The Dallas Cowboys are back on the road this week, this time to historic Lambeau Field to face the Green Bay Packers.
The Cowboys are on a four-game losing streak in Green Bay.
The dynamics surrounding the rookie-led Cowboys, however, bring a lot of intrigue to this year’s game.
Here’s five things to watch:
Dak Prescott hasn’t struggled yet. He is seven pass attempts away from tying Tom Brady’s record for most without an interception (162) to start a career. And, with every win, the quarterback controversy debate rages on. If Prescott goes into Lambeau Field and leads the Cowboys to another victory, expect the quarterback talk about Tony Romo’s return schedule to pick up even more than it already has.
Dez Bryant is expected to miss his third consecutive game, and the Cowboys’ receiving corps has shown its depth in filling the void. Terrance Williams is coming off his best game of the season (five catches for 70 yards), and must build on it. Cole Beasley and Jason Witten continue to be underneath targets for Prescott, and Brice Butler has the ability to stretch the field. The receivers must come through, considering the Packers’ top-ranked run defense.
Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers is among the best quarterbacks in the league, and is always a challenge to sack. His strong arm and shiftiness make him dangerous if he escapes the pocket, as defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli said. The Cowboys must get pressure on Rodgers. They’ve sacked him only twice in the past two meetings (2014 postseason, 2015 regular season), although the good news is DeMarcus Lawrence has one sack in each of those games. One game back from suspension, Lawrence is expected to see his snap count increase gradually as the season wears on, and he’ll assure himself of staying on the field if he’s productive in getting to the quarterback.
Cornerback Morris Claiborne has nursed an ankle injury, but is expected to play. That’s a positive; Claiborne has been the Cowboys’ best secondary player this season, and will have his hands full at times going against Rodgers favorite Jordy Nelson. The bigger issue might fall to rookie nickel corner Anthony Brown, who will be responsible for covering Randall Cobb, who is among the best slot receivers in the game. To keep the Cowboys in the game, Brown has to make sure Cobb doesn’t go off.
Lambeau Field is the most historic stadium in the NFL. This is another challenge for rookies Prescott and running back Ezekiel Elliott to handle. The Packers have a strong history at home, of course, and have beaten the Cowboys in the past four meetings at Lambeau Field. The last time the Cowboys won in Green Bay? September 21, 2008, when Tony Romo passed for 260 yards and Marion Barber rushed for 142 in a 27-16 Cowboys victory.