This week, the Dallas Cowboys face a dysfunctional Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. Right now the Packers are definitely struggling, and their loss in their last game to the Detroit Lions was reminiscent of the loss to the New York Giants in London.
The Cowboys have rested, got themselves a little more healthy being on the bye, and since the 1990 season, the Cowboys have a winning record of 23-10 in games after their bye. To add to that, the Cowboys have faced the Packers in the past after their bye week, and in that game the Cowboys won 36-14 in Texas Stadium.
The Cowboys are hot after a huge game against the Bears. In contrast, the Packers just lost to the Lions, giving Detroit their second win this year. The Lions got three interceptions on a defense that only had two interceptions before Week 9.
So how does each offensive position on both teams fare in a head-to-head battle?
Dak Prescott vs Aaron Rodgers
In the preseason, this head-to-head seemed pretty obvious. Rodgers has had a big career, plenty of history winning games, pulling wins out on final drives, playoffs wins, Super Bowls, even past matchups against Dallas has seen Rodgers get big victories. In fact, in the last ten meetings between Dallas and Aaron Rodgers, the Cowboys have only won twice. But you cannot look at Rodgers playing right now and not see there is something obviously wrong and intently grim to his game. Last week, Rodgers threw two interceptions on the goal line, he made wild overthrows he normally drops in with ease, and making all that worse, his whole attitude both on and off the field shows a disconnection with his team. Do we see Rodgers after a bad play get with his teammates and rouse them, being the leader they need? No. He’s slamming the phone on the sideline, and going on podcasts to tell the world he thinks his players should be getting less reps, and less play time. There is mass dissension with Rodgers, and he’s in a huge low point in his career, with many Packers fans calling for his head.
Meanwhile, in Dallas, we have Prescott returning full time from his thumb injury, and having a huge game against the Bears. In Week 8, Dak threw for a 78% completion rate, two passing touchdowns, one rushing touchdown, all the while showing amazing poise and leadership on the field. The play-calling worked perfectly for Dak, and all this, tied with a week’s rest, will give the Cowboys signal-caller all the confidence facing a normally harsh Lambeau crowd.
Elliott/Pollard vs Jones/Dillon
Both running backs in Green Bay are really good, let’s put that out there first. The trouble is the offense has to move away from the ground game when the team gets behind, rendering them useless. Aaron Jones, when healthy, is maybe one the best running backs in the league. His average yards per carry is elite when given the chance, and even with three games averaging less than three yards per carry, his season average carry this year is still 5.6 yards per carry. His 600 yards rushing ranks 10th in the league, he has zero fumbles, and has got 32 first-downs this year which is 10th best. You would think the plan would be obvious, just keep giving him the ball. The trouble is, the Packers get behind and have to move away from the run, and when they’re ahead they feed him like no one’s business. The games the Packers win see Jones with big yards, amazing yards per carry averages and control over the ball. A.J. Dillon is a good, reliable complement, and can break a big run when given chance, which he may get more of this week if Jones doesn’t play after exiting the game last week.
The big news coming out from Dallas is Zeke has been resting this week, but his ability to play is still in the balance. This should be a good game for Zeke to get back into a groove should he be healthy enough to play. The Packers don’t get huge pressure on quarterbacks, they allow the sixth most rushing yards allowed, seventh most first downs allowed on the ground, and allow an average of one rushing touchdown per game. But let’s not forget how effective Pollard was in the Bears game in the absence of Zeke. The best way to look at the running backs at Dallas is to see both Zeke and Pollard as one running back. And Kellen Moore, in fairness, made some interesting and good play calls in understanding the way to attack the ground with Pollard and Dak.
Win: Cowboys (unless Packers get a lead)
Lamb/Gallup/Brown vs Lazard/Doubs/Watkins
CeeDee Lamb had himself quite a week against Chicago. There are complaints that he hasn’t had a 100-yard game, but maybe that’s going to be the Lamb way. We will see the catches, the yards after catch, and the touchdowns, but he’s not going to be a huge yardage guy due to the way the Cowboys offense operates. And as long as he’s part of it, complementing what the offense is trying to do and scoring, then that should be enough to tick the box. Michael Gallup bounced back from a silent game the week before, and Noah Brown hopes to get healthy. All this points to Dak becoming more comfortable with his receivers, and gaining a level of chemistry again with them.
The Packers number one receiver, Allen Lazard, now has 14 receptions in his last three games, his best game this season you could argue was in the loss to the Lions. But for Lazard, rookie Romeo Doubs (who was seen in crutches after the Lions game and is likely out) and Sammy Watkins, they all lack a cohesion with Rodgers in being where they’re expected to be. Whether it’s the receivers lack of understanding, or Rodgers not communicating effectively to them, it doesn’t look right. Keep an eye on the practice report this week, if Doubs is out then the next rookie, Christian Watson will take first team reps, but that’s only if Watson is cleared to play from concussion protocol.
Dalton Schultz vs Robert Tonyan
Hands up for those who loved the Jake Ferguson touchdown celebration? A lot of fun, and very Cowboys coordinated. In terms of Dalton Schultz, his uptick was immediate when Dak came back. In the games with Cooper Rush at quarterback, Schultz had two receptions. With Dak back behind the wheel, Schultz has 11 receptions, on 11 targets, and 123 yards. The emergence of the two rookie tight ends, and the way they are being utilized, will take some production away from Schultz. But the options with the starting tight end, and that the play call can be less predictable with Schultz in the lineup, will continue to see him taking the majority of snaps at tight end this year.
Robert Tonyan over at Green Bay is maybe one bright spot on the offense in terms of consistency. Tonyan gets around 30-40 yards a game, sprinkle in a game of 90 yards. We can’t call him elite, more of a fringe top ten tight end. He isn’t asked to pass block much, but that’s more down to trying to give Rodgers extra passing options on every play.
The Packers offensive line isn’t all that bad. It has given up a few sacks, mostly with Rodgers trying to extended his time to throw, but overall they are quietly efficient. David Bakhtiari and Jon Runyan are the Packers best offensive linemen, but a good place to attack this line is against Elgton Jenkins who allows the most sacks and pressures. Overall though, the Packers line is sufficient at run blocking, almost in the realm of the Cowboys offensive line.
As for the Cowboys offensive line, they have the second fewest sacks allowed, and the 13th fewest pressures allowed. But in their last game, the offensive line allowed zero sacks, had zero penalties called against them, and only allowed four pressures. A line on a roll!
Which team has the better offense?
This poll is closed
Green Bay Packer