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Divisional Predictions: Green Bay Packers at Dallas Cowboys

Shawn (11-5, 8-7-1 ATS): With the scumbag Seattle Seahawks losing in the first game on Saturday, there are only three teams left in the NFC. All three of those teams are potent on offense, and all three hope to just get enough out of their defense. That means the Green Bay Packers have about as good of a chance as anyone.

The Dallas Cowboys handled the Packers pretty easily in week 6. However, the Packers fumbled three times in that game, including on the Cowboys’ 1-yard line. Also, Jared Cook did not play, and the Packers’ passing attack was still in its 2015 malaise.

The Packers are clearly a better team now, but the Cowboys are too. For one, they have Dez Bryant back, who did not play at all in that game. Secondly, all their defensive line and their pass rushers are healthy. That includes late season call up David Irving, who has come out of nowhere to provide the one thing the Dallas defense has lacked — a pass rush specialist.

Though the Cowboys have the kind of offense to win them games, the defense has not allowed the Cowboys to get into too many shootouts this season. The closest they probably came to that was a 35-30 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers. Ben Roethlisberger put up 408 yards passing in that game. That has to give the Packers some hope, but like I said, I think the Cowboys are better on defense now.

The only games the Cowboys lost this season happened when a defense managed to stop the run and shut them down. It seems highly unlikely that the Packers’ defense can pull that off. The Packers have been mediocre against the run during the second half of the season. Their eighth place finish in that category says their run defense is not a mirage, but stopping Dallas is an entirely different animal than stopping about every other rushing offense in the league.

People have expressed their doubts about the Cowboys because they have two rookies leading them, including Dak Prescott at quarterback. However, the Dallas offensive linemen are not rookies, and if they continue to open up big holes in the run game and give Prescott plenty of time to throw the football, I don’t see either rookie struggling in this game.

The Packers’ best chance to win is to take the opening kickoff and drive down and score. If they can keep the pressure on the Dallas offense, which they are not used to, it is possible they can get that young offense to crack. Obviously, the Packers will need another big game from Aaron Rodgers to make all that happen.

Unfortunately, I do not have a lot of confidence in the Packers’ ability to control this game with their offense. Like I said, the Dallas defense is healthy and better than they are being perceived. If the Packers even start slow, they could lose the game in the first half.

The Packers typically have a bend-but-don’t-break defense. That does not match up well with a team that excels in the red zone like the Cowboys. I don’t see the Packers having enough on defense to keep the Cowboys from scoring 30 points.

Meanwhile, as great as Aaron Rodgers has been, I think losing Jordy Nelson could be just enough to slow the Packers’ offense down a little. It will only be a little, but that will be enough.

In contrast to the Packers, when I look at the Dallas Cowboys, I see an extremely healthy team with nearly every week 1 starter playing. The Packers cannot say the same.

Aaron Rodgers and the Packers’ offense give this team a puncher’s chance against anyone, but I just can’t see them pulling this off. I can see Dallas covering and covering in a big way if Rodgers struggles at all.

Cowboys 34, Packers 27

Monty (11-6, 7-8-2 ATS): We’ve been over this matchup in just about every way we possibly can. We’ve told you why the Green Bay Packers can win. We’ve told you why the Dallas Cowboys will win.

As Shawn said, the Packers have a puncher’s chance with the way Aaron Rodgers is playing. This is a different team than the one that got worked by the Cowboys during the regular season, so we’re just going to throw that game out.

The problem for me is defense. I just don’t have any confidence in the Packers’ defense.

I can see the Packers’ offense coming out with an innovative game plan that keeps the Cowboys on their heels. I can see the offense putting up points. I can see this being a competitive game.

I am also positive that the Packers’ defense won’t stop the Cowboys in any way, shape or form. And that’s the story we’ve become accustomed to in the playoffs, isn’t it?

Not only are too many of the players on that side of the ball not up to snuff, but Dom Capers isn’t fooling anyone with anything anymore. He runs the same defense he’s run since the early 1990s. There certainly aren’t going to be any surprises there at this point.

And so, I believe the Packers are doomed to once again repeat the scenario we have seen so many times since 2010 — win a playoff game, lose the next one.

US sportsbooks have the the line on this game at 5.5 after it opened at 4. I do not really love anything about that current spread. However, I do like the Cowboys to win this game.

There are plenty of reasons they are the No. 1 seed.

If you’re looking for hope, then there is one thing. Not a single upset has taken place in these playoffs yet. Thus far, the higher seed has won every game.

Odds are, that simply can’t hold.

Still, I have to take the Cowboys in this one.

Cowboys 35, Packers 28

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Shawn

Shawn Neuser attended UWGB and lives and works in Green Bay. He enjoys long walks on the beach and being intimate with game film.

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13 Comments

  1. PF4L January 15, 2017

    3 hours before kick-off….Nice work.

    I’m hoping that Rodgers prove’s my prediction wrong, because he’s the only one that could do that.

