Key Battles-Packers vs Cowboys: Searching for Difference Making Stars on America's Game of the Week

Today we discuss the key battles that will determine the outcome in big D.

The Packers face their first real adversity of the season in this week 5 showdown with the Cowboys.  The team is coming off of a loss that saw them get pounded on the ground as well as on the injury report.  In my mind, this game will be decided by 4 key factors: controlling the point of attack, having young receivers step up, containing and stopping the run during pivotal points in the contest, and winning the field position battle.

With this in mind here are the key battles I believe will determine the outcome of this game:

1. Kenny Clark vs. Travis Frederick:

This will be the second time in as many weeks the Packers will be facing an elite offensive line that is more than capable of controlling the game in the trenches.  In my opinion, this game is a non-starter if Dallas's offensive line dominates the point of attack and shuts Kenny Clark out.  Kenny Clark is the point man of the Packers defense and has to show that he is an all-pro player by making plays against another all-pro caliber player in Travis Frederick (it's really just that simple).  If Clark can penetrate the center/left A-Gap it will set up his teammates to make plays and give the Packers a fighting chance to contain Zeke.  

2. Montravius Adams vs. Ezekiel Elliot:

Adams is listed as questionable for Sunday's battle in big D but sounds like he is intent on trying to give it a go.  In the Packers week 1 win against the Bears, they were able to stifle the running game of David Montgomery, Tarik Cohen, and Cordarrelle Paterson because of the play of Montravius Adams.  Sunday's matchup against Zeke and the Cowboys will show us whether Montravius Adams is ready to step up into the role of grave digger 2.0 for the Packers defense.

3. Aaron Jones vs. The Cowboys front seven:

Aaron Jones said that playing in Dallas always feels like home.  Sunday, he will have to prove that he can shoulder the load and make plays in the backfield as well as in the screen game.  Look for Jones's role in the backfield to increase as a runner as well as a safety net for Rodgers in the passing game.  In order for the Packers to have a chance late, the Packers will need 25 touches, 100+ all-purpose yards and a touchdown from Jones.  

4. Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Jimmy Graham vs. Byron Jones, Xavier Woods, and Jeff Heath:

This is a big game for MVS no matter how you slice it.  The kid needs to grow up and become a man in Sunday's contest in order for the Packers to have a vertical threat down the field.  For MVS, this will be a chance for him to develop sustained consistency because he will be relied on to make more than just 1 or 2 plays in order for the Packers to have a chance to win this game.   The key to Jimmy Graham's success will be his ability to read the Cowboys defense (linebackers and safeties) and look for soft spots and cushions in their coverage.  Graham needs to read the defense and provide Rodgers with quick and safe throws which should make him a volume receiver in tomorrow's contest.

5. JK Scott vs. The Endzone:

I anticipate this game will have phases in which the defenses will dominate which will cause the Packers offense to stall and have some three and outs.  This is where JK Scott can be a valuable weapon by unleashing his leg and racking up some long, high punts inside the Cowboys 20-yard line.  The height on Scott's punts will be key to hiding the deficiencies in the coverage game and the length on his punts will provide the Packers defense with a little bit of a cushion in case they give up a first down or two.  

Prediction:

I just don't see a way in which the Packers can win this game with their run defense struggling the way that it is and being without Davante Adams.  Adams has been a key factor in the games in which the Packers offense has been productive.  Without Adams in the lineup, I see the Packers struggling to consistently move the ball.  I think the Cowboys roll in this one by a score of 28-17.          

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David Michalski is a staff writer for Cheesehead TV. He can be found on Twitter @kilbas27dave 

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Comments (27)

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Bearmeat's picture

October 05, 2019 at 11:30 am

Agreed. None of the matchups favor GB. Except Z vs the backup LT. And that's not enough. Then again, this is the NFL... so anything can happen.

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Old School's picture

October 05, 2019 at 01:38 pm

If the Packers are going to win this game........

X. Packer Run Defense has to show up. If that doesn’t happen, nothing else matters.

X. Winning the turnover battle would really help, and stripsacks and interceptions need to be part of this game.

X. Rodgers needs to have a “I’m an MVP” type game like last week. The protection has been adequate. He has some good skill position people. We need the 30 points offense.

