have gotten a lot of attention throughout this season and really throughout their careers, so it’s really important for the other guys when they get opportunities to step up. We call them complementary players, but it’s not complementary when the ball’s coming to you."

"The best thing [the complementary players have] done is when they haven’t gotten opportunities, they’ve stayed ready for their opportunity," Garrett said. "And they’ve cashed in on it."

Tim Cowlishaw's prediction: Why Cowboys will beat the Packers | DMN
Cowlishaw, who boasts a very impressive 183-76-1 (.707) straight-up record this season, likes the Cowboys for the win.

On the road, this team has been good more often than lucky. A little pressure on Rodgers and a lot more of what we have seen all year from Murray and Romo on opponents’ soil should produce a major win, even on ground as hallowed as Lambeau Field.

Rick Gosselin's prediction: Why Cowboys will lose to Packers | DMN
Gosselin, who managed a less impressive 166-93-1 straight-up record this season, predicts that today's game will become a game of the quarterbacks.

Rodgers makes passes to win games, not lose them. And that’s why the Packers will prevail Sunday. They have the home field plus the best quarterback in the NFL.