Dallas, here we come! We are officially a quarter of the way through the season and with the Packers sitting at 3-1, leading the NFC North, I still think we have yet to see what this Packers’ squad is truly capable of. The test will be on this week as they travel to take on the Dallas Cowboys, a rematch of NFC powers that took their previous game down to the final second. Green Bay held on for the win and moved onto the NFC Championship. That was last year and both teams come into this one eager to prove something. For the Packers (3-1), they want to prove last season was no fluke, that they are the better team and that even with injuries piling up, they are still one of the top teams in the NFC. For the Cowboys (2-2), with an off-season of distractions, and the looming suspension of star RB Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas is looking to avoid a sophomore slump from both of their young stars (Dak Prescott/Elliott) and are trying to get back on track after falling to the Los Angeles Rams at home last week.
In my Green Bay Packers Season Preview I predicted a 42-33 shootout in this one, that was also when Elliott was scheduled to miss this game due to his 6 game suspension, a suspension that has been dragged through court, and a suspension that Zeke has yet to serve one game. So does that change the way this game will play out? Of course it will! While Zeke hasn’t been the same player that he was last season, he is still one of the best pure runners in the NFL. He is a problem for any team lacing ’em up against the Cowboys. Couple the fact that Elliott will indeed suit up for this one, with the play of QB Dak Prescott so far this season I stand strong in my conviction that this will indeed be a shootout worthy of “America’s Game of the Week.”
For Dallas to win this one, they will need to keep Aaron Rodgers off the field as much as possible, by shortening the game with extended drives on offense. They do have the best O-line in football and as previously mentioned…they have Ezekiel Elliott. On the other side of the ball, keeping Rodgers in the pocket and not allowing him to flush the pocket and make those patented big plays downfield after escaping initial pressure. Rodgers’ career numbers against the Cowboys’ are staggering, 2,152 Yards, 13 TD’s, and just 2 Int’s. If Dallas has any chance they will have to slow Rodgers down.
For Green Bay, it goes without saying, they have had some issues on the defensive side of the ball. They are just inside the top 20 in rushing yards allowed and they will have to find a way to contain Zeke. Dak also possesses the ability to use his legs to escape pressure and he has the presence of mind to keep his eyes downfield, he also very rarely makes the “big mistake” plays. The Cowboys truly will go as far as these to take them, so the priority is to limit one if not both. The Packers also need to focus on getting out to an early lead and helping that defensive unit out by limiting the amount of time they have to play from behind, which has been an issue so far this season.
Packers Injury Updates:
Davante Adams: Adams has cleared the concussion protocol and will suit up for this one after a very scary looking hit in last Thursday’s matchup against the Chicago Bears.
Ty Montgomery: After reports of multiple broken ribs sustained in last weeks game, Montgomery is listed as Doubtful for this one. Expect to see a healthy dose of Rookie Aaron Jones who had an impressive debut in limited action.
David Bakhtiari: Typically a constant presence on the Packers’ offensive line, Bakhtiari hasn’t played a snap since the season opener (Hamstring) and is listed as questionable once again this week, although it does seem as if he will at least suit up for this one.
Bryan Bulaga: Similar to the other starting tackle, Bulaga has missed a lot of time early in the year(Ankle), only taking 47 snaps in the matchup versus the Bengals before re-aggravating the injury sustained in camp. Bulaga is also listed as questionable for this one, hopefully, for Rodgers sake, both Bulaga and Bakhtiari will go in this one.
Mike Daniels: The best defensive player on the Packers’ Daniels is listed as questionable (Hip) for the 3rd straight week, in those outings Green Bay has seen their defense fall off after a fairly impressive season debut against the Seahawks. Hopefully Daniels can suit up and give the Packers’ a better shot at slowing Zeke.
According to the most recent NFL lines via ESPN, Green Bay comes into this game as 2-point underdogs on the road. Now home-field is usually good for 1.5, so this game is essentially a pick ’em. Based on my season preview, I had the Packers projected to be sitting at 3-1 coming into this game, they are 3-1. With that being said I can’t sway my opinion, I’m on fire! So as Aaron Rodgers is coming off a 4 touchdown performance on Thursday Night Football, I look for that to continue and Rodgers and company will pile on the points in Jerry World.
My Week 5 Prediction: Packers win a shootout 37-31.
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and as always, #GoPackGo.