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Cowboys News: Why Game Against Packers May Be Determined By Cowboys Defense

Latest Cowboys headlines: Cowboys have quitely become a formidable scoring defense; how to defend Aaron Rodgers; Pass rushers raring to go.

NFL: Detroit Lions at Dallas Cowboys Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Cowboys have chance to reach first Super Bowl since 1996 because of this key defensive stat - Rick Gosselin, SportsDay

The Cowboys have the fith-ranked scoring defense, the Packers are ranked just 21st. Gosselin thinks this could be the key to Sunday's game.

The number of Pro Bowlers doesn't matter. Neither does the number of sacks, takeaways or passing yards. Only one number matters to this defense.

"I look at scoring defense," Cowboys safety Barry Church said. "How many points did we give up? What I try to make sure is what we give up [each week] is pretty low. If we stay where we're at now [19 points per game], we have a pretty good shot."

Indeed. The most important statistic in the history of Super Bowls is scoring defense. It's not how many points you can score. It's how few you allow.

The Cowboys have held eight of their 16 opponents this season under 20 points. Only Pittsburgh managed to score 30 against the Cowboys, and the Steelers lost that day 35-30.

"We seem to have a knack for game-changing, momentum-changing plays," Church said. "We might bend a little bit, but in important situations -- closer to the red zone or when their offense is driving -- we seem to do a great job of coming up with a play. We pride ourselves on taking the ball away and giving it back to our offense."

Cowboys DE DeMarcus Lawrence is raring to go vs. Green Bay, ready for 'once-in-a-lifetime' moment - Brandon George, Dallas Morning News

DeMarcus Lawrence had his coming out party against the Packers the last time the two teams met in the play-offs, but it has been an up and down experience since that moment for the Dallas rushman. Now he is facing a second opportunity to make a name for himself on the national stage.

"It's time to go out here and beat the Packers and that's all I'm focused on," Lawrence said. "I ain't worrying about my back. My back is good. That's it.

"I'm not going to say I'm all the way 100 [percent]. It's a lot of things I need to clean up and I'm working on it. The main thing is just doing my job to the best of my ability and knowing that I'm better than the guy in front of me, that I'm whooping his [expletive] each and every play."

Can we add an exclamation point to that?

"Yep," Lawrence said. "Three of them!"

Here's how the Cowboys are planning on defending Aaron Rodgers - Ben Baby, Dallas Morning News

The Packers quarterback has been on fire over the closing weeks of the season, and when Rodgers is in a rhythm the cheeseheads are pretty tough to beat. There are so many different ways that the Green Bay passer can take advantage of opposing defenses that he is tough to scheme against but the Dallas Cowboys know what they will have to do on Sunday.

Cowboys cornerback Byron Jones said the defense's best chance is for Rodgers to stay in the pocket instead of extending plays. With this quarterback, Jones said, a defensive back has to forget about defending receivers for three to four seconds.

"You may have to guard for eight to 10 seconds," Jones said. "That's what we're prepared to do and that's what we did last game. Just carry over what we did last game to this game and we'll be OK."

Dallas also has another ace in the hole that they are banking on to help them shut down the Packers QB:

VIDEO: Romo Playing Role of Rodgers in Cowboys Practice - Pat Doney, NBC5 Sports

Tony Romo is playing the role of Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers this week to prepare the Cowboys defense ahead of Sunday's playoff game.

Marinelli deserves award for the performance of his Cowboys defense - Gil Lebreton, The Star Telegram

Lebreton with praise for a defense has that has beend flying under the radar for most of the season.

Lost in the neon of Prescott’s and Elliott’s arrivals, however, has been a defense that allowed 20 or fewer points in 10 of 16 games this season. A defense, unlike the Cowboys’ offense, that lists only two first-round draft picks (Morris Claiborne, Byron Jones) on its depth chart. A defense with 11 players who were either undrafted free agents or selected in the sixth or seventh round of the NFL draft.

That’s what Marinelli was handed, and yet here he is, still finding ways to get his defense off the field in the middle of January.

Dez Bryant declines to revisit playoff past vs. Packers - Schuyler Dixon, Boston Globe

Almost two full years have gone by and we are still talking about the catch/no catch decision that brought to a close the last playoff contest between the Green Bay Packers and the Dallas Cowboys. With the two squads meeting in the divisional round this weekend, the story is once again in the public eye.

Dez Bryant is leaving the play where it needs to be.

‘Even if we were to win four or five Super Bowls, people still going to be like, ‘He still caught it,’’’ Bryant said Thursday. ‘‘That’s what it’s going to be.’’

‘I don’t even care,’’ Bryant said. ‘‘That was 2014. There’s no extra motivation, there’s no nothing. If there’s any motivation it’s just to prepare better than the last time.’’

From 4-12 to Super Bowl contenders: The 10 moves that revived the Dallas Cowboys in 2016 - Jon Machota, Dallas Morning News

Several of the moves that Mr. Machota cites were open to debate at the time, but each has been an important factor in getting the Cowboys back among the NFL’s elite. Here's one:

A year ago it seemed there was almost no hope the Cowboys could win consistently without Tony Romo. When the team's veteran leader went down in the third preseason game, many thought another disappointing season was in the cards. But the Cowboys have found a way to somehow not only replace Romo but go from 4-12 to 13-3.

How Stephen Jones has helped Jerry and the Cowboys take flight - Austin Murphy, Fox Sports

BTB-readers will not find this the least bit surprising, we have been discussing the influence of Cowboys executive VP Stephen Jones on his father for quite a while now, but the national media is beginning to catch on to the fact that SJ is more than just the son of the owner. He is becoming one of the top front office guys in the league.

It is nice to see that he is getting a little well earned respect for a job well done.

Jerry may be able to see around corners, but for the longest time he struggled mightily to draft corners — or players at almost every other position, really. No more. Whatever process the club has settled on, it’s working. And by all accounts, Stephen has played a key role in that success. Yes, he’s a sound personnel man who devours video and brandishes strong opinions on potential signees. But he’s also a buffer and shuttle diplomat among scouts, coaches and personnel men, and their boss, his father, with whom he’s unafraid to butt heads.

“He knows how to handle his dad,” says Will McClay, Dallas’ assistant director of player personnel. “Even when they disagree, there’s always that respect, that reverence.”

Green Bay, Dallas mayors place tasty bets on outcome of Sunday’s game - Ted Miller, WBAY TV

Who says that Packer fans don’t have good taste? At least the mayor of Green Bay does. He is trying to wrangle some tasty Texas BBQ out of the Dallas mayor if the Cowboys lose this weekend.

Local delicacies are on the line again when the Green Bay Packers take on the Dallas Cowboys in this weekend’s playoff game.

Green Bay Mayor Jim Schmitt and Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings worked out a friendly, tasty wager of brats versus barbecue.

You can’t blame a mayor for trying, but the truth is that Dallas mayor Mike Rawlings has already made plans to enjoy brats sent by Green Bay mayor Jim Schmidt while the Cowboys host the NFL Championship game.

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