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Cowboys News: Doesn’t matter where Packers struggle, Aaron Rodgers is the difference maker

Cowboys get another tough road test with Aaron Rodgers and the Packers coming to town.

NFL: NFC Divisional-Green Bay Packers at Dallas Cowboys Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Writer's Blocks: On Perspective, Dak's Accuracy & Early Season Struggles - David Helman, Dallas Cowboys
I wrote about the importance of perspective back during Week 1, and you’ll have to forgive me if I harp on it again just one month later.

“It’s early October, and your Dallas Cowboys suddenly have the same number of losses they had on New Year’s Eve, 2016. The offensive line is a mess, the running back has lost a step, the quarterback can’t hit any throws, the receivers can’t get open, the linebackers can’t cover anyone and the safeties might as well not even be there.

Did I cover just about everything? Ok, good.”

Tyron Smith is dealing with back tightness, could miss Sunday’s game against the Packers - RJ Ochoa, Blogging The Boys
The Cowboys could be without Tyron Smith when they host the Green Bay Packers this Sunday.

While Smith’s back issues feel like a problem that have caused an inordinate amount of distress, the reality is they haven’t caused him to miss as many games as you think. Tyron has only missed time in two seasons of his career, a game way back in 2012 and three games last season.

Last season it was Chaz Green who filled in during Tyron’s absence. He played well enough to not disrupt the ride the Cowboys were on, but he’s kicked inside to left guard this season. Who would get the start then? Byron Bell.

Cowboys hope last year's run-game success vs. Packers is omen this year - Todd Archer, ESPN
The Cowboys' ground game, yet to find a groove in 2017, is hoping the Packers' defense, which it ran roughshod over twice last year, is the cure.

“We’re taking a little bit longer to progress this year,” Elliott said. “I really don’t think it’s a bad thing. You ought to be hitting your stride mid to late season than peaking early. As long as you hit your peak, it really doesn’t matter how long it takes you. We could lose six games in this league and still go to the playoffs and as long as you’re hitting your stride at the right time then you’re good. There’s no panic in this locker room at all.”

Worried about the Cowboys' start to the season? Aaron Rodgers has a message for you - Jon Machota, SportsDay
The Cowboys were 3-1 at this time last year. They blew a great opportunity against the Los Angeles Rams last Sunday to have the same record right now, setting off panic meters outside the star.

"In this league the difference between winning and losing is so thin, a few plays here and there that go your way, a few plays you make that are the difference in winning and losing those games, and changing momentum in that game and really in your season like we saw last year with us.

"I wouldn't say that Dak has been struggling at all. I don't really know him that well but I believe that he's a guy who's got his head on really solid and seems to have a great mentality, great way about him, and I'm sure that he's going to get things going in whatever direction the offense needs it to go."

Dallas Cowboys: Ezekiel Elliott says running game still has long ways to go - Drew Davison, Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott is on pace for 1,108 yards. That’s a significant decrease from his 1,631 from last year.

“We’ve been making strides, but we still have a long ways to go,” Elliott said. “We haven’t played up to our capability just everywhere. Just a work-in-progress. We’ve got to keep working. We’ve got to keep grinding.”

Why Marinelli’s Objective vs. Aaron Rodgers Is “Easier Said Than Done” - Rob Phillips, Dallas Cowboys
Marinelli used to game plan for Rodgers twice a year in the NFC North as the Lions’ head coach (2008) and later as a Bears defensive assistant (2010-12). This Sunday marks the fifth time in the last four years his Cowboys defense matches up with Green Bay’s prolific offense.

Now in his 10th season as a starter, the book on Rodgers is simple: He doesn’t have any weaknesses. He pairs elite arm strength with elite accuracy, and he’s far more difficult to defend when he’s on the move buying time for receivers to get open.

Through four games, Rodgers is tied for seventh in the NFL with a 100.7 passer rating. He's completing 66.9 percent of his passes with 10 touchdowns to 3 interceptions. And he's the Packers' second-leading rusher, gaining 51 yards on 14 scrambles.

How NFL offenses rate after the first quarter of the 2017 season - Michael Strawn, Blogging The Boys
A look at NFL team numbers on offense at the quarter mark of the season.

Speaking of the Cowboys, we see the noteworthy drop in results from 2016 to 2017. Dallas ranked either 4th or 5th in every one of these categories last year but rank no higher than 7th in any one category this year. The good news is even with all the struggles that have been outlined ad nauseum the team is still piling up above average yards and points. The Cowboys have scored at least 17 points every game and have topped 28 points each of the last two weeks. Points per drive is, in my opinion, the best indicator of an offensive unit’s efficiency, and that’s where Dallas ranks highest (7th). The offense isn’t far from again ranking among the league’s elite.

Cowboys not seeking revenge but hope to stop cursing the Packers - Todd Archer, ESPN
Twice in three years they've suffered a demoralizing playoff defeat against the Packers. This is just Week 5, but the Cowboys want to hurry and forget.

“There’s motivating factors for everybody and definitely for me just because that was the second time I’ve lost to Green Bay and knocked us out of the playoffs,” said Tyrone Crawford, who is one of 18 players to have been in the 2014 playoff loss and the 2016 playoff loss. “It’s just something that it’s definitely something, I mean, it’s not a revenge thing it’s just something that is in the back of your mind and I guess that might be useful when it’s game time.”

Packers CB Kevin King: If I get matched on Cowboys WR Dez Bryant, I'll say 'thanks again' | SportsDay
Now, Green Bay Packers cornerback Kevin King is eyeing Bryant. The rookie out of Washington hopes he gets the assignment Sunday. What would he say if he does?

King said he expects a physical matchup if he's on Bryant, but he's already seen star receivers in Julio Jones (Atlanta) and A.J. Green (Bengals) this year. Jones had five catches for 108 yards on nine targets, while Green had 10 catches on 13 targets for 111 yards and a touchdown in a 27-24 overtime loss to Green Bay.

Packers Aaron Rodgers is playmaker - Drew Davison, Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Aaron Rodgers has a knack of making good plays out of bad plays.

“He’s just exceptional,” Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said. “He’s exceptional in every way. Obviously, really smart, really experienced. I think he has rare athletic ability, both his feet and his arm talent are off the charts. He has a great feel for the game and is an incredible competitor. He always plays with great poise and composure. He makes everyone around him better. He’s just a great, great football player.”

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