The Dallas Cowboys host the Green Bay Packers in what will be a pivotal game on Sunday. Yes, it seems little early to say that, but the thermometer on just how good this Cowboys team is appears to be stuck after last week’s letdown. After winning three games everyone expected them to win, the Cowboys came up short against their first test of the season, losing 12-10 to the New Orleans Saints. Now, the team will face another test as they play a team that also started 3-0, but is coming off their first loss of the year. They also happen to be a team that has beaten the Cowboys seven of their last eight meetings. The struggle is real.
The Cowboys can get back on the right track by beating the Packers. Leaving the game with a 4-1 record and a date with the win-less New York Jets team next Sunday will make everyone’s week more enjoyable. But for that to happen, they need to get by Green Bay first, and that means they need to put together some good football. But which players are going to step up and get it done? The front page writing staff offered up their best guesses as to which player will rise to the occasion on Sunday. Check out what we got...
Michael Strawn - Robert Quinn
We’ve already seen the huge difference Robert Quinn has made in the pass rush (one sack per 40+ snaps before Quinn; one sack per <10 snaps after Quinn). I expect that to continue against a Packers offensive line that’s had some difficulties this year. Quinn will likely be lining up against David Bakhtiari, who’s nursing some injuries. Look for Quinn to provide constant pressure and be involved in a big defensive splash play (maybe a sack/strip or batted pass/interception combo).
Tom Ryle - Blake Jarwin
He is not going to take any snaps from Jason Witten, but there are yards to be had passing out of two tight end packages. We saw just how effective he can be on the longest play of the game against the Saints. Look for Kellen Moore to go back to that well a few times.
David Howman - Randall Cobb
Not only is he set up for a revenge game against his former team, but the Packers will likely be without their no. 2 cornerback Kevin King. This means Cobb will be going up against either Tramon Williams, who he knows well, or Josh Jackson, who’s played all of 29 snaps on defense this year. I see Cobb exploiting both of those matchups for a big day.
Michael Sisemore - Xavier Woods
In order to beat Aaron Rodgers, you need to force the occasional mistake. Is it too much to ask for one defensive back on the Cowboys’ roster to finally start getting a takeaway or two? Last week, Chidobe Awuzie was able to record the first interception for the Cowboys defense this season. Xavier Woods showed explosive playmaking ability in the preseason and training camp. It’s time to put that together on the field when it counts, against a Hall-of-Fame quarterback like Aaron Rodgers. These DB’s are outstanding in coverage but nobody cares if you don’t get a pick or two every once in a while. The Cowboys defense needs opportunistic playmakers, Woods is their best bet with his knack for being around the ball.
Danny Phantom - La’el Collins
The Cowboys offensive line got their butt whooped last week, and it set the tone for an abysmal offensive performance. And the odd thing was, all the usual suspects were on the field until late in the game when Tyron Smith got his ankle rolled up on. With the injury to Smith, the Cowboys will turn to backup tackle Cameron Fleming to protect Prescott’s blindside. That’s a big assignment, so look for the team to push things to the other side this week. La’el Collins is not fully healthy himself as he is dealing with back issues, but he is one tough son-of-a-gun and look for him to be up to the task. With strong edge rushers like Za’Darius and Preston Smith coming at him, Collins has to be at his best. If he can hold them at bay as well as get to the second level and deliver some punishing blocks in the running game, the Cowboys offense will get their mojo back. It all starts in the trenches, and LC is no longer the Ringo Starr of the Cowboys offensive line. He’s his own star now and he must show it on Sunday.