Dallas Cowboys vs. Packers: Three Playoff Thoughts


The Dallas Cowboys will face the Green Bay Packers in the divisional round of the 2016 NFL playoffs. Here are some thoughts prior to the big game.

The Dallas Cowboys are heading into what should be a historic NFC Divisional Playoff battle against the Green Bay Packers on Sunday. These two playoff rivals have already faced off once this season with the result leaning in the Cowboys direction. Since then Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers has played some legendary football. The Cowboys have also been historic leaning on their two star rookies quarterback Dak Prescott and running back Ezekiel Elliott.

This matchup pits an unstoppable force against an immovable object and has had football fans excited all week long.

Jordy Nelson ruled out:

Packers star wide receiver Jordy Nelson has been ruled out because of a rib injury he had suffered during the Wildcard round. There simply is no way of getting around it, that  is a huge loss for a Green Bay offense that had just begun to find some cohesiveness. He is the most targeted wide receiver for the Packers this season as Aaron Rodgers has targeted him 56 times, most of those resulting in completions.

Nelson also has been a deep red zone threat as he has hauled in five touchdowns, expect Green Bay tight end Jared Cook to see more targets as Rodgers has been looking his way with more frequency. The Cowboys secondary will see the return of cornerback Morris Claiborne who was having a career season prior to his injury.

His return allowed the Cowboys secondary to be ranked first overall in the NFL by Pro Football Focus. This unit plays together and even though they lack the typical shut down cornerback they collectively can blanket wide receivers and force quarterbacks into making some terrible decisions.

They will have their biggest test of the season so far as they face the legendary Aaron Rodgers. Dallas’s consistency has come from making sound decisions and playing as a team rather then relying on any specific player. Nelson being out also makes it easier for them to cover the other two playmakers for the Packers wide receiving corps, Davante Adams and Randall Cobb.

Who will be more of an X factor, David Irving or Morris Claiborne?

The game defensive lineman David Irving had the last time he faced the Packers was simply astounding. He was incredibly disruptive when the team needed him most and has been a force pressuring the quarterback since then. The return of cornerback Morris Claiborne signifies that the Cowboys secondary is now once again whole which is absolutely crucial as this team looks to keep up their winning ways.

Who will have the better game though? Every defensive back in the NFL has dreaded facing the Packers simply because of the legendary quarterback at the helm of the Green Bay offense. Rodgers can fit the ball anywhere on the field and has been very good at making tough throws.

The Packers line has played a lot better than they have in recent memory during the Packers winning streak. This also has a lot to do with Rodgers ability to get away from pressure using his legs and his instincts. The Cowboys pass rush will be integral in disrupting the timing for Rodgers and his wide receiving corps.

The return of pass rusher DeMarcus Lawrence should open things up for both players however I would have to give the edge to Irving. He will be in a terrific spot and could find himself with another huge game.

It is time for the Cowboys stars to shine:

This is the moment Cowboy nation has been waiting for, whether your a player, a fan, or a member of the organization this is the beginning of it all. The tremendous fight this team has shown during the regular season will continue to push them as the playoffs begin for what is one of the most exciting Cowboy teams in recent history. They will face a Packers team that has not given Dallas fans a lot of great memories during the postseason.

Next: 5 reasons why the Dallas Cowboys should defeat the Packers

Now the Cowboys will need to delver some form of revenge on their home turf against probably the toughest opponent they have faced all season. As long as this team continues to fight together, there is nothing that both sides of the ball cannot achieve. The sky is the limit for this football club and their first test this postseason will come tomorrow at 4pm.