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NFL GAMEDAY RESOURCES: 2013-2014 Dallas Cowboys vs. Green Bay Packers | The Cowboys Packers rivalry continues
The 2013-2014 Dallas Cowboys fate hangs in the balance in the final three games after a deflating 45-28 defeat to Chicago last Monday. Now they face the wounded Green Bay Packers, who will be without injured starting quarterback Aaron Rodgers for the sixth consecutive game. The Cowboys, who are known for their December swoons, know they need to bounce back Sunday if they have designs on earning their first playoff berth since 2009. Here is a look at how both the Cowboys and Packers match up:
When the Cowboys run
If the Cowboys choose to hold onto any tape from their 45-28 defeat to Chicago last Monday it will be the cutups of their running plays. The ground offense looked as good as it has all season, producing 198 yards and one touchdown. It was the third consecutive game the Cowboys rushed for more than 100 yards, as an area of weakness has suddenly become a strength. Green Bay, which has the eighth-worst run defense in the league, shouldn’t get in the way of a Dallas running game gaining steam.
When the Cowboys pass
The last time the viewing public saw Tony Romo and Dez Bryant, the Cowboys’ franchise quarterback threw for 104 yards and the team’s top receiver caught only two passes. That happened Monday night, when the Cowboys lost 45-28 to Chicago. Dallas’ passing offense, which lacked bite, needs to return to form Sunday. The Cowboys depend on Romo and to a lesser extent Bryant. They should feast on a Packers defense yielding 246.8 passing yards per game, the 12th-highest average in the NFL.
When the Packers run
In the last three seasons, the Packers’ rushing offense was ranked in the bottom half of the league. In 2013, Green Bay’s ground game is producing 128.8 yards per game, the 10th-best in the NFL. The difference has been Eddie Lacy. The rookie tailback has amassed 887 rushing yards – the tenth-highest total in the NFL. But he hurt his ankle last Sunday and is listed as probable. If he aggravates the injury, backup James Starks, who is averaging 5.3 yards per carry, can still damage Dallas’ weak front.
When the Packers pass
Aaron Rodgers will miss his sixth consecutive game since breaking his left collarbone. The Packers starting quarterback has been ruled out, meaning Matt Flynn, who has been with three teams in 2013, will be behind center again. And while he is not the threat Rodgers is, the Cowboys’ woeful pass defense – ranked dead last in the NFL – appears capable of collapsing. The 141.9 rating produced by Chicago’s Josh McCown last Monday was the latest indictment on this sad unit.
As the Bears were piling up the points against the Cowboys last Monday, Dallas was dealt a big blow when return specialist Dwayne Harris aggravated his pulled hamstring. Now he will be out for the second time in three games. Just like Harris, the Packers’ Micah Hyde provides a jolt on special teams. This season, he took a punt back 93 yards for a touchdown. But the Packers haven’t fared well on kickoffs, producing the worst return average in the NFL.
The Cowboys are still smarting from a deflating defeat to Chicago in which receiver Dez Bryant said Dallas was “outplayed.” But the Cowboys have shown resilience throughout the season. They suffered a bitter 51-48 loss to Denver in October and came back to beat Washington the following week. They were annihilated by New Orleans before the bye in November and responded by beating the New York Giants in their next game. Expect the Cowboys to circle the wagons again and come out focused.
GAMEDAY RESOURCES: Trackers and Scoreboards
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GAMEDAY RESOURCES: Sounds of the game
Listen to the “Voice of the Dallas Cowboys” Brad Sham on KRLD in Dallas.
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GAMEDAY RESOURCES: Watch the game
To watch on network TV, tune to:
KDFW-TV/FOX 4 Dallas | WLUK-TV/FOX 11 Green Bay
Out of market? Click HERE to watch online (NFL Sunday Ticket)
When: Sunday, December 15th, 2013 at 3:25 p.m. (Dallas time)
Where: AT&T Stadium | Arlington, TX
Watch on TV: FOX | DirecTV
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GAMEDAY RESOURCES: Dallas Cowboys pregame/postgame shows
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THE COWBOYS – PACKERS RIVALRY CONTINUES! ENJOY THE GAME!
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COWBOYS PACKERS GAMEDAY GUT CHECK: Dallas Cowboys vs. Green Bay Packers | 2013-2014 NFL Game 14 of 16
IRVING, Texas – Despite falling to 7-6 and losing a share of the division lead, the Dallas Cowboys can still guarantee a spot in the playoffs by winning out, beginning with todays home matchup against the Green Bay Packers.
Once again, the Cowboys will face a team without their starting quarterback. But the Cowboys will also be without linebacker Sean Lee, among others.
Here are the gut feelings for writers Eatman, Kavner, and Helman.
Nick: I think the Cowboys beat the Packers. I didn’t need to wait on Aaron Rodgers’ status (although it does help my confidence with this pick). This is the kind of season on which the Cowboys have played close to the .500 mark all year so it’d be easy to say they lose, but at home, and with an average team coming in, give me the Cowboys. I think the defense bounces back in a big way – maybe not in terms of shutting down the Packers offense but in turnovers – I predict at least three for the defense. Miles Austin has always had good games against the Packers so I see him with a long catch and I think the Cowboys get a much-needed win that ties them for first place again. Cowboys 31-16.
Rowan: The Packers are 1-4-1 since Aaron Rodgers went out. If he were playing, my answer would probably change. But he’s not, and for that reason the Dallas Cowboys shouldn’t lose this game. They should beat a Packers team whose only win since their star quarterback went out was a one-point victory against the three-win Falcons. Much like the Cowboys, the Packers’ defense has also been struggling, though Green Bay still has offensive firepower in Jordy Nelson and Eddie Lacy, if he plays. I think both teams stick to an effective running attack early on in a relatively low-scoring first half before the points start pouring on and the teams start airing it out in the second half. Both teams reach the 30s in points, Dez Bryant goes for 100 yards for the first time in seven games, both team’s running backs reach the end zone and the Cowboys get three sacks in a four-point win.
David: Having had a few days to mull over the loss to Chicago, I feel better about the Cowboys’ chances of a win against Green Bay. You can’t overstate Aaron Rodgers’ absence, which improves the chances of a Dallas win about tenfold, even if Eddie Lacy plays. The Cowboys have also played incredibly well at AT&T Stadium this year. They’re 5-1 on the season, and the one loss was a heartbreaker to one of the best teams in the league. My guess is Jordy Nelson will be the latest receiver to give the Dallas secondary fits, as he goes for 120 or so and a touchdown. But the secondary matches up much better as a whole against this depleted Green Bay receiving corps, and I think the Cowboys will finally generate enough of a pass rush to cause some turnovers. Cowboys win by six.