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Cowboys vs. Packers: It's Time For The NFL's Leading Rusher To Dominate

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DeMarco Murray was a force this season, and now it's time for him to get back to his dominant ways against the Green Bay Packers on Sunday.

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Let's begin this by saying that DeMarco Murray's year was something that Dallas Cowboys' fans will be talking about for a long time. With that said, there is no better time for Murray to get back to completely dominating than this coming Sunday. This isn't to say that Murray hasn't been solid down the home stretch of the season, but he wasn't always the same player that we saw through the early parts of the 2014 season.

The broken hand might play some role in the drop-off, although Murray still managed to rush for 100 yards and a touchdown with a 5.0 YPC average against the Washington Redskins in the season finale. It's not as though he's been bad, by any means, but going back to the win over the Philadelphia Eagles, his numbers have looked as follows:

Date Opponent Rushes Yards YPC Touchdowns
12/14/2014 Philadelphia Eagles 31 81 2.6 2
12/21/2014 Indianapolis Colts 22 58 2.6 1
12/28/2014 Washington Redskins 20 100 5 1
1/4/2015 Detroit Lions 19 75 3.9 1

The best way to sum up that stretch of games is that it didn't seem like the physical, powerful Murray that we were used to seeing. You can't fully blame the talented running back for it though, as teams were locked in on trying to slow him, and made sure to stack the box as often as possible. Now, though, comes the time when Murray will need to shine and get back to the early season stretch where he had eight straight 100-yard games, and an 11-game stretch where his YPC never fell below 4.1.

Why is it so important that Murray dominates on Sunday? Because run defense is the weakness of the Green Bay Packers. This team ranks 10th in the league in passing yards allowed per game, but 23rd in rushing yards allowed per game. It's going to be an excellent spot for the Cowboys, and for Murray, to take advantage of.

To top it off, the Packers are coming into a game against a Dallas team, who ranks second in the NFL in rushing yards per game at 147.1. Green Bay's recent opponents? Well, their last four, the Detroit Lions, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Buffalo Bills and Atlanta Falcons all rank 24th or worse in the NFL in terms of total rushing yards this season. Basically, the Packers haven't seen anything like Murray in quite a while, which means that it's time to focus on the ground-and-pound attack.

If you want to talk about the keys on offense to beating the Packers, then it will come down to controlling the clock with the run game, and opening up the passing game with Murray, Joseph Randle and Lance Dunbar. Regardless of how you look at it though, the bulk of the heavy lifting is going to be on Murray.