Dallas Cowboys Must Control Clock At Lambeau Field


After a wildcard win over the Detroit Lions that was tainted somewhat by some officiating blunders, it’s finally time to move on to the divisional round and that means a trip to the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field. The Dallas Cowboys will be visiting the Packers in the playoffs for the first time since the historic title game of 1967 that we all know as the Ice Bowl.

Compared to the -13 temperature that greeted the players on that fateful day, the forecast is for a downright balmy 11 for kickoff on Sunday. With two of the best offenses in the league squaring off, the score also promises to be a little higher than the 21-17 final that favored the Packers that fateful day.

“A good offense might be the best defense”

Going into Sunday’s match up, Green Bay owns the sixth spot in the league in total offense, while the Cowboys are right behind them with a ranking of seventh. The Cowboys will be trying to stretch their perfect 8-0 road record into the post season.

On the flip side, the Green Bay Packers have an undefeated home streak of their own in 2014. If Dallas wants to make it to the NFC championship game, a good offense might be the best defense.

Green Bay’s defense ranked 15th overall in 2014 and was 23rd against the run. That could mean good things for the NFL’s rushing champ DeMarco Murray.

That being said, the Dallas offensive front, which includes pro bowlers left tackle Tyron Smith, center Travis Frederick and rookie right guard Zack Martin, will have to do a much better job than it did against the Lions. In that game, quarterback Tony Romo was sacked six times and Murray was held to 19 carries for 75 rushing yards.

The Lions’ nasty number one ranked rushing defense can account for much of the offensive line woes of the wildcard game. However, the home field advantage that the Packers enjoy at Lambeau will no doubt have the Green Bay defenders jacked up and playing over their heads when they face the Cowboys with a trip to the NFC championship game on the line.

Dallas cannot afford to start out in a 14-0 hole as they did against the Lions in the friendly confines of AT&T Stadium. Playing catch up and expecting another miracle finish from Romo simply can’t be an option if the Cowboys are to escape the great, white north with a victory.

And Cowboys’ head coach Jason Garrett understands that. In fact, Garrett offered this explanation for last week’s slow start against the Lions.

"“I think guys were excited, they were amped up, and at different times we didn’t play with as good of technique as we’ve played with in all three phases up to this point in the season,” Garrett told the ESPNDallas earlier this week. “I think it was because it was kind of a playoff atmosphere, so I do think our guys learned a little bit from (the Lions’) experience. We have a young team, not many guys have been in the playoffs and I think they further understood what we were trying to convey to them all during the week. You just go out and play. We understand the stakes are higher, everybody gets that. But the idea to somehow, some way to create a feeling like you’re just going to play like you always play. I think as that game wore on, we did a better job at that.”"

Keeping quarterback Aaron Rodgers warming his hands on the sidelines by continuing their clock controlling ways is the best scenario that Dallas can hope for. The Cowboys ranked number one in time of possession during the 2014 regular season largely because of their concentration on handing the ball off to Murray.

Holding the ball an average of 32 minutes per game is perhaps the most important stat that the Cowboys can point to in relation to their 12-4 regular season record.

Sunday’s Cowboys vs. Packers match up has the makings for a classic, especially on the offensive side of the football. While it would take an epic performance to come close to the mystique that surrounds the Ice Bowl, we in Cowboys Nation are hoping that the final score is a reversal of fortunes for two of the most storied franchises in NFL history.