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Cowboys vs. Packers: Predicting Sunday afternoon’s NFC clash in Dallas

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Will Cowboys finally defeat those pesky Packers or will Aaron Rodgers keep his undefeated streak going at AT&T Stadium?

NFL: Green Bay Packers at Dallas Cowboys Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

The magnitude of this game between the Cowboys and Packers is significant in the NFC picture though it’s still only a month into the season. Both teams are coming off tough week four losses so the pressure is on to not walk away with two losses in a row. The Cowboys and games Packers almost always go right down to the wire and this contest should be another close call in this storied rivalry.

When the Packers have the ball

Limit Aaron Rodger’s Heroics

Defenses rarely have been able to just shut Aaron Rodgers completely down but you have to play smart football against this guy. Don’t allow Rodgers to get comfortable by giving him easy targets or making mistakes of your own. The Green Bay offense hasn’t been as potent as in the past and they will be without WR1 Davante Adams, but they can always count on #12 to keep them in the game. The Cowboys have to execute and finish defensively against a quarterback like Rodgers or, as Dallas has seen numerous times before, he will destroy them.

Dallas will need to put pressure on Rodgers with their front-four and should be wary of using blitzes against him. Aaron Rodgers has made a career out of beating the blitz, he’s averaging nine yards per attempt when blitzed this season (5th-best). The Cowboys defense utilizes blitzes on just 16.8% of their snaps (30th in the NFL) but have managed to time them well. Dallas’ defense has allowed just 4.3 net yards per pass play on blitzes, which is fifth-best in the NFL. If you must blitz Rodgers, use caution and you better get home or all bets are off.

When the Cowboys have the ball

Don’t be stubborn

The Cowboys offensive gameplan last week was to keep it close and grind it out against the Saints. Sean Payton completely out-coached the rookie playcaller Kellen Moore as his defensive line gave the Cowboys offensive line fits all night long. In this game, the Cowboys offense cannot just line them all up and run the ball on every first down. Sure, the Packers are 26th in run defense but any defense can stop you if they can anticipate what’s coming. The Cowboys offense works perfectly when Moore is mixing it up with the play calling.

Ezekiel Elliott will get his touches but spread the ball around on this Green Bay defense and do not limit yourself. The Packers are pretty good against the pass but these numbers could be hollow due to how poorly they have played against the run. The Cowboys will be without their All-Pro left tackle, Tyron Smith, so protecting Dak Prescott might be a bit challenging. Countering the pass rush by the Packers with roll outs and bootlegs could be beneficial to moving the chains.

Now onto the predictions from the front-page writers...

DannyPhantom

The offense left a bad taste in my mouth, and honestly - it’s going to take a big performance to get it out, so call me Mr. Skeptic this week. The defense however, doesn’t worry me in the slightest. Unfortunately, the Packers defense is pretty good too. I expect another low scoring affair with a lot of field goals and a heavy dose of the ground game. The Cowboys defense collectively will be the true heroes, but look for Dak Prescott to pull out a late game heroics get Dallas back in the win column. Cowboys win a close one, 19-16.

David Howman

The Packers are without Davante Adams and one half of their running back tandem, so Aaron Rodgers will have to carry the load. That usually means bad things for whoever he plays against. I can see this turning into a shootout, but Rodgers does his magic again and devastates the Cowboys again. GB wins 35-31

Matt Holleran

Ezekiel Elliott is going to lead Dallas in a big-time bounce-back game after a poor performance last weekend. Zeke will rush for 125 plus to go with two touchdowns, and the Dallas defense will get just enough pressure on Aaron Rodgers to keep him corralled. I think the team who has the ball last wins, and the Cowboys score a game winning touchdown with about 45 seconds left to win the game. Dallas 27 Green Bay 23

Michael Strawn

I see the Dallas Cowboys getting reoriented offensively and jumping out to an early 10-point lead on Green Bay. I can see either defense or special teams chipping in with a score. From there, the Cowboys manage to stay in control and cruise to a 27-20 win.

Tom Ryle

I believe the Cowboys are going to get their offense back on track. Michael Gallup’s return will help, and Randall Cobb has a big game against his former team. The big change will be the running game, which will get over 150 and a TD or two. Meanwhile, the pass rush will continue to feast as the DB’s will limit the depleted receiving corps of the Packers. A 31-20 score sounds about right.

Michael Sisemore

The Cowboys will plenty motivated to get back in the win column this week. Though the Packers offense will be without their top receiver, they have been much better at protection up front, which means Aaron Rodgers will make a few frustrating things happen. I see some magical moments coming from Rodgers but in the end, the Cowboys defense will hold. Cowboys win 24-21.