The Green Bay Packers, coming off of a 35-14 victory last Thursday against the Chicago Bears, will take on Dak Prescott and the 2-2 Dallas Cowboys this Sunday. The Cowboys have struggled early on with a blowout loss to the Denver Broncos and a tight 35-30 loss at home to the Los Angeles Rams this past Sunday. They’ll be looking for revenge against the Packers, who ended their 13-3 season in the Divisional Round last season with a 34-31 thriller in favor of Green Bay. Green Bay will once again be looking to pull an upset in Dallas as they come in as two-point underdogs. Here are three Packers keys to victory for the upset to be pulled this Sunday.
Week Five Green Bay Packers Keys To Victory
1- Neutralize Ezekiel Elliott
The Packers have not been the run-stopping force they have been in the past this season as they rank just 19th overall in the NFL in total rushing yards allowed. Last week, in the absence of Mike Daniels, Green Bay gave up just 103 yards on the ground on 30 attempts, an average of 3.4 yards per rush.
Not bad, but they’ll be facing a much bigger challenge in Ezekiel Elliot and the Dallas rushing offense. Elliot has only ran for 276 yards in total on the year with a 3.6 yards per rush average, but the Packers haven’t soon forgot the 282 total rushing yards he put up on them over two games last season.
In order to win this game, the number one priority for Green Bay will be to lessen Elliot’s impact on the game. The Dallas offense lives and dies by it’s run game. If Elliot is neutralized, it will force Dallas quarterback Prescott to make plays. Prescott is more than capable of taking over the game when his team needs him to, but Green Bay has a much better chance of winning a game in which Prescott throws for 300 yards compared to a game in which Elliot is allowed to run free and Dallas is allowed to burn the clock at will.
With Daniels hopefully returning this week, he will provide a big boost to the Packers run defense and provide Green Bay’s defense with some much-needed on-field leadership.
2- Rodgers, Rodgers, Rodgers
Aaron Rodgers is the heart and soul of this Packers team. Last season, in the divisional round playoff against the Cowboys, he almost single-handedly won the game for Green Bay with a 355-yard, two touchdown performance that included a miraculous sideline completion to Jared Cook towards the end of regulation to set up the game-winning field goal.
Getting Rodgers going early is key, as the Packers have struggled to put up points in the first half. Last week against the Bears, the Packers had no problem doing this as they raced to a 21-0 lead; yet, those 21 points came with help from plenty of Bears miscues along the way. They can’t expect the same kind of help against the Cowboys on the road.
Falling behind to a Cowboys team with one of the NFL’s best rushing attacks is not a good idea if the Packers plan on winning this game. The Packers must ensure that they maximize the number of times Rodgers gets his hands on the ball. With Ty Montgomery likely out with broken ribs, expect the Packers to attack through the air against a mediocre Dallas secondary giving up 232 yards a game.
Green Bay’s injuries on the offensive line are concerning, however, as Dallas’s pass rush has generated 12 sacks on the season. So long as the Packers are able to limit the pressure on Rodgers, he should have a field day against Dallas’s weak secondary.
3- Don’t Fall Behind By More Than A Score
It may seem rather simple and easier said than done, but the Packers can’t afford to fall behind by more than a score in this game. The Cowboys are very good at controlling the clock with their running game, and the last position Green Bay is going to want to find themselves is trailing by more than one score with the ball in Elliot’s hands. The Packers may have a magician at quarterback, but there’s not much he can do in the face of a multiple score deficit without the ball in his hands.
Rodgers doesn’t have a great track record when coming from behind in games, even if he did pull off a miraculous late comeback against the Cincinnati Bengals just a couple weeks ago. The Packers will be on the road, facing a hostile Dallas crowd as well, which doesn’t make things any less easier. You can bet that the home crowd will be fired up as the Packers and Cowboys have had some very entertaining (and controversial) games that went in Green Bay’s favor in the past few years.
Overall, this should be another highly entertaining Packers-Cowboys match-up in an intra-conference rivalry that seems to be gaining steam with every passing year, and certainly a game that both teams have been eyeing ever since the schedule came out last spring.