The Dallas Cowboys are seven-point home favorites to advance to the Divisional Round on Sunday for the second year in a row. They will need to get past a Packers team that comes to AT&T Stadium looking to end Dallas’ 16-game home win streak and take their third straight playoff game against the Cowboys. The nine-win Packers that had to win three straight in December to reach the playoffs have two key players on both sides of the ball that could be game-time decisions.
Cornerback Jaire Alexander and receiver Christian Watson are officially listed as questionable on the Packers final injury report. Watson has not played since a Week 13 win over the Chiefs, missing five games in a row. In last season’s meeting against the Cowboys, Watson scored three touchdowns on just four catches for 107 yards. Two of these scores came in the fourth quarter to turn a 28-14 Dallas lead into a tie game that Green Bay won in overtime at Lambeau Field. If Watson does play, the Cowboys secondary is hoping for a better plan against the second year receiver that had the only three-touchdown game of his career against them. DaRon Bland, Stephon Gilmore, and Jourdan Lewis have played well in single man coverage with help from safeties Donovan Wilson and Malik Hooker, with the secondary playing in sync behind a fearsome pass rush.
If Watson can’t go, the Packers will have to try and match a Cowboys offense averaging 37.4 points per game at home this season, and may be matched up against Dak Prescott and CeeDee Lamb without star cornerback Jaire Alexander as well.
#Packers WR Christian Watson, out since Dec. 3, will work out pregame to test his hamstring and determine if he can play today, source said. For the first time in a month, there is some optimism that he can go. But the workout is key.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) January 14, 2024
Star CB Jaire Alexander is viewed as 50/50.
Alexander, the 2018 first-round pick, has only started seven games this season for a Packers secondary that had the second fewest takeaways in the league, and gave up first downs through the air at the fourth highest rate. For the first time in his career, Alexander does not have an interception this season. Alexander played in the Week 18 win against the Bears where the Packers allowed a season low 117 passing yards, but in the previous week against the Vikings the Packers started Corey Ballentine and Keisean Nixon at cornerback - both in their second year with the team - along with rookie seventh-round pick Carrington Valentine.
The Packers have also leaned on inexperience at receiver without Watson, led by rookies Jayden Reed and Dontayvion Wicks against the Bears in the final week of the regular season. Wicks caught two touchdowns from Jordan Love in that win, and second-year draft pick Bo Melton tied him for the team lead in targets with seven.
As for the Cowboys final injury report coming into this game as the #2 seed in the NFC, only Cooper Rush carries a gameday designation as questionable, backing up Dak Prescott in his seventh career playoff start.