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murf7777's picture

October 05, 2019 at 09:00 pm

Interesting stat in the philly game is we controlled the clock even thou they ran 170+ yards. If we win the TO game and finish our drive I think we will be fine even if they run 150+ yards.

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Flow49's picture

October 05, 2019 at 11:40 am

I think we’re giving a lot more credit to the Cowboys than they deserve. They didn’t play a decent team until week 4 and that team was playing with a back up qb that hadn’t seen significant time since 2017... their defense is a question mark at best and the offense has holes. Maybe the packers lose, maybe win but we really don’t know what the Cowboys are because they haven’t been tested more than once. And they failed that test last week.

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Nick Perry's picture

October 06, 2019 at 04:09 am

I agree with this to a point...I don't believe the Cowboys are nearly as good as some have suggested either, but their defense is actually pretty good.

The Packers win if they can take advantage of the Cowboys offensive tackles. Stockholder suggested a 4-3-4 defense which may not be a bad idea. The Saints played them with a 6 man front much of the game and the Packers could do the same with Adams back at DT. Pettine could play the Smiths at OLB or Z Smith and Gary moving around at DE or OLB. They DO have some versatility.

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Sureshot's picture

October 05, 2019 at 11:42 am

I see a way to win this game
Win the takeaways battle.

If the offense take care of the football while the defense manage to put their hands on 2 or 3, it can propel us on the scoreboard and force Dallas to abandon the run.

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Sureshot's picture

October 06, 2019 at 04:09 pm

That was basically the plan ;-)

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cheesehead1's picture

October 05, 2019 at 11:56 am

Our D must step up and pressure Dak and get a turnover or two. On O with no Davante, let’s get Kumerow and Shephard more involved. Graham isn’t the answer anymore. Go Pack and pull off another road upset!

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ILPackerBacker's picture

October 05, 2019 at 12:07 pm

Don't worry, the smart guys here, like A Nagler say the WR corp is just fine

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

October 05, 2019 at 12:17 pm

GB needs to run at Quinn and Sean Lee. Avoid Maliek Collins. Go at DT Antuan Woods when he is on the field. Vander Esch is dynamic and makes some great plays, though he will miss some tackles. Byron Jones moved from Safety to CB in 2018 and excelled. Heath and Woods are okay at safety (allowing Jones to move). Pick on Awuzie, even though he isn't bad.

LG Connor Williams and OC Frederick haven't played well in 2019. GB needs to blow up the middle (Martin is good despite hurting) plus whatever Smith and Smith can bring.

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jannes bjornson's picture

October 05, 2019 at 05:00 pm

Good report. Kamara beat them in the passing game and Jones can do the same thing. Jackson has to show up for the defense.

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dobber's picture

October 05, 2019 at 06:11 pm

The Saints played a lot of 2 TE sets last week and they used many of the same kinds of run schemes the Eagles did vs. the Packers. Kamara kept the chains moving.

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Nick Perry's picture

October 05, 2019 at 12:59 pm

IF the Packers had that reliable 2nd WR I'd feel much better about this game. THIS is the game that Gute needs to take a hard look at exactly what he has behind Adams and how they perform, especially in BIG moments.

The Cowboys may or may not win but I don't think their the "Powerhouse" so many have made them out to be. IF the Packers can hold Elliott to say 100 yards on 25 carries or so, I'd say they have one hell of a chance to win this game.

Jimmy Graham...USE BOTH HANDS each time you catch the ball. USE Mercedes Lewis and Big Bob Tonyon is the passing game as well. USE Sheppard on a jet sweep or two, even though it's tough to run outside on a defense this fast. Who knows though, a block here, a move there, and Shepard could be gone. It wouldn't hurt to throw him the damn ball too. THIS is a game Rodgers needs to get over those "Trust Issues" and just throw the damn ball.

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Tarynfor12's picture

October 05, 2019 at 01:11 pm

" THIS is a game Rodgers needs to get over those "Trust Issues" and just throw the damn ball."

