The Dallas Cowboys face off against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau field. This game between two of the most storied franchises in NFL history will decide who gets to play the Seattle Seahawks for the Conference Crown and a trip to the Superbowl.
The Temperatures will be 15 below freezing. The Cowboys are going against the best passer, probable MVP, in football in Aaron Rodgers. Their dynamic duo of Nelson and Cobb haven’t been contained all year. They have a solid running game in Eddie Lacy and this Clay Matthews led defense can present some troubles for an offense. Not to mention the Packers are undefeated at home this year. So!
The Cowboys believe and they know what they are up against. Besides, there are no Gifts in the NFL. This is a “Take” league. Nothing is given to you. If you want it, take it. The only question is how bad do you want it. This is playoff football; win or go home.
This team has heart and a fight in them. They are and will be up to the challenge. It is not going to be easy, but the greatest accomplishments require the greatest efforts. The Cowboys have been building for this moment. To be in the playoffs, playing with house money, against a juggernaut like Green Bay to prove what they are made of. To go to Lambeau, perhaps one of the worst places to play come playoff time and play their best football. They vowed to finish the fight, and they stand firm in their resolve.
What do the Cowboys have to do to pull out the upset? Jason Garrett speaks of staying true to yourself. Believing in yourselves, your preparation and the system. In its spirit, football is an easy sport. Run, throw, tackle, block and kick. The teams who do this well have the most success. To win, you have to be the stronger and tougher team, mental before physical. Offensive coordinator Bill Callahan said that the team that wins will have to go ” the longest, the hardest…”
Aaron Rodgers may have a Calf injury, but his best quality is still his arm. He has a quick release and is very accurate throwing the ball. That is the main reason he hasn’t been intercepted at home in his last 477 passing attempts that have totaled 38 touchdowns. To buck this trend, the Cowboys will not only have to force quick reads, but react even faster themselves in playing passing lanes and getting deflections and possible interceptions.
The receivers of these throws are usually Randall Cobb and Jordy Nelson. Both have caught over 90 passes for over 1250 yards this season. Hard enough stopping one 1000 yard receiver, but they have two. They are both explosive playmakers who brings their own flash to this offense.
Aaraon Rodgers aerial attack is a thing of beauty but they have become a little more run conscience with the emergence of Eddie Lacy. He is a tough back that fights for every yard. The physical play of this run game has only been cranked up as the season progressed. In the first 10 games, Lacy went got over 14 carries in a game once. In the last six, he was 5 out of six with his biggest workload the last game of the season to clinch a bye and the division as he rushed for 100 yards on 26 carries. Interesting to note that in this high scoring offense, he only has a score in 43% of their games but this is playoff football. This number shouldn’t be an indicator. Anything can and will happen.
This Green Bay offensive line is the unsung heroes of the offense. Rodgers release still needs time to survey and plant his feet. They feel disrespected with how much praise and honor is bestowed on the Cowboys unit and want to show that they are just as good, if not better. They will be motivated, especially trying to protect a banged up Aaron Rodgers.
As good as this offense is, and it is prolific, they could use another weapon like a Jason Witten or a Cole Beasley to compliment what they do. The Cowboys are hoping that all their array of playmakers shine this game. One matchup to watch is how the Packers defend Jason Witten and Gavin Escobar. This could be a mismatch.
The Packers rush Defense took a blow early in the season with BJ Raji suffering season ending injury. He was so important at clogging up the middle and taking up blockers. The lineman are not stellar, but they do their job. This defense is highlighted by Clay Matthews and Julius Peppers, combining for 18 sacks and 3 interceptions. Peppers also boast 11 pass deflections. When you prevent big plays and cause big plays you are a disruptive force and Green Bay will move him around to bring the most pressure on opposing Qbs.
Aaron Rodgers and the Packers are 35-5-1 in the last five seasons at Lambeau field. While they do hold a significant home field advantage, especially in cold weather, they are not unbeatable. The Cowboys can take heart that they are 1-2 in the playoffs during that span. If the Cowboys plan in winning, they will have to step up on Defense.
Fill in the gaps, make proper reads, and don’t miss tackles. The safeties will have to look to make plays, not necessarily the big hit. Play sound football and continue to force turnovers. The corners have been making plays when they need to and though banged up, the linebackers remain the heart and back bone of this defense. They are constantly fighting and setting the tone. While the pass rush is still not prevalent, they remain poised to have an impact on this game. Anthony Spencer and DeMarcus Lawrence will have to be factors in all four quarters. Do they have enough talent to get the job done? Defensive coordinator Rod Marrinelli stated that he “believes in these men. Cause of their attitude, work ethic and they’re tough.” We will see how tough.
Jason Garrett has this team ready for this game. They are “Locked in at the task at hand.” As he has preached all year, and every year he has been here, it’s a process. Taking it day by day and being great everyday. It’s all about bringing your A game. Will the Cowboys A game be good enough? Time will tell.