First thoughts on the Packers vs. Cowboys playoff game

The Dallas Cowboys beat the Detroit Lions in the wild card round of the NFL playoffs on Sunday. Next up for the Cowboys: a trip to Lambeau Field to face the Green Bay Packers in the divisional round.

Here’s an early outlook on the Packers vs. Cowboys playoff matchup. Look for much more coverage throughout the week here at

The Cowboys have one of the best offensive lines in the NFL. But the Lions got to Tony Romo early with blitzes from all different directions. If I’m Dom Capers, I bring the pressure early and often. Not only will blitzing help chip away at a great offensive line, it’ll baffle Romo. Unlike Rodgers, Romo doesn’t do much of anything to adjust his protection pre-snap, which leads to unblocked rushers and mismatches.

I don’t think the Dallas defense stands much of a chance against the Packers’ offense unless the Dallas D forces turnovers like it did in the regular season. The Cowboys were second in the NFL with 31 takeaways in the regular season. The Packers only turned the ball over 13 times. As they say, something’s got to give. I’m confident Rodgers won’t throw any straight-up interceptions, but the Cowboys got their hands up and tipped some passes against the Lions on Sunday, resulting in one interception. They’ll try and do the same against Green Bay, hoping to get their fingers on a pass and catch it before it hits the ground.

Stars vs. Stars
Which teams stars will outperform the other team’s stars? If the Cowboys get big games from Romo, Demarco Murray and Dez Bryant, they’re as tough to beat as any team in the league. If Rodgers, Eddie Lacy and Jordy Nelson/Randall Cobb are rolling for Green Bay, the Packers might break the scoreboard. Rodgers hasn’t had a dominant postseason game since Super Bowl XLV. Let’s see if he cranks it up on Sunday and shines brighter than the other stars on the field.

The Cowboys’ victory on Sunday came with an *asterisk because the officials inexplicably picked up a pass-interference flag on Dallas during a key third-down play late in the game. Who knows if we’ll see something that egregious this Sunday, but how the game is called will be a factor. The way to slow down Rodgers and his receivers is to grab them, hold them, chuck them and pester them — straddling the line just enough to hope the refs won’t throw a flag, especially in a playoff game where the general sentiment is to just “let them play.”

Rodgers’ calf
The health of Rodgers’ calf is, obviously, the key to the game. Matthew Stafford had success running against the Cowboys on Sunday. A healthy Rodgers should too, but not if he’s limited to just standing in the pocket with a bum calf.


Adam Czech is a a freelance sports reporter living in the Twin Cities and a proud supporter of American corn farmers. When not working, Adam is usually writing about, thinking about or worrying about the Packers. Follow Adam on Twitter. Twitter .


29 thoughts on “First thoughts on the Packers vs. Cowboys playoff game

  1. I believe Packers has good if not excellent chances against Cowboys… I do not think Cowboys OL is better than Packers OL and Packers DL is better than Cowboys DL… Not to go further!

    1. That is all true, but GB’s Offensive line does not play Dallas’ offensive line. It does not matter which is better. What matters is match-ups. GB’s o-line is better than Dallas’ front 7. Dallas’ o-line is better that our d-line, but by not nearly as much as the hype led me to believe. Rodgers should have time to throw, and Lacy room to run. Romo will see decent to good pressure, and Murray will get some yards, but short of missed tackles, won’t have a monster day. GB wins going away.

  2. Not confident about Packer’s defense. Feel that the Green Bay offense has to score on every possession. Need at least 38 to win. Hope I am dead wrong!

    Go Pack Go!

    1. weinerhead talks again.the boys wont score 20 and that will be late concern is for Rodgers making the whole game,if he does itS a cake walk. P.S. go home COW 42.

  3. so if in the playoffs, the tendency for refs to ‘let ’em play’ and allow more physical contact by defense, and call less pass interference, why doesn’t GBP get more aggressive in the playoffs? Why does it seem the other team victimizes GB receivers more than GB d-backs rough up other team’s receivers? Just wondering.

