The Dallas Cowboys dominated Green Bay in mid-October a year ago, but the Packers avenged that loss with much higher stakes three months later in the playoffs. The Cowboys will be out to avenge that loss — their second postseason defeat in three years to Green Bay — when the clubs square off on Sunday afternoon in Arlington, Texas.
“It’s definitely in our heads,” Dallas quarterback Dak Prescott said of the last-second defeat in January. “They knocked us out of the playoffs last year, so I ... wouldn’t necessarily say for revenge, but to go get a win, to go show them what we’re capable of doing. We’re excited for it. It’s a good matchup.” The Cowboys have a more recent memory to purge after blowing an 11-point lead in 35-30 home loss to the Los Angeles Rams last weekend to fall to 2-2 on the season. That’s the only history that concerns Green Bay coach Mike McCarthy, who is dealing with key injuries at running back and wide receiver. “We understand that they lost a tough game Sunday there against the Rams,” said McCarthy. “This is an important game, two high-quality football teams getting together to play.”
TV: 4:25 p.m. ET, FOX. LINE: Cowboys -2. O/U: 52
ABOUT THE PACKERS (3-1): Green Bay has had 10 days to recover following a 35-14 blowout win over Chicago, a game in which it lost running backs Ty Montgomery (broken ribs) and Jamaal Williams (knee) along with wideout Davante Adams (concussion) to injuries. Montgomery practiced with chest protection while Adams is in the league’s concussion protocol, but Aaron Rodgers overcame their absences by throwing for four touchdowns as the Packers improved to 3-0 at home. Despite a quadriceps injury that knocked him out of a Week 2 loss at Atlanta, wideout Jordy Nelson has five touchdowns and 17 receptions in his three other games. Green Bay ranks fifth in the league against the pass at 188.5 yards per game.
ABOUT THE COWBOYS (2-2): Running back Ezekiel Elliott led the NFL with 1,631 yards rushing in 2016, helping Dallas rank No. 2 in the league (149.8), but the ground game’s output has dipped to 114.3 despite Elliott receiving at least 20 carries in three of the four games. Prescott has thrown eight touchdown passes, including three in last week’s loss, but his three interceptions are one shy of his total from his stellar rookie campaign. Star wideout Dez Bryant is off to a slow start with a pair of two-catch games, although he had five receptions for a season-high 98 yards against the Rams. Dallas ranks 20th against the pass (231.8 yards) but defensive end Demarcus Lawrence has been a force with a league-best 7.5 sacks.
1. Elliott gashed Green Bay’s defense for 282 rushing yards in the two meetings last season.
2. Rodgers has thrown for at least 300 yards in five of his last six games away from home.
3. Lawrence had at least one sack in each of the first four games and was named Defensive Player of the Month in September.
PREDICTION: Cowboys 26, Packers 23