. The Dallas Cowboys had little trouble with the Green Bay Packers in October.
Cowboys rookie running back Ezekiel Elliott had a breakout game in what became a 30-16 victory at Lambeau Field. It was the Cowboys’ fifth consecutive win at the time, and marked the beginning of a stretch in which the Packers lost five of six.
But the Packers have recovered and established themselves as true contenders with an impressive 38-13 victory over the New York Giants in the wild-card round on Sunday. That sets up a divisional round game between the Cowboys and Packers at 3:40 p.m. next Sunday at AT&T Stadium.
"We've got to start faster. Dallas is a great football team. Dak (Prescott) and Zeke have been playing great all season. They are tremendous players. They aren't playing like rookies. They're both in the MVP conversation,” Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers said. “We can't let them run behind that big offensive line, and we've got to start fast and make them as one dimensional as possible."
Here’s what the other Packers had to say about a rematch against the Cowboys:
Wide receiver Davante Adams: “We’re ready, man. We’ve got to get back in the film room and have a great week of preparation. We’re rolling right now and that table is not done being ran. So we’ve got to keep that going for a few more games and then we’ll get what we want in the end. We’ve got to keep at it, keep playing well in all three phases and I think we’ll like where we’ll be at.”
Right tackle Bryan Bulaga on Packers’ offense now compared to October: “A lot more efficient. Found our identity through that rough patch that we hit, kind of in that middle of the season. We didn’t really have an identity. We weren’t playing well. We weren’t executing. These last six weeks we’ve found something and obviously our defense is playing really well to boot. I think if you look at both teams, both teams have improved from when we first met, so it’s going to be a hell of a game.”
Defensive end Julius Peppers on Packers’ defense now compared to October: “You want to improve throughout the season and I think that’s where we’re at. We had a little rough stretch there, at the midway point we had a rough stretch, but we stood tall. We trusted the process and I think now we’re better because of it, especially on the back end.”
Defensive tackle Letroy Guion on facing Cowboys: “It’s a great challenge for us. We’re looking forward to it. We’re going to look at the film, see what we did last time, capitalize off our mistakes and hopefully we’re going to take it to the next level this time.”
Defensive end Kenny Clark on Elliott: “The O-line does a great job blocking for him and he’s a great back. … Just as you seen this year, he exploded. He’s a doing a really good job, offensive line is doing a really good job, Dak is doing a really good job. But just like every game in season, it starts with stopping the run and we’ve got to stop the run and just play our style.”
Defensive back Micah Hyde: “We knