The Cowboys, as Roy Williams correctly points out, are still a team that is loaded with talent. I really believe this. I think there are a number of individual players on the Cowboys who could quite easily start on other teams (mostly on offense – now so much on their defense). As badly as they have played, there is at the very least, the risk that the Cowboys end up putting together a solid effort with the talent they have – which could make this a really tough game.
Over the course of the first 7 games, however, the Cowboys have looked very much out of sync and have let lesser teams exploit their weaknesses in rather incredible fashion. To me, so much of this falls on the coaching. I have never been a fan of Wade Phillips. He is the opposite of Bo Ryan (who does a ton with limited talent).
Dallas will be pumped to play Sunday night at Lambeau and they will very much enjoy coming in with way less pressure than they’ve had at any point this season. They’ve already been written off – so they can finally just play. They are also playing away from that monstrosity of a stadium in Dallas and all the ridiculous pressure that comes with playing for Jerry Jones and his gaudy organization. But one clear advantage of playing a team sliding down the slippery slope is that they are pretty much 2 significant mistakes away from self-destruction. Why 2 mistakes? Well, think of it this way. Dallas is suffering right now from a self-esteem issue. When you or someone you know has a self-esteem issue, he/she can usually handle a setback. Sure it will bother him/her but the person can usually move on. But 2 setbacks for a self-esteem-bruised person can almost set up the total shutdown. That’s why I really believe that if the Pack can force 2 early turnovers, this game could be over by halftime. If they don’t, I actually expect this to be a decent game.
Driver and Finley not being in the line-up hurts. Of course, considering the overall weirdness of this NFL season, it would be fitting if Rodgers and his stable of mostly back-ups picked this week to light it up.
I’m not convinced that Dallas ILB Keith Brooking is that good anymore. He used to be very good, but he seems slow to me. I think we’d be smart to take advantage of what I see as a potential mismatch with Quarless especially (also Lee) over the middle against their LBs.
I’d watch out for play action plays and screens to Brandon Jackson early in the game to get Ware to be a bit more cautious about his all-out-rushing all the time. We did this effectively against MN and I’m guessing we’ll turn to it again.
Weird going into a game with the thought that our punter might help us out. Haven’t felt that way for over a decade.
I can see Dallas trying to run early and often. They are so often criticized for a poor run/pass balance (even by their own D-Lineman Olshansky) that I can see Phillips buckle to that criticism by telling Garrett to run more. I’ve read that there are rumors that Tashard Choice will be more involved – and that actually scares me a bit because I think he’s good.
Between Jones out of the backfield, Witten, Roy Williams, Austin and Dez Bryant – it’s mostly just amazing that Dallas’ passing game isn’t brutally difficult to slow down. But one factor that underlies both the challenges for the running game and for the passing game, is a weak offensive line. Dallas used to always dominate the line of scrimmage. I don’t think they come close to doing that now. If their line pulls together a nice game, we could have serious trouble Sunday night. But if they continue to be marginal, I think we could light up Jon Kitna for some sack-fumbles and picks.
I’ve heard some folks mention concern about this being a trap game. I would say it’s not – at least as far as I understand that expression. I think the Packers know darn well how important this game is and I think the team’s last two impressive wins have launched this team back into a place where, importantly, they believe in themselves again. After those two heart-breaking OT losses in a row, it would have been easy for the team to cash out and like the Cowboys this week, let mistakes derail their collective self-esteem. But I think the energy this team has after taking down two preseason Super Bowl contenders in a row which carry them to a strong victory. Packers 31, Dallas 17.
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13 Responses to “Some pregame thoughts on Pack/Cowboys”
The offense must put together their first four quarter game of the year. They have not played a complete game yet. It’s time for MM to have a game plan that works instead of fizzles in the second half. It’s time for Rodgers to look like he is charge again. He has been tentative and seems to lack confidence in his Coach.
The D plays with emotion and it’s time for the O to do the same. If they are going to make a run it is now or never. The up coming bye will help with the minor injuries and they should be ready for the stretch run.
Capers now has game film on how a Kitna lead offense operates. One week isn’t enough time for the Cowboys to change much and Capers should be ready schematically for a Kitna lead offense. Advantage Packer defense. I just can’t imagine a team that can bottle up the Jets run game is going to have issues with the Cowboys offense especially given their o-line. Big day for Clay Matthews and don’t be surprised to see Raji penetrating into the backfield a whole bunch.
This Cowboys defense has been giving up a bunch of points this year. Hell, the Bears scored 27 in week two. (Remember all the Mike Martz is a genius talk after that game!) They gave up 35 points to Jacksonville at home last week.
The thing that worries me about this Packers team is they haven’t learned how to step on a team’s throat. They let teams hang around too long. Good teams don’t do that. Let’s hope that changes this week.
I’m still PO’d that we had to play like 50 games in a row down in Dallas in the 90’s. I have trouble understanding how Jason Garret comes in as a backup and lights us up. I will always hold a grudge against these spoiled panty-waste cowgirls. I don’tike Jerry Jones, hated Jimmy Johnson, and wasn’t thrilled with Barry S. either.
I want to see the Pack win by 50, get Wade Phillips fired, and make Jones cry like a baby. I want the green and gold to harm them so much psychologically that collectively the whole city goes into a deep depression lasting decades. Step on their throats as DaveK says, then rip them out trailed by every internal organ including 17 feet of bowels. Then springboard off the pile of guts into a beautiful bloody Lambeau leap.
Very frustrating, especially that final game in 1996. MNF, Packers D held the Cowboys to field goals all night long, but offense couldn’t do anything.
I remember after the Packers win over the 49ers in the Divisional round of the playoffs, the crowd in the stadium was chanting “bring on the Cowboys”. (Of course, it was not to be, as the Cowboys lost to the Panthers the next day)
Well now that Doug has that off his chest, he is some good news..
Bigby is activated to our roster. I don’t know if he’s starting or what.. Peprah has done a nice job. But our safety position looks quite strong now.
The last piece, would be Harris as long as he can do enough job to provide depth at the minimum. Tramon has been outstanding, and Woodson is still doing an OK job. The secondary looks pretty decent, and I’m excited.
Because think of this.. our pass rush has deeply improved. Raji has become a workhorse. And that Howard guy. Wow I like him. He’s a massive guy, who uses the body to an advantage. He might be one hell of a player. That helps Raji so he’s more fresh throughout the game. Could really use Pickett, but Jenkins does a nice job as well.
Interior guys really do a nice job of collapsing that pocket. And Clay just doesn’t stop. Zombo I believe is starting on the opposite, if he can get in a groove and start providing a more consistent pressure, our defense will be tough to beat. We’ve really shored up all areas on the defense: secondary, interior line, pass rush and the linebacker play has been pretty good.
Maybe Hawk has finally gotten over the hump, and lets hope he continues to be consistent. Not too bad lately, still a few problems. Just his hesitations. He just needs to figure out how to read and react a play much faster. In stead of waiting to see where the play is going, he should be there. But I think it’s possible with his elevated play we’ll maybe start seeing it some more. I hope, I wanna like Hawk, I really do. His coverage though isn’t great, but that too has improved a ton this year.