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Why the Packers Won’t Beat the Cowboys

We remain hopefully optimistic about the Green Bay Packers’ chances against the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday. Earlier in the week, we discussed the reasons why the Packers CAN beat the Cowboys.

Can and will are two different things. There are also plenty of reasons why the Packers WON’T beat the Cowboys.

Here they are.

They Can’t Stop the Run

This is really THE reason right here. If the Packers let this game get out of hand or even if they lose, it will likely be because they didn’t stop the run well enough. Yes, the Packers finished eighth in the league in rushing defense. It was smoke and mirrors. They built that fairly-lofty ranking by facing a bunch of slobs early in the season and by forcing opponents to rely almost exclusively on the pass late in the season, by scoring early and often. The Packers have talked about staying disciplined this week, but they’re facing the best offensive line in football and the league’s leading rusher in Ezekiel Elliott. Zeke gouged the Packers for 157 in the first meeting. If that happens again, you probably know what that means. The Cowboys control the clock and keep the ball out of Aaron Rodgers’ hands.

Rodgers Can’t Find Any Openings

The Cowboys had an interesting strategy against Aaron Rodgers the first time around. They primarily rushed only three with the objective of keeping Rodgers in the pocket. That dropped eight guys into coverage. The Packers are already without Jordy Nelson. Davante Adams and Randall Cobb will need to find ways to get open and Rodgers may need to find ways to get out of the pocket and extend plays. Or — and the chances of Mike McCarthy doing this seem slim — the Packers are actually going to have to run the football effectively early to get the Cowboys out of that look. Rodgers is a different player now than he was in the first matchup. He’s threading the needle again, but he might have smaller windows than ever this week. If the Packers can’t find a way to counter this scheme, they’re in big trouble.

A Repeat Performance

One of the oft-overlooked aspects of the Cowboys’ win against the Packers this season was turnovers. The Packers dumped the ball four times — three fumbles and a pick. Everyone likes to point to Elliott’s big day, but if the Packers hadn’t repeatedly shot themselves in the foot, that’s a different game. Yes, I am stating the obvious here, but turnovers played a huge role in the outcome of the first matchup. The Packers need to stay even or win the turnover battle in this game probably just to stay in it. If they start having acid flashbacks to the last matchup and handing the ball to Dallas again, it will turn into a blowout in rapid fashion.

No Defensive Playmakers

The Packers’ defense is about one thing — creating havoc. They’re not going to beat anyone with their sound, fundamental play. That means getting to the quarterback and creating turnovers. Shawn said it early in the week. The Packers need their defensive playmakers — Clay Matthews, Julius Peppers, Mike Daniels, Nick Perry — to come up with at least a big play a piece. The thing is, all of these guys have been invisible at one time or another this season. If too many of them are invisible in Dallas, it will be the same old story for the Packers — defense isn’t good enough for the team to win in the playoffs.

Speaking of the Same Old Story

Of course this means nothing in the context of this game, but we’ve all grown accustomed to this very scenario. The Packers win a playoff game and then lose their next one. Since the 2010 season, it’s happened three times. Last year, the Packers beat Washington and then lost to Arizona. The year before, they beat Dallas and lost to Seattle. Following the 2012 season, they beat Minnesota and lost to San Francisco. The other two seasons, they lost their first playoff game. If it holds true, this would be the fourth time in six seasons the Packers have gone 1-1 in the playoffs. What’s the common denominator since 2010? Primarily, good offense, bad defense. The 2010 team had the league’s fifth-ranked defense. With the possible exception of 2015, the Packers’ offense has always been superior to the defense by a wide margin. This year is no different.

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Monty McMahon

Monty McMahon is one of the founders of Total Packers. He is probably the most famous graduate of UW-Oshkosh next to Jim Gantner.

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16 Comments

  1. Tucson Packer January 14, 2017

    All we have to do is make the Cowboys one dimensional. Ether just leave them with a run game or a pass game and then concentrate on that. Yes, planning and executing are two different things but this article makes it sound like we already lost.

    Then again, guess that was the point of said article

    1. PF4L January 14, 2017

      But some of the other articles sound like we already won.

