With a demoralizing loss to the Chicago Bears on national television, the Cowboys lost the lead in the NFC East to the Philadelphia Eagles. This week is a very crucial game for the Cowboys. The Cowboys face a must-win matchup to keep pace with the streaking Eagles. On Sunday, the Green Bay Packers will come to Jerry’s World in the hunt in the NFC North.
In a must-win matchup against the Packers, the Cowboys have a few matcups they could take advantage of. Specifically, the Cowboys should throw the ball a lot this game. The Packers give up a little under 250 passing yards per game. When the Cowboys have run the football, they have run it pretty well. Running the football does shorten the game, but it also keeps the defense off the field. For the running game to be effective, two things must happen.
One: The Cowboys must pummel over opposing defenses. That was the case last week against the Bears. Two: This defense has to make stops. That was the problem last week versus the Bears. Running the ball effectively tires the defense. But when the Cowboys’ defense can’t make a stop, it gives the opposing defense more time to rejuvenate. This is why this defense must make stops on third down. Every fan knows this, but another problem the Cowboys may have, is stopping the run.
With news releasing this week that Aaron Rodgers will not play on Sunday, this makes the Packers a run-first team. Eddie Lacy will be available to play this week, despite a sprained ankle. Despite having one of the best quarterbacks in the game for the first part of this year, the Packers have ran the ball extremely well. In fact, Lacy has received at least 20 carries in eight games this year. This is pretty good for a team that was ranked near the bottom of the league in 2012 for rushing yards. Lacy will be in for a big workload this week against a defense that will not have star linebacker Sean Lee.
Without their star middle linebacker, this defense has looked lost at times. This was the case in New Orleans and in Chicago. With Lee on the shelf, veteran Justin Durant will return from his hamstring injury and take his place. Durant is a quality player, but to say he can emulate what Lee can do for this defense is absurd. Dallas does not get a lot of help from their defensive line already, but with the loss of their best defensive player, it could cause doom for the Cowboys.
It is vital that the Cowboys get good pressure from their defensive line, as well as good coverage from their secondary. In this game, expect the Cowboys to load the box to stop the run. The Cowboys would much rather have Matt Flynn beat them, instead of Lacy.
As always with the Cowboys, this game will not come easy. To keep their playoff chances alive, they must stop Eddie Lacy from beating them. This will go a long way if the Cowboys want to come out on top. It is crucial that the Cowboys can get pressure on Flynn, as well as stopping the run. If the defense can make some stops from time to time, Dallas should win by at least a touchdown.