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Packers Undefeated at Home, Cowboys Undefeated on the Road, Something's Gotta Give

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Packers Undefeated at Home, Cowboys Undefeated on the Road, Something's Gotta Give

Green Bay Packers defensive lineman Mike Daniels and running back Eddie Lacy celebrate at Lambeau Field by Benny Sieu—USA TODAY Sports.

Green Bay Packers defensive lineman Mike Daniels and running back Eddie Lacy celebrate at Lambeau Field by Benny Sieu—USA TODAY Sports.

When the Dallas Cowboys defeated the Detroit Lions 24-20 on Sunday in the wildcard round of the playoffs, it assured the Cowboys would travel to Lambeau Field for the divisional round as the highest-seeded winner in the NFC.

That win, even though it came at AT&T stadium in Arlington, Tex. where the Cowboys lost four games this season, made an impression on Packers head coach Mike McCarthy.

"The thing that I've been really impressed with and was evident in the Detroit game was they were down 14-0, and they just keep battling," said McCarthy. "They had a lot of big plays go against them. So they have that mental toughness to just keep going.

"You don't win eight games on the road without that, that's for sure. This will be a big challenge, but this is definitely something that jumps off the stat sheet when you see the eight wins on the road."

Remarkably, the Cowboys have been undefeated as the visiting team this season, and they'll take on a Packers team this upcoming weekend that's undefeated at home. 

Sunday Jan. 11 will mark the first time in NFL history that a team that went 8-0 at home in the regular season is hosting a team that went 8-0 on the road.

Although he's biased and his job description is primarily concerned with stopping the opposing team's offense, Packers defensive coordinator Dom Capers thinks the key is the Cowboys rushing attack.

"I think what they've done speaks volumes," said Capers. "They've won every game on the road. They're obviously a good road team, and I guess it starts with their ability to run the ball, having a really good offensive line."

The Cowboys finished as the NFL's second ranked rushing offense, averaging 147.1 yards per game on the ground. Dallas running back DeMarco Murray, a Pro Bowler and first-team All-Pro selection, led the league in rushing 1,845 yards.

"I think he's a combination of size, I think he's got good vision and instincts," said Capers. "I think this offense is kind of built for him too."

It's been Murray and the Cowboys rush offense that's spurred them onto outscoring opponents 275 to 181 on the road this season.

Even Packers wide receiver Jordy Nelson, someone who is generally unconcerned with the Cowboys offense, recognized the strength of their team.

"They're a good football team," said Nelson. "The way they run the ball and are able to play defense, you're going to win games on the road. They've won some very quality games on the road. But we're very good at home, and it's just going to make for a good match-up.

"We're going to have to come out and execute. These games are going to come down to execution. Whoever takes care of the ball and probably scores the most in the red zone is going to win it."

As Nelson notes, however, the Packers are pretty darn good when playing in the confines of Lambeau Field, outscoring opponents 318 to 163, outpacing the Cowboys' impressive output both offensively and defensively.

The traditional advantage the Packers have playing at home is that they're accustomed to the cold weather, which may or may not be all that favorable of a situation as many make it out to be.

On one hand, the Cowboys have not played a game below 35 degrees this season. On the other hand, even though the Packers are used to the cold weather, they have yet to play in one of those memorable bitterly freezing games yet this season either.

"We're going to have to deal with it," said Nelson. "If it gets too cold, which I don't think it's supposed to, it'll be new for us, especially this year, we've been very fortunate with our weather. But it will be an adjustment for them. But I think once the game gets going, it'll be fine."

A streak is going to come to an end on Sunday.

All things being equal, however, the Packers are grateful not to be in the Cowboys' shoes.

“It’s great to be playing at home, we prefer to play here,” said McCarthy. “This is playoff football and everything changes. But this is definitely where we want to play.”

 

Brian Carriveau is the author of the book "It's Just a Game: Big League Drama in Small Town America," and editor at Cheesehead TV and its "Pro Football Draft Preview." To contact Brian, email [email protected].

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (36) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Ibleedgreenmore's picture

We waited all year to get here. Make it count, every second do all you can to win baby.

Evan's picture

"On the other hand, even though the Packers are used to the cold weather, they have yet to play in one of those memorable bitterly freezing games yet this season either."

It wasn't "bitterly freezing," I guess, but the Lions game Week 17 was pretty damn cold. 21 degree windchill at kick-off only dropped as the sun set.

That might turn out to be balmy with what Sunday's forecast is.

RCPackerFan's picture

And, the last time I saw the forecast the weather will be very similar to that. around upper teens possibly low 20's.

RCPackerFan's picture

Yeah, I have seen the temp changing a bit. Every time I have seen the weather though they have said its going to be little wind.

This is a dangerous game for the Packers. IMO, there are 3 contenders in the NFC. Seattle, Green Bay, and Dallas. All 3 have a chance to make it to the Super Bowl.

I agree that Dallas has the run game that could give the Packers defense fits. But the Packers run defense has really improved since Clay was shifted to ILB.
Also don't sleep on the Packers run game either. With the bye Lacy should be a little rested, and they still have Starks as a change of pace.

White92's picture

Yep. If I recall correctly the end of the Patriots game got pretty cold as well.

cinpackback's picture

Focus on the game and, as my Wisconsin Grandfather used to say, don't talk "smart".

Duke Divine's picture

34-20 Pack.

Flow49's picture

Dallas media is so scared of the cold, listening to them they're more scared of 16 degrees Fahrenheit than they are of Rodgers, Nelson, Lacy, Cobb, Matthews, ect... Can't wait for Rodgers and Co to show them how misplaced their fear is, go pack go!!