      Now it’s balanced

      1. Kozak January 15, 2017

        And now we won.

  2. Sanguine Camper January 14, 2017

    Can’t argue with all of those points. Packers defense will get manhandled at the line if scrimmage. Unless Rodgers is perfect we are looking at a lopsided ugly playoff debacle.

    1. icebowl January 14, 2017

      I see this team needing to play a full 60 minutes of offense (and defense)….

      They can ill afford to coast for the first 24 minutes as they did last week… Dallas won’t be as “generous” as NYG – their coaching staff is much better and they are, save Dez, free of the egomanicism (?) surrounding GI ants…..

      By the same token, if provided with an early lead they can’t fall into the Green&Gold trap – i.e taking their foot off the pedal and letting Dallas back in – these guys can be explosive as Packers on offense…

      This game certainly has all the makings of a shootout- one in which the team who has the ball last will drive to win…. we could use a good game after last week’s lopsided yawners.

  3. Howard January 14, 2017

    Always with the negative waves Moriarty, ALWAYS with the negative waves!
    Oh, man. Don’t hit me with those negative waves so early in the morning.

    One item missed that will be big is converting red zone trips into touchdowns. The Cowboys have been one of the top teams in doing so. The Packer D needs to try to limit the Cowboys to field goals.

    To send out some positive waves the Packer offense while not good at converting red zone trips to TDs early in the season have been excellent in the last few weeks. Limit red zone TDs to the Cowboys and convert Packer red zone trips to TDs. That puts pressure on the Cowboys. GO PACK!

  4. MJ January 14, 2017

    And let’s not forget… We can stop Elliott because the Packers are ranked no. 1 in pad level.

  5. Deepsky January 14, 2017

    The loss of Nelson puts the Packers right where they were when Rodgers went into a slump. Rodgers confidence and accuracy returned when Nelson returned to form. Without Nelson, the Cowboys will play contain , bring up a safety, taking away the throwing and running lanes. Look for Rodgers to hold onto the ball too long all game. This was a huge break for the Cowboys.

    1. icebowl January 14, 2017

      Kinda see your point Deep….
      Though #12 didn’t seem to lack much confidence last week AFTER Nelson went down…

  6. PF4L January 14, 2017

    Both sides of the story!….NICE!!!!

    Now we have a discussion.

    1. PF4L January 14, 2017

      Ok, now that i read the post, most people are still stating why, or how the Packers could/should win.

      But that’s ok, Monty made some very valid points, some i’ve touched on already.

      I’m gonna use my next post as my prediction post, because, lets be real, the prediction post usually comes out about 3 minutes before the kickoff.

      1. PF4L January 14, 2017

        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.

  7. Empacador January 14, 2017

    Relax. Some artificial intelligence thingy predicted Packers win the Super Bowl. We can all rest easy now. It’s a done deal. All this stress for nothing.

    http://www.espn.com/chalk/story/_/id/18467425/nfl-ai-platform-predicted-kentucky-derby-superfecta-chicago-cubs-title-likes-green-bay-packers-win-super-bowl-51

  8. Gort January 14, 2017

    For Howard: Woof woof woof

    A couple other things that could go wrong are related to playing smart football.
    1 – Penalties, especially pre-snap on both sides of the ball and in the return game on special teams. The pre-snap penalties can kill our drive or sustain a Cowboys drive. Seattle had a bad one (bad for them) during a punt return and it ultimately led to an Atlanta safety a couple plays later.
    2 – Stupid stuff. An example from the Atlanta / Seattle game was on a punt where the Atlanta returner didn’t call for and then make a fair catch. Seattle downed the ball inside the 1. Atlanta put together a 99 yard touchdown drive, so it didn’t hurt them. Don’t know if the Packers could do that.

  9. Gort January 14, 2017

    Another thing is luck. The “elliptical orb” bounces funny and can easily be batted around on a tipped ball, like the pick that Russell Wilson just threw.

    1. icebowl January 14, 2017

      Actually a football is termed a prolate spheroid…..
      But point taken even if call it “bubba”….