The potential for a Shootout on Sunday afternoon in Arlington will draw the largest television crowd on record. With both Dallas and Green Bay having the ability to score quickly and often, this one should come down to who dominates on the defensive side of the ball.
Jason Garrett’s squad will attempt to run the clock and win in the battle of the turnovers. These will be the two key elements in winning at home in this divisional playoff game.
Aaron Rodgers has seen his fair share of shootouts in his career, but none have been like the one he faces with 90,000 spectators plus inside AT&T Stadium. In the last meeting the Cowboys were able to match the scoring of Green Bay. They keeping telling us this is a different team then we faced in Lambeau earlier in the season.
Have I got news for you, doubters. This is NOT the same team that beat the Packers earlier in the season, either! Remember, we won that game on their home turf, without Dez Bryant even dressing out in uniform.
The Packers have played their collective hearts out during the final run of the regular season and last week against the New York Giants. However, here stems their issues. They are banged up and without Jordy Nelson. Their rookie middle linebacker is banged up and is going to have to take on our brutes on the offensive line at some point.
Meanwhile, back at the STAR, the Cowboys had their full roster in attendance for Wednesday’s early session. This is a young team with a lot of veterans seeing their first playoff action ever.
Expect the Cowboys to come stampeding out of the gate, right from the get go. This is playoff time and the coaches will have this team prepared to run over Green Bay and use their spurs in doing so.
This game is a Tabula Rosa (Blank slate). Nothing that happened this season, with the exception of the younger players gaining game time experience, is likely to determine the outcome of this playoff game.
What will playout in this playoff is the heart and determination of all three Cowboy groups (offense, defense and special teams). They gelled early on and they have yet to unravel some of the special trick plays Scott Linehan will have in store for Green Bay. Green Bay will give up the big plays, especially after our offensive line has worn them down a bit – have them playing on the heals.
Dez has his own issues to put behind him in this game. Expect Dez to draw double coverage. Expect Dez NOT to lose a touchdown in this one-to a bad call. Expect Dez’s presence, alone, to make this a big passing day for Dallas. Having Bryant out there will free up one of our other many weapons, and Dak knows just how to use them effectively.
Having the best offensive line in the NFL will allow Ezekiel Elliott to get to the second and third levels, often. This is where the shootout will begin. The Cowboys will come out firing both barrels and take Green Bay out of this one quickly.
Rod Marinelli has his full compliment of linemen ready for this game. Keeping fresh legs on the field while not drawing penalties for doing anything less, will certainly be a challenge against Green Bay’s hurry- up offense. However, it is a challenge Marinelli has his group ready for. They will keep Rodgers guessing and on the run.
Matt Eberflus’ defensive passing strategy will keep the Packers honest in the running game, while stopping a shootout. Expect to see a whole lot of the dime defense on Sunday. Expect Sean Lee to have a career game in his first, ever, playoff appearance.
Anthony Brown has come a tremendous distance since summer camp, but I expect it will be Byron Jones who plays the game of his life on Sunday. And, he will need to – for Dallas to hand Green Bay the beating they have prepared for them.
Takeaways and not allowing the big plays will help Dallas advance in this shootout. The Cowboys’ veterans from 2014 have an extra incentive in this one. Yet, this entire Dallas team plays as a team and will win this game – as a team.