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Cowboys @ Packers Expert Picks: Can The Packers Stop Ezekiel Elliott?

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When the No. 1 rushing offense meets the No. 1 rushing defense, something has to give.

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Prior to last week's game against Cincinnati, many observers wondered whether the Cowboys would be able to get their ground game going against the Bengals. After all, the Bengals entered the game as the 14th-ranked run defense, had allowed only 97.5 yards per game up to that point, and hadn't allowed a 100-yard runner in 15 straight games.

Then Ezekiel Elliott ran for 134 yards as part of a ground game that rushed for 180 yards against the Bengals, whose run defense is now ranked 20th.

As the Cowboys head to Green Bay, many observers are once again wondering whether the Cowboys will be able to get their ground game going. After all, the Packers enter the game as the No. 1 ranked run defense, having allowed just 42.8 yards per game so far this year.

At the same time, the Cowboys are the No. 1 rushing offense, averaging 155.2 yards per game.

Something has got to give.

Name
Pick Score Comment
Sam Farmer, LA Times (5-0)
Gb_medium 28-24 The rookie tandem of Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott has been phenomenal for the Cowboys. Still, hard to go against Aaron Rodgers at home, and at some point Prescott will play like a rookie.
David Steele, Sporting News (4-1)
Dal_medium 27-23 Dez Bryant’s catch-or-no-catch from two postseasons ago will get mentioned a few times, even if Bryant is not able to play. Also a topic: The Packers’ continued offensive unreliability and whether it’s an Aaron Rodgers problem, a Mike McCarthy problem, a healthy-players problem or not a problem at all. The Packers also need to keep Ezekiel Elliott under control.
Elliot Harrison, NFL.com (4-1)
Gb_medium 27-23 Dak Prescott has commandeered 16 drives of 10 plays or more, tops in the NFL, while Aaron Rodgers has been uncharacteristically off. Don't think that will happen this week. While Dallas might be tempted to run right at Green Bay's front, don't expect Chevy Cavalier-size holes for budding superstar Ezekiel Elliott -- the Packers allow just 2 yards per carry and 42.8 yards per game. Tough game to call, but I'm thinking Green Bay's offense is still too big a mismatch for Rod Marinelli's defense. We'll have to see if Eddie Lacy is a go.
Pete Prisco, CBS Sports (3-2)
Gb_medium 24-17 This is a big road test for Dak Prescott. With all the talk that he might need to stay on as the starter when Tony Romo returns, this will be telling. The Packers still haven’t looked themselves on offense, but I think they will find a way to slow Dallas here. Aaron Rodgers and the Packers take it.
Michael Smith, Pro Football Talk (3-2)
Gb_medium 34-28 Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott are playing outstanding football behind the Cowboys’ stellar offensive line. Unfortunately for the Cowboys, their defense isn’t going to keep up with Aaron Rodgers & Co.
Chris Simms, Bleacher Report (3-2)
Gb_medium 24-23 I’ve heard enough about this game acting as Dak Prescott’s first "real" NFL test.

News flash: The kid is 4-1. He doesn’t need to pass any more exams. He’s legit.

But so is the Packers run defense. There’s a reason opponents can’t pick up more than two yards per carry against them. Dom Capers’ group isn’t the Bengals; Green Bay comes at you in run-stuffing waves. Ezekiel Elliott won’t look like a future Hall of Famer on Sunday.
Greg Cote, Miami Herald (3-2)
Gb_medium 27-23 Game of the Week heft to this matchup. Rookies Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott have made Dallas an early season darling, while Aaron Rodgers is 49-12 in career at home, including a 4-0 run vs. ’Boys with nine TDs, zero picks. Gee Bees are hurting at running back and now WR Randall Cobb is iffy to play, but I like an excellent Pack run defense to limit Elliott.

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/greg-cote/article107979917.html#storylink=cpy
Peter Schrager, Foxsports (2-3)
Dal_medium 33-30 Oh, baby. Am I crazy if I’m taking the Cowboys, here? Am I off my rocker if I think Dak Prescott and Zeke Elliott could be the best rookie tandem to hit the league since Jon Ogden and Ray Lewis suited up for the ’96 Ravens? I might be all of these things, but the Cowboys are playing flawless football. The stage hasn’t been too big for Prescott yet, and even if Lambeau Field is rocking, this kid seems to rise to the occasion when the lights are the brightest. National TV audience. Thom Brennaman and Troy Aikman in the booth. Erin Andrews on the sideline. Aaron Rodgers under center for the Packers. And … I like the ‘Boys. Sorry, Tony Romo … it’s Dak’s world, and we’re all just living in it.
Mike Florio, Pro Football Talk (1-4)
Gb_medium 27-20 The good news for Dallas is that the Dak-versus-Tony debate is about to be suspended. Green Bay’ offense has plenty of lapses, but the defense is better.

71% of the experts and algorithms tallied by NFLPickwatch.com favor the Packers over the Cowboys on Sunday, which is about in line with what our 10-man panel above predicts. The Cowboys seem to do better when they are underdogs, will this be one of those games?