  4. Nice article…right on track…hopefully MM will cover Dez in similar fashion to Detroit with over/under brackets. Historically a good TE gives GB fits, using CM3, Barrington, Neal and Perry as the LB’s give GB the best chance of minimizing Wittens effect. Here’s hoping House can play some snap as a 6-1 corner could force some high throws.

  5. First off, Detroit got jobbed.

    Second, Murray’s last impressive game was against Arizona on 11/2. He’s worn out. Their OL is NOT as good as ours, and our pass D is plenty good enough to contain Dez and the bag of balls they have for other options.

    Third, their D has NO chance to contain our passing O. Our rushing O should also have a strong day.

    Fourth, Romo was sacked 6 times and hit 10 times by DET today. We’ll get ahead, get them passing, and hit the hell out of Tony. Turnover machine.

    Fifth, Dallas had the easiest strength of schedule mark in the league this year – and 2nd place was .010 higher. They played NO ONE except the annual bad-good team (The Colts) during their hot streak.

    While Carolina would have been easier, this game isn’t going to be close folks. I’m not worried.

    41-21 GB.

    1. I USED to think that Detroit got jobbed, and then I saw how Pettigrew was totally facemasking the defender. It’s pretty hard NOT to interfere with a guy who is holding you by the facemask. Even harder to turn your head and play the ball…

      1. Yeah. I get that marpag. And Detroit certainly could have executed better in the 2nd half too and made this a non issue. BUT take a look again at every Cowboys conversion on 3rd and 4th downs on their “game winning” drive. There’s a penalty on Detroit on every -single- one.

        Add in some blatant non-holding calls on the same drive, Bryant’s stupidity with the helmet-off-while-on-the-field schtick…

        Lions got jobbed. And I hate the Lions. But I call it like I see it.

        1. I also thought Detroit had some truly horrible
          coaching. For example, what was I missing on this play… Less than 2 minutes remaining in the first half. Cowboys have 3rd & 2, and complete a pass for no gain, bringing up 4th & 2 on the Cowboy’s own 34 yard line. But wait, the Cowboys are called for offensive pass interference on the play…. and the Lions ACCEPT IT????? So the Cowboys get third and 12, and complete a 76 yard TD play.

          Was that Jim Schwartz in disguise?

      1. Impressive win. In October. Why don’t you ask the 1997, 2007, 2010, and 2011 Packers how much being great in October matters?

        Face it Cowboys fan – we are better at every position on the field. Arguments can be made at C and RT. Maybe ILB with how well McClain has played. Maybe at WR1 – but I’ll take Jordy and his production over Dez and his tantrums. I’ll also take Lacy over the worn out Murray at this point in the season. That’s not too many personnel advantages for you now is it?

        Plus, you don’t have a pass rush. We have a top 3 OL. You don’t have a good secondary. We have the best passing attack in the league. ARod is going to shred you to pieces. I’m thinking 50 isn’t out of the question.

        Your only chance is to gash us on the ground as bad as we will gash you through the air. In other words, to play keep away. Unfortunately for you, GBs run D has been top 10 in the past 2 months and Murray has not looked good at all since he hurt his hand.

        Now go back to your Dallas blogs with that knowledge informing your future discussions with other fans. Or go back to your hole cowering in fear. Either would be appropriate. 🙂

  6. My 1st thought: We are going to win! After that game, Dallas is beat up. It was a brutal victory. If our QB is pretty healthy, we should win. Football has become a game of attrition.

  7. To me it all comes down to your last observation, ‘Rodgers calf’! Bottom line! If Rodgers was 100% healthy, the Packers win at home, period! He could run hard for first downs and roll out hard when under pressure throwing on the run. The pack would score over 30 points, probably around their Lambeau average of 40, against the average Dallas D. The problem is that he will not be 100%. I pray that calf has healed enough to get through the game and allow Rodgers the strength necessary to scramble when needed. PS- I have no faith in Flynn anymore.

