1. Cowboys Defensive Line Maintain Their Assignments
The last time these two teams faced off against each other the Packers were able to beat up the Cowboys on the ground rushing for 120 yards in the game. That allowed the Packers to eat up the clock by controlling the time of possession 36:43 to the Cowboys 23:17. This time around with the Cowboys coming off a bye-week they’ve had time to adjust their strategy defending the run, or more their technique defending it.
Against the Bears, we saw poor gap containment from the Cowboys’ defensive tackles and poor containment from their defensive ends. This week they are facing another quarterback that is willing to run if he needs to but is mainly looking to push the football down the field. They also have running backs that are just as well versed in catching the football as they are running the football. So the defensive line’s assignments discipline will be key to slowing this Packers offense.
That means no more adlibbing and going for the big hit or sack and instead focusing on getting the ball carrier on the ground for the defensive ends, especially against this Packers team that will look to use the screen game to combat the Cowboys’ effective pass rush.
As for the defensive tackles, they are going to need to hold the line and keep these linebackers and safeties clean in order to slow the Packers in the running game. Too often they’ve been pushed back allowing offensive linemen to get to the second level and block their linebackers. For this group, gap discipline is key. They can’t allow the Packers’ offensive line to bully them or this is going to be a long day for the Cowboys’ defense against these two talented running backs.