Tarynfor12's picture

I don't think weather is as great an equalizer or advantage to one over another...especially in light of some recent history.

Flow49's picture

Very true, but all those teams that gave us trouble in Lambeau had 1 theme in common: elite pass rushers and a terrific front seven. I don't think Dallas has that, which gives me confidence.

Spud Rapids's picture

Does anyone else think Romo is banged up? He made some terrible throws in that lions game. I can't imagine the cold helping his back at all.

DrealynWilliams's picture

I was thinking the same thing. A few of his passes skipped the ground. Straight nose dive.

4thand1's picture

He got hit on his throwing hand. I think he was throwing some passes low to avoid an int. But a lot of his passes didn't seem to have much zip on em.

Nick Perry's picture

He finished with 1% point higher. The Buffalo game was the game that killed Rodgers, especially after Romo had a 18 of 20 game W/4 TD the following week. The reason Rodgers didn't finish on top wasn't even his fault. 5 Interceptions the entire season and 4 were tipped balls, not his fault.

4thand1's picture

You're sounding fishy here, praising Romo and bragging Dallas's road record. They had 1 signature win, Seattle. Tenn, Jack, Rams, Giants, Wash, Philly, and the Bears. Nothing to brag about here.

4thand1's picture

Getting fishier by the second. You're not stroh by a long shot. Next you'll be telling us how Dallas will run away with the game. I knew you couldn't stay away.

Nick Perry's picture

I was just pointing out just HOW good Rodgers has been this year. I know all QB's have tipped balls, it's part of the game. That's exactly what makes the season Rodgers put up all the better. The one pick he did throw, the one in Buffalo where the corner stepped in front of Cobb was really the only interception that was "ON" Rodgers.

I think it's also safe to assume had Rodgers not been pulled in the many "Blowouts" they had at Lambeau, he'd have gained the one % point to pass Romo in QB Rating.

Tundraboy's picture

Never watched Romo until lions game but he threw a ton of ugly passes. Made me appreciate Rodgers all the more. Don't know if he is hurt, or it was Lions D but I hope to see him play the same.

Allan Murphy's picture

Hears hoping the Packers are really hungry lets eat ! Go Pack Go !!!!!!

4thand1's picture

What happened to all the trolls? Apparently there were a few lolion and viqueens, but the bear trolls just gave up. Guess that's what happens when the Packers end up 12-4 and favored again this weekend.

murphy's picture

Reading your posts makes me wonder if this is what Mirror Universe Cow would be like. You know, the goateed Cow that likes the Packers.

4thand1's picture

There's no way in hell he could have stayed away.

4thand1's picture

There's no way in hell he could have stayed away.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

"Now it seems that the Packers coaches also think it will be a very difficult game due to the cowboys running game (and prowess on the road this year which I mentioned)."

Jeez, did you think MM was going to say that Dallas would be a cakewalk?

Nick Perry's picture

I'm sick of hearing about Dallas's OL and Running Game. Last I checked, especially the last 8 weeks of the season, the Packers are pretty good in that department as well. Matter of fact the last 8 games of the season Murray wasn't nearly as effective as he was the first 8 games.

Take a look at Lacy's stats the last 8 weeks of the season. He averaged over 6 YPC in 2 games and 5 YPC in 3 games. Lacy is also fresh compared to Murray. The Packers always seem to come out at home and force 3 and outs the first few series and then start fast on offense. If that happens this weekend the Cowboys will never catch them. I also imagine the Packers OL and RB's are pretty damn sick about hearing how great the Cowboys are, I know I am. I just don't see the Cowboys stopping the Packers offense, not at home.

Side Note: I hope we see very little of A.J. Hawk on Defense this game. I've watched him get blown back by to many WR and RB this year to feel comfortable stopping Murray.

RCPackerFan's picture

Yeah, I agree with you on the Packers OL and RB's.

This is probably the best OL the Packers have had since Rodgers has been QB. And Lacy is the late season pounding type of RB you need to go through the playoffs. He is a different runner in December/January then he is in August/September. He is a RB that players don't want to tackle with his bruising style. Also don't forget we have Starks as a change of pace, who can be very effective.

Nick Perry's picture

Absolutely, I think both Packers backs could have "Big" games, great point Starks.

RCPackerFan's picture

I think so as well...

And lets not forget the change of pace that the RB's have when Cobb shifts in there for a few plays. Even if he doesn't take handoff's he can be a threat as a receiver out of the backfield. It gives the defense a different look and can create some good mismatches.

Tundraboy's picture

Thanks for being the first to say that. We are pretty dam good, they will find that out Sunday. Hope to see the Lacy Starks combo a bit

Tundraboy's picture

Go Pack Go

I'm Dunn's picture

Two good teams are going to go at each other this weekend. Hey, it's the playoffs. All things being equal, our QB 1 trumps their QB and our running game is equal to the Cowboys. Plus, we have extensive playoff experience. I like the Pack's chances here. A close one, but a Green Bay win.

The GrEEn kNiGhT's picture

I just hope all this focus on stopping the run doesn't hurt us against the pass and playaction. Dez and Terrance are dangerous. And I really pray that special teams has cleaned up their acts!

joe packer's picture

so much talk about home field advantage, and the Pack draws a team that's undefeated away and only 500 at home. the team that came a triple blown call from losing to the lions will not be the team they face Sunday.

4thand1's picture

They will be worse. Murry will put it on the ground a time or two.

egbertsouse's picture

Hopefully all the bad press the NFL is getting for jobbing Detroit will make the striped shirts behave this game. Unless Jerry starts having a temper tantrum....

4thand1's picture

You know things are going bad when the prez chimes in.

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