  8. The Dallas team that I saw was very beatable.
    I wasn’t impressed with their O Line/Run game and/or protection in pass. I think we actually have the better Oline/Run game.
    IF Rodgers is anywhere near 100%, this game is ugly and we’re on to the next.
    That said, I wouldn’t mind it if Carolina pulled a MASSIVE UPSET.

  9. One thing to take into consideration is that Dallas is the only team in the NFL undefeated on the road. That spells problematic for GB and further on.

    1. They had one good road win. At a beat up Seattle team. Look at the rest of their road opponents…. it’s not exactly a list of who’s who of NFL quality.

  10. This game goes as Rodgers calf goes. Rodgers is now the best one dimensional qb. No scrambling, no running, by golly he just became a younger version of Peyton. Keep a clean pocket and we have a chance.

  11. Dallas better not bring their “special” officiating crew with them. Sucks when officials decide the game. Would’ve Detroit lost anyway? We will never know…

  12. The call against Detroit leaves a bad taste for the rest of the playoffs. Especially since there was no explanation provided for why the flag was picked up. I listenedd to Mike Francesca interview Mike Pereira on WFAN in NY about an hour ago. Pereira says that the call was the right call. The referee had the best angle and had all the elements necessary for a PI call. There is no reason to pick up the flag. He was very disappointed that the official was talked out of the call. Of course the league has apologized to the Lions and admitted their mistake. Poor officiating used to happen once in a while. Now it happens every week during the NFL season and in multiple games every week. It is making the games unwatchable and the results meaningless and it’s unacceptable. The league needs to fix this or they just continue to become a sadder and sadder joke as each week goes by. Thanks, Since ’61

  13. I give the Packers the edge. It will be frigid cold at Lambeau and Detroit hit Romo like a pinata. Hopefully, Green Bay can pester him the same. But Lacy will run well. As long as Rodger’s calf holds up, he’ll find Nelson and Cobb. Green Bay will have to score early to have Demarco from running so much and control the ball during the fourth quarter.

  14. I’ll take the Packers at home. Capers has to get some pressure on Romo with out blitzing. Tony will try to force it into tight spaces and the Packer ball hawks will get some picks. Lacy will do some serious damage and A Rodgers can slice up that crummy Dallas Back End. And please Coach Slocum no hiccups on Special Teams. If the Packers can beat Tom Brady and the Pats at home they can whip the Cow-Pies!

  15. This game will be about the Packers defense and the Packers OL. The Packers defense must stop the Dallas run game or the Cowboys will keep Rodgers & Co. off the field. On offense the Packers OL must protect Rodgers as they have been since the bye. We do those two things and it’s game over. Thanks, Since ’61

  16. Detroit did get robbed. That was some really awful officiating, the worst I have ever seen. The obvious defensive holding by Hitchen against Pettigrew (yes, the Pass Interference was a little murkier); Dez Bryant running onto the field w/o a helmet to question the call (I couldn’t find any rule allowing that); the 1.5 yards off on spotting the ball on 3rd down to deny Detroit a 1st down, and the repeated, and blatant holding by the entire Dallas offensive line, especially the OTs; Blandino (the head of officiating and the guy who does the booth reviews in NY) photographed getting off the Cowboys’ party bus. The appearance of impropriety was present at the very least. It was an embarrassment to the NFL.

    1. So my eyes weren’t playing tricks on me! Tyrone Smith almost TACKLED Ziggy at least 4 times and not one flag was thrown. Same thing goes for Zack Martin, I couldn’t believe it yet they never called it. Now I hadn’t heard about Blandino and the other guy getting off the bus, but I know I felt that the game wasn’t called right Sunday. Kinda like the NFL sure seemed to WANT Dallas in the Playoffs. What a story and a way to make millions more….Ice Bowl II.

      1. Ok, then let’s take that line of thinking to another iteration. What match up does the NFL want for the NFC Championship game? Dallas at Seattle? Carolina at Green Bay? Carolina at Dallas? Green Bay at Seattle?

        How will we see that hope manifested in how the games are called? If Seattle get a preponderance of the calls Saturday, it’ll come down to the bigger ratings draw between Dallas and Green Bay, right?

Comments are closed.