‚ÄčNFL: Dallas Cowboys at Green Bay Packers

NFC Game Of The Week

Green Bay Packers at Dallas Cowboys

Packers: Can we cool it with the Super Bowl contender talks down for a quick second? I’m not being a hater, but this team still has a lot of work to do if they even want to make a deep run come playoff time. The first three weeks of the season, the roles were reversed. For so long, it’s been the offense carrying the bulk of the responsibilities for the team and the defense struggled significantly. With a new head coach and new offensive system in place, the offense just had to hold onto the football until they got more comfortable within the system and the defense was stepping up. I was impressed in the first three games because they were basically closing games out and not depending on Aaron Rodgers to bail them out. Then came week four. I’ll be harsh here if I need too, but the Packers were soft on defense in that game against the Eagles. Philly ran the ball consistently on the left side and the Packers couldn’t do a thing to stop it. Prior to that game, I was asked would we see a vintage performance from Aaron Rodgers. We got it and he showed he’s still one of the best in the league. How about Davante Adams? Right now, I think he’s the third best wide receiver in the league behind Hopkins and Julio Jones. I remember when he was the second option behind Jordy Nelson for years and now, he’s the top guy. I also think Aaron and Davante are one of the best quarterback/receiver tandems in the league as well. They’ve had more than enough time to view the film on what went wrong. On Sunday, they’ll face a team they’ve become all too familiar with over the years.

Cowboys: Things didn’t go as planned for them on Sunday night. Prior to that game against the Saints, I said that two things would decide the outcome of the football game and that was which team would stop the opposition’s running game and who would win the war of the trenches? Both went in the favor of New Orleans and the Cowboys offense had their looks to push the football down the field and converted on a few plays, but they couldn’t jump ahead like they wanted too. In the first three games of the season, I saw a loose Dak Prescott, a guy who had all the confidence in the world and let the football fly all over the field. In week four, I saw the opposite of what I just described. He was off his game and it showed. The running game was also nowhere to be found as I mentioned a few sentences ago rushing for just 45 yards and averaging 2.3 yards per carry. At 3-1, the Cowboys still sit atop the division and I think they’re still the favorites to take the NFC East even with the Eagles winning a huge game in Green Bay last week and the Giants are undefeated since they decided to make the switch to Daniel Jones. After watching their game on Sunday night, one thing I took away from it was their defense is one of the three best units in the league. They’re a gritty bunch with a physical demeanor, they play well as a team, stunt on the defensive line to come in and disrupt the quarterbacks pocket, they have the best tandem of linebackers in the league right now in Leighton Vander Esch and Jaylon Smith and the secondary can do many things from playing in that zone scheme to man coverage. They had one tough test in New Orleans the week before and this week will be another with Aaron Rodgers leading his Packers into town.

Packers Player to Watch: Aaron Jones– For years, the Packers have looked for an answer to help their running game. He’s part of the two-headed monster they have in the backfield. He reminds me of a more elusive Maurice Jones-Drew when he’s in the open field. He runs inside, bounces outside and can catch the check down pass in the flat.

Cowboys Player to Watch: Cameron Fleming– The Cowboys will be without their best offensive lineman in Tyron Smith for a few weeks potentially because of a high-ankle sprain. I remember when Smith missed time once before, they were a completely different group without him. Cameron now comes in and must defend Za’Darius Smith or Preston Smith. Talk about coming into a challenging battle.

Final Analysis: These two have met in some very memorable games from the epic ice bowl of course to the catch back when Tony Romo was still quarterbacking the Cowboys. He made that pass late in the game to Dez Bryant and the call was overturned. Then, we have the classic playoff showdown just two years ago when Aaron needed to convert a 3rd and 20 and flings the ball down the field for 36 to Jared Cook. I’m expecting another classic here again. If you’re the Cowboys, run the football and run it some more. You must redeem yourself after that poor performance last week. I’d attack the Packers left side of the defense like the Eagles did in week four. They couldn’t stop it. The Packers will be without Davante Adams who’s out with a toe injury. He’s become the Packers number one offensive threat and Rodgers’ top target. This is where I need to see Marquez Valdes-Scantling step up and be that first option with Adams out.

Prediction: Packers 24 Cowboys 21

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