Which has been more detrimental to GB over the many years of talking/hearing about it?

A) McCarthy's Quarterback School
B) Rodgers School of Trust
C) Both

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murf7777's picture

October 05, 2019 at 09:16 pm

Graham I think had a very good game and if he continues With that type of play he will be fine. No he’s not like his younger days but he was stretching the field and catching a couple passes in the middle as well. In looking at both of the one handed non completions it seems that the one he had one arm being held and on the other one his body was turned and couldn’t get his other hand on the ball. I really don’t think he’s trying to just catch with one hand à la Beckman.

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Slim11's picture

October 05, 2019 at 01:17 pm

1-3...I agree with all you wrote.

4. It's not just MVS and Graham who have to step up, it's the entire WR group. Allison, Kumerow, Shepard and Lazard have to contribute when called upon. The rest of the TE group, Tonyan and Lewis have to do the same. In fact, this might be just as important a game for Tonyan as it is for MVS.

5. Scott will be an important piece. Hopefully, he won't be called upon too much. With his leg, I honestly wonder if hitting the overhead scoreboard is going to be a problem. I remember hearing how Jerry Jones tried to convince punters warming up before a game that attempting to hit the scoreboard was not a welcome incident.

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fastmoving's picture

October 05, 2019 at 02:43 pm

Could be a good thing that AR has to throw to someone else than Adams. The WR Group is more than just fine. Compared to other teams even more so...….
Maybe AR can just hit the open guys…….would help a lot. Especially Aaron himself…… His trust thing is really strange.
WR may be the least need for the team by a big margin and be sure Gute knows it.

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splitpea1's picture

October 05, 2019 at 08:15 pm

AR just has a phobia about throwing interceptions, which for the most part, is a good thing. But you're right: now is the time to loosen up and hit the open guy....

We'll see how much quality depth we have at receiver during Davnate's absence; this is certainly the perfect opportunity for a couple of these guys to shine.

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Tundraboy's picture

October 06, 2019 at 08:37 am

Hope to see Big Bob in Texas,. A lot. Or did I mean Bob's Big boy. Either way use Tonyan.

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Lare's picture

October 05, 2019 at 03:39 pm

Frankly, I think the #2 receiver right now is guys like Aaron Jones, Vitale & Tonyan. Use the short game!

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jannes bjornson's picture

October 05, 2019 at 05:03 pm

Short game and ball control is what Teddy pulled off last week.

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dobber's picture

October 05, 2019 at 05:58 pm

That's the NO offense in general anymore, whether it's Brees or Bridgewater throwing the ball. They only put 12 points on Dallas. They won because they crowded the LOS defensively, and they were +2 in the TO battle.

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stockholder's picture

October 05, 2019 at 05:57 pm

Still believe St.Brown would have been Rodgers #2. Too bad he got hurt. Now will never know. My important match up just isn't in the trenches. I believe this game will rest on how good Savage can play. The Cowboys will be going after him.

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dobber's picture

October 05, 2019 at 06:02 pm

I might be the only one who thinks this game will be a track meet. I think the Packers game plan will be to attack Dallas downfield...and they'll do it with a lot of 12 personnel.

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Lphill's picture

October 05, 2019 at 07:48 pm

Wow the Cowboys beat 3 awful teams that had QB’s making their first starts, and lost to Teddy Bridewater and nobody thinks the Packers can with without Davante Adams, Rodgers will find new targets and light up the Cowboys secondary, let Elliot run all he wants and wind up like Dalvin Cook , a loser.

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4thand10's picture

October 05, 2019 at 10:45 pm

Im kinda hoping Aaron Jones has a good game and Dexter Williams has a breakout welcome to the NFL game. I also hope they leave Danny Vitale in every single offensive snap. If MVS, G MO and touchdown jesus have good games Ill be happy. Sprinkled with Sheppard. On defense id like to see a 3rd DL on the line the whole time ..in more base. The secondary is good enough to play man

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Sureshot's picture

October 06, 2019 at 03:39 am

They brought back Tra Carson from the practice squad so they don't seem very confident in Dexter Williams as a breakout candidate.

Time to unleash Vitale

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