One of the stories of the Green Bay Packers’ first matchup with the Dallas Cowboys this season was Dallas running back Ezekiel Elliott vs. the Packers’ then No. 1-ranked rushing defense.
Elliott won that matchup, running for 157 yards and exposing the Packers’ rushing defense as not nearly as good as their lofty ranking, which was built primarily on facing backups.
Elliott will again play a huge role in the rematch this Sunday and slowing him will be key for the Packers’ chances.
Of course, they’re saying they’ll do better this time around.
Clay Matthews suggested too many guys were playing undisciplined during the first game.
“I’m not saying we have to do anything special, but we need to do our job. If you look at the runs he hit on us the first time, it was guys just doing too much or kind of playing outside the scheme,” Matthews said.
“That’s what we’re focusing on this week, is being accountable and doing our job and being where we need to be.”
Defensive lineman Letroy Guion seemed less than concerned about Elliott.
“Makes me sleep better at night,” he said, “when we go back and watch that game and see the things that we need to do better, and know that we can correct it. It’s not something that’s not correctable.”
Zeke was held to less than 80 yards rushing only once in 2016, way back in week 1, when the Giants held him to 51. He was held to less than 90 yards just four times in 2016. He went for more than 100 yards in seven games.
So what’s a win for the Packers on Sunday?
Limit big runs, No. 1.
What will ultimately be telling is if Zeke is able to pile up carries. If he does, that means the Cowboys are controlling the clock and keeping the Packers’ offense off the field.
That scenario likely results in a loss for Green Bay.