    Why Dallas should win……

    1) They have the best running back in the league that torched us before. 1600 yards, 15 td’s. Dominant
    2) They beat us already at Lambeau. Their playing at home
    3) The Packers defense is awful against any top 10 offense. Seriously awful. The Cowboys are ranked 5th.
    4) Better defense with a lower points yield than the Packers.
    5) Two of Dallas losses were by a combined 4 points, their 3rd loss against the Eagles, they didn’t care.
    6) Dez is back..how effective? TBD
    7) Dak Prescott…How can you not respect this guy? Calm and poised. A rookie playing like a 8 year veteran franchise QB. Passer rating is higher than Rodgers.
    8) Green Bay secondary. Capable of making 2nd tier QB’s and receivers look like Hall of Famers.
    9) Rod Marinelli
    10) Dom Capers

    How the Packers could win……
    1) Aaron Rodgers
    2) Receivers
    3) Flip turnover ratio to Packers favor
    4) Hope the receivers get open w/out Jordy like in the giants 2nd half.
    5) Discover run blocking skills, open lanes, control clock, move the chains, keep defense and Cowboy offense off the field.
    6 )Prayer
    7) Must play hard, for 4 quarters (semi obvious)
    8) Defense must play hard and fast, and fullfill gap responsibility’s.
    9) McCarthy….Call the right plays, and schemes. Don’t wait until half time like last week to make adjustments.
    10) Put Montgomery back at wide receiver for this game where he’s productive. but still give him a handful of run plays.
    11) Aaron Rodgers.

    Cowboys 34…Packers 28…………..if i’m wrong…cool.

    1. icebowl January 15, 2017

      “And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds…… and there was a great calm.” –

      GB-38 DAL-32 (in OT)….

      1. PF4L January 15, 2017

        I have faith, as much as i can have, mostly in Rodgers. I also have prayers. One of them being that this team doesn’t pull off another epic playoff embarrassment as they’ve done in years past.

  2. PF4L January 15, 2017

    Monty…I liked what you did there with….can/will.
    Like my…..should/could.

  3. Gort January 15, 2017

    It’s been a hell of a ride since 4 losses in a row and some idiot named Gort said they would run the table in the bad way. Really glad that Aaron Rogers and the Packers didn’t listen to me. For today: no stupid human tricks (no dropped balls especially on special teams), defense needs to “stay at home” (I mean stay in the correct location and not lose containment), use your playoff experience (been in the playoffs for weeks now, so don’t forget how you got here), and finally show America who the REAL America’s Team is.
    Green Bay by 4, 31-27 maybe?
    GO PACK GO

  4. Deepsky January 15, 2017

    The NFL is losing TV ratings. The fix is in. The Cowboys are going to the Super Bowl.

    The last time the NFL TV ratings were dropping, the NFL made lopsided trades allowing the Cowboys to obtain an additional 4 first round, 4 second round and a couple third round picks. Instant dynasty. Higher TV ratings as the bandwagon jumping Cowboy fans all come back.

    Every time the NFL TV ratings drop, the Cowboys end up in the Super Bowl.

    1. PF4L January 15, 2017

      That’s quite a story.

    2. MJ January 16, 2017

      Was that before or after SEA traded the first pick to the Browns so they could take Bo Callahan?

    1. PF4L January 15, 2017

      Assholes…That’s not spearing? His helmet is in front of his shoulders, his hands and arms are behind his shoulders. But that’s not spearing? And i have an 11 inch dick.

      The writer, from Jersey…describes it like this…..”New York Giants defensive back Leon Hall (25) breaks up a pass intended for Green Bay Packers wide receiver Jordy Nelson (87)”

      That’s breaking up a pass? He didn’t break up any pass, he went for the ribcage. Clueless fucking sheep. Learn what breaking up a pass means you stupid fuck. I swear to God i’d be in jail if i ever met these people in person.

  5. PF4L January 15, 2017

    Usually rookie, or young QB’s find success early, because they have a top defense behind them, and/or they run a fad option read. QB’s like Tebow, RG3, Kaepernick, Newton, Wilson. But when their defenses slipped, so did their success. Some of those QB’s barely keeping a job, Newton losing his man card and acting like a 6 year old. Wilson is good, but not as good without his #1 defense.

    What separates Prescott from these guys, is he doesn’t rely on his defense which is average. And although he can run a little, his success is not rooted from his running the ball or any gimmick.

    In my lifetime as a NFL fan, i’ve never seen a 1st year QB perform like i see in Prescott, win or lose today.

  6. Howard January 15, 2017

    I posted one of my predictions earlier this week.

    HOWARD
    01/12/2017 at 5:17 pm
    Several good points. Just a couple more items to consider.

    Not sure that the Cowboys left tackle Smith is 100%. Smith at less than 100% is clearly a big plus for the Packers.

    The reason I thought it was better to get Dallas after the bye is because most of their key players have not played in a meaningful game for 3 weeks. It may not help in the second half but could in the first half of the upcoming game. If the Packers jump out or the Cowboys start slow the pressure is all on the Cowboys on their home field, with rookies at key positions.

    I remember a Team that had a great season in 2011. That team blew off their final game (but won) and had a playoff bye. That team played their first game at home against the 22nd ranked defense and 29th ranked pass defense. That Giants team came off a confidence boosting win in the wildcard round.

    It does not always happen but the playoffs tend to make coaches and players more conservative and tight. I feel good that the Packers should have already endured their playoff jitters. Let’s see how the Cowboys function as a team, and individual players after not putting in a full team game for the last three weeks. All the pressure is on the Cowboys at home. GO PACK!

    1. PF4L January 15, 2017

      Yea Howard, i agree.

      I also don’t think the Packers had pressure other than their own self imposed pressure to win. After the Lions game i posted that the Packers were going into the playoffs playing with house money.