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Cowboys vs Packers: Writer predictions for Wild Card playoff game

Our writer predictions for Sunday’s game are here.

Dallas Cowboys v Green Bay Packers Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

The playoffs have officially begun, and the Cowboys take their first material step towards the ultimate goal of a Super Bowl on Sunday when they host the Packers. There are obvious narratives here concerning all the pain the green franchise has caused the blue franchise and the fact that Mike McCarthy was fired by Green Bay back in 2018.

Of course, the only thing that really matters is what happens on the field at AT&T Stadium, where the Cowboys are undefeated this year. That’s part of the reason why they’re favored by a touchdown, but is there a chance that the Packers could pull off an upset? Let’s see what our writers think will happen.

When Green Bay has the ball

Take away the middle of the field

This applies to both the pass and run game. The Packers have enjoyed success on the ground lately, after struggling much of the year, and Aaron Jones has a lot to do with it. The veteran running back has topped 110 rushing yards in his last three games after not even hitting the century mark once all year. But a majority of his runs have been coming up the middle, where the physical back was able to take advantage of off balance defenders.

What’s been better for the Packers is their passing attack, led by Jordan Love. The young quarterback started to hit his stride when throwing over the middle of the field, with nearly half of his pass attempts coming between the numbers. Not only is that Love’s preference, but he’s been somewhat erratic throwing to either side of the field, completing less than 60% of his passes on outside throws beyond the line of scrimmage. If the Cowboys can clog up the middle of the field, they stand a chance of taking away what this offense likes to do.

When Dallas has the ball

Feed CeeDee Lamb

To put it lightly, the Packers defense is bad. They’re 27th in defensive DVOA and 26th in both run defense and pass defense DVOA. But the secondary is especially susceptible in the middle of the field. They’re giving up the highest EPA/play and QBR to quarterbacks when throwing over the middle of the field. They’re also surrendering the highest EPA/play and passer rating when quarterbacks throw a slant route.

Translation: CeeDee Lamb should feast in this game. The Cowboys have enjoyed plenty of success over the middle of the field, primarily with Lamb on slant routes and Jake Ferguson on deep seam routes. The Cowboys’ biggest strength offensively also happens to be the Packers’ biggest weakness defensively, so it’s easy to understand why the Cowboys are heavy favorites in this one. Spam Lamb and it’ll open up space for everyone else.

Now onto the predictions from your BTB writers...

Tom Ryle (12-5):

Almost every number from the regular season favors the Cowboys in this matchup, and if you just want to go with the quarterback matchup, I think Dak Prescott gives them an advantage over Jordan Love.

I feel fairly comfortable about this one, with Dallas pulling away from Green Bay in the fourth quarter and getting to host a second playoff game.

Tony Catalina (13-4):

While regular season success is great, and you can’t get to this point without it - the Cowboys realize that everything they want goal-wise, starts now. There is no tomorrow unless they secure it today. With a young Packers team who doesn’t know any better coming into Dallas, it will be up to Micah and the ‘Boys to smack the youthful eagerness out of them. I expect them to do so.

It may be tight early but I anticipate the Cowboys pulling away in a 28-20 victory.

Matt Holleran (15-2):

The playoffs are here and the Cowboys come into this matchup riding high. Dallas is a much better team at home but the Packers are no joke. Green Bay won six of their final eight regular season games including wins over the playoff-bound Chiefs and Lions.

I see Green Bay being able to move the ball, especially on the ground, against Dallas’ defense, but I don’t think their offense can win a high-scoring game against Dak Prescott and company. Dak puts on a show in a game that’s close than it probably should be, but Dallas lives to fight another day.

Give me the Cowboys, 30-26.

Brandon Loree (10-4):

The Cowboys have slayed many dragons in 2023. Dating back to January, they beat Tom Brady for the first time, won their first road playoff game in 30 years, and have enshrined Jimmy Johnson into the Ring of Honor. It’s only fitting that if the Cowboys are to go on a deep playoff run, they have to get over the hump of beating the Packers in the playoffs. This shouldn’t be as easy of a match-up as people might predict.

Since Week 11, Jordan Love is second only to Dak Prescott with an 18-1 touchdown interception ratio. He’s also been the third-best PFF-graded quarterback. I expect the Packers to throw the ball, but if they are to have success, it will be by running with Aaron Jones. However, there is no way the Cowboys should lose this game, given they are the better team with more talent.

Give me Dallas winning and moving on, 33-21.

Matthew Lenix (12-5):

The Dallas Cowboys are facing a very capable quarterback in Jordan Love of the Green Bay Packers. However, if they can make him uncomfortable in the pocket and force him to throw on the move, where he struggles, it will setup the Cowboys offense with some short fields I believe. It will be competitive early, but Dak Prescott and the passing game will be too much.

Cowboys win 38-20.

Mike Poland (12-5):

When the Green Bay Packers allow two or more sacks in a game, the Packers offense scores an average of 18 points per game. The Cowboys defense is averaging 2.7 sacks per game and the lowest score against them in a loss was Miami, with 22 points.

The Cowboys offense is also scoring an average of 30 points per game. Among starting quarterbacks, Dak ranks sixth in fewest interceptions. The Packers defense ended the regular season with the second-fewest interceptions.

Cowboys win 31-18.

Brian Martin (13-4):

I fully expect the Dallas Cowboys to extend their winning streak this season at AT&T Stadium to 9-0 with a victory over the Green Bay Packers in the Wild Card round. They are currently 7.5 favorites over the Packers and rightfully so. Green Bay is playing better as of late, but in the end I think the home-field advantage for the Cowboys will be just too much for them to overcome.

Cowboys win 34-17.

RJ Ochoa (13-4):

I am equally hopeful and terrified of this game. The Cowboys have burned us just about every time in the past (relatively speaking) but have proven time after time that they are different this year. I am choosing to believe. I am choosing to love. I am choosing to trust fall into their arms, a place I believe to be a safe haven. Give me the Cowboys and let’s get to the Divisional Round and up the stress by 100 times over.

Dallas wins, 33-19.

David Howman (12-5):

I feel extremely confident about this game. I think the last time I felt this much confidence heading into a Cowboys game was Week 10, when they hosted the Giants just after losing a close one on the road to the Eagles. Dallas won that game 49-17 and, honestly, I wouldn’t be shocked if this one has a similar score.

The Packers are obviously a way better team than the Giants, but I would argue that the Cowboys are better now than when they demolished the Giants. Dak Prescott is playing at an MVP level, and this Packers defense has zero chance of stopping him. I also think this Dallas defense matches up well against the youth and inexperience of Jordan Love and the rest of the Packers offense. If the ‘Boys come into this one fired up and ready to play, I could see this becoming a blowout win.

Cowboys win 43-20.

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