- Romo has been playing well and the Dallas offense has a good number of guys to turn to.
- 2 more WRs have emerged for Dallas in Miles Austin and now even Ogletree. Roy Williams is still decent, but not the threat he used to be with Detroit.
- the 3-headed rushing attack. Barber packs a punch, Felix Jones is just difficult to track down to bring down and T Choice may in fact be the best all-around back of the 3. When they split the carries in a manner that fits with the game flow, these 3 are scary.
- The Dallas O-line is huge and it’s possible they could end up dominating line play and pushing our D around at will. In light of this possibility, I will be starting Marion Barber for fantasy.
- Jason Witten. He’s really, really good. I did read something about Romo converting 3rd downs 100% of the time he threw the ball Witten’s way this year. Scary. Clearly, we need to be all over him on 3rd downs. (It will be interesting to see if they bring Woodson over to keep tabs on Witten – he lined up opposite Kellen Winslow last week a few times and it seemed to work.)
- DeMarcus Ware. I saw him switching from the right to the left in the Philly game and that could spell trouble – especially if TJ Lang gets the start at RT without having played there much before. I expect Ware to have 2-3 sacks.
- Confidence. Dallas has it, the Packers don’t.
- Special teams. Dallas ST has been on fire this year. The Pack’s ST is a joke. This could be a problem.
- Romo, while playing well, is a somewhat fragile player mentally. He got a huge win for him last week – huge. And he needed mental strength to pull it off. But I think the reason many people feel the Cowboys aren’t a top tier division leader right now is because of Romo’s apparent inability to string together difficult victories. I expect to see him make some mistakes and my hope is that some of those mistakes are encouraged by some aggressive blitzes.
- The Cowboys’ 3-headed rushing attack. When Jason Garrett (Dal O-Coordinator) gets into the game flow moving these 3 guys in and out at the right times, this is usually a very effective run game plan. However, I’ve seen a couple Cowboy games where the balance with the run and the timing of substitutions hasn’t worked well. If we can disrupt their running rhythm early, that could lead Romo to eventually force some passes.
- Outside of Jason Witten and screen passes to the RBs, I’m not too afraid of the Cowboys’ passing attack. Yes, they’ve had some success this year, but mostly against crappier teams. If our secondary can get up for this one, I won’t be too worried about the passing game. One warning: watch the bubble pass – that immediate pass to the WR at the line of scrimmage followed by lots of WR blocking in front of the guy. Ogletree, Crayton, Williams all had great plays on that last week.
- Aaron Rodgers has, for the most part, managed to stay above the criticism of the rest of the team mostly due to his consistently high QB rating and good play in general. But last week, Rodgers wasn’t good and his puke effort in the waning minutes didn’t help silence those who believe he struggles in the clutch. I think this game is critical to Rodgers’ QB development. We often talk about him as though he’s a veteran because he’s stepped in quite naturally and he carries himself confidently, but the fact is, he’s only started for 1.5 years. Like any young QB, he still needs big victories to help grow his confidence in both himself and his team.
- The Packers run game. As poor as Mike McCarthy’s sense of game flow has been this year (abandoning the run at odd times in particular), our O-Line has done a progressively better job of run blocking. Hidden behind the torrent of negative press for their shoddy pass blocking, the O-Line has managed to finally open up quality holes for our RBs. (And, I should add, our RBs would have had some huge days if they could have made people miss.) If McCarthy lets Grant and Ahman Green run, the Packers might get back to setting up the pass with quality runs and in the process, control the clock. If our RBs can get past the Dal D-Line, their 2nd and 3rd level tacklers don’t scare me much.
- By the way, look for Ahman Green to take on a bigger role this week both running the ball and a lot of 2nd and 3rd down help with pass protection.