If there is a shock on the cards in the divisional round, it may just happen in Big D.
The Cowboys’ starters only lost two games in the regular season – and both of those came against the now-eliminated New York Giants – but the in-form Packers are the team the NFC’s number-one seed should fear the most.
It was the Giants who they dispatched last week by a 38-13 scoreline as Aaron Rodgers maintained his elite level with another thrilling display.
Rodgers has now thrown four touchdowns in each of his past three games and has tossed 22 TDs and zero interceptions over the past eight weeks. He excelled last week without his number-one receiver Jordy Nelson, who could be a key miss in Dallas, yet with Randall Cobb and Geronimo Allison stepping up, Rodgers’ production did not slip en route to a seventh straight W.
The problem the Giants encountered was that if you cannot get to Rodgers, he keeps plays alive for long enough to ensure that someone will eventually get open. And the Cowboys’ strength is not their pass rush – they managed only 36 in the regular season, one more than the Giants and good enough for a middle-of-the-pack ranking across the league. They better hope they find a way to crack the Packers offensive line to stop Rodgers behind them.
“I was around for his MVP award in 2011,” said tackle Bryan Bulaga. “So I’ve seen a lot of good play from Aaron. This is the top of the line right now. He’s playing lights-out.”
Rodgers is not the only signal caller having a special campaign. Rookie Dak Prescott has bellied his age to lead his team through to this stage and in fellow first-year offensive star Ezekiel Elliott the future looks incredibly bright.
The Cowboys took care of the Packers in October with a shock 30-16 win on the road where Prescott truly first proved his worth, throwing for 247 yards and three touchdowns and bouncing back from his first NFL interception. Even with previous starter Tony Romo’s return to health, Prescott’s performances have so far silenced every naysayer who has called for Romo to be restored. Elliott shone too in the previous meeting with Green Bay, putting up 157 yards, just two shy of his best effort of the season.
This is another level again, though, and Prescott in particular will have to elevate his game once more. Many quarterbacks have wilted in the post-season presser cooker and while Prescott has shown no signs that he will do likewise, he may just struggle to be brilliant enough to see the Cowboys past Rodgers in this form.