Many think this will be the toughest match up yet…let’s take a look to see if that’s the case.
Review –that game was awesome, eh? It was great to be at, too! After underwhelming for the first 25 minutes, the Packers’ offense and mainly quarterback, Aaron Rodgers woke up and decided to destroy the talented Giants’ defense. Well into the 2nd quarter I looked up at the scoreboard and noted Green Bay had a whopping 7 total yards of offense. From that point on the Packers amassed 399 yards in about 2.25 quarters. That production is a tough standard to hold, even for the fans with the highest expectations – considering the Giants possess a great defense.
Losing Jordy Nelson could be a huge loss, considering he and #12 were finding their rhythm. Yes, the offense took off shortly after Nelson left with broken ribs, but keep in mind the Giants also lost a solid cornerback in Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, essentially nullifying the Nelson injury (to which I believe was a legal hit, by the way).
The two players I highlighted to watch was the matchup of Giants superstar wideout Odell Beckham, Jr. vs. Packers undrafted 2nd year player, Ladarius Gunter. Gunter was burned on two plays resulting in zero yards…the first was the dropped TD, which prompted the thoughts and responses of the Miami boat trip! And rightfully so! That was a huge play in the game and who knows how that would’ve changed the dynamic.
PFF grades, with 8 players grading at an 80+:
MLB Jake Ryan 93.6
CB Damarious Randall 88.8
WR Randall Cobb 88.3
WR Davante Adams 83.8
RT Bryan Bulaga 83.1
QB Aaron Rodgers 81.9
RG TJ Lang 80.7
DL Mike Daniels 80.4
Preview – This is the best matchup of teams on the entire divisional round weekend.
Offense: 8th Offense: 5th
Defense: 22nd Defense: 14th
In their week 6 matchup the Packers’ offense was sputtering (that’s a compliment for how the QB was playing and the head coach was attempting to get him out of the rut)…however, there were 3 keys that determined the Cowboys throttling of the Packers at hallowed Lambeau Field.
- 4 turnovers committed by Green Bay (all at awful times; 3 by Aaron Rodgers)
- Packers’ D tried getting greedy and calling timeouts with 0:39 left in the 2nd quarter to get the ball back, but ended up giving up a TD.
- First possession of the 2nd half, Rodgers threw an INT that no Packer fan has seen him throw before (he was tricked, and/or didn’t see the safety come into the route of Randall Cobb).
I believe I’ve said this before, but the team that controls the line of scrimmage controls the game. The Packers have the 2nd best offensive line in the NFL, unfortunately the Dallas Cowboys possess the best. Dallas brings the 2nd rush offense into this game vs. the Packers 8th ranked rush defense, but that didn’t matter much when they racked up 191 yards on the ground. The Packers will need to force rookie QB Dak Prescott to make plays if the Green & Gold want to win this game. Well that, and have Aaron Rodgers play to the level he has the past 7 weeks. In the end, the matchup to watch is the Packers’ OL v Dallas’ DL and vice versa.
Overall – I believe the Cowboys will try to take the ball out of Dak’s hands and ground and pound…successfully. That will allow play action and the conservative Prescott to throw to an open target or run for yardage. I’m not confident the Packers can generate 1-2 turnovers while holding the rush game enough.
*22-13 overall record. Hopefully that record drops, meaning the Packers would be moving on to the NFC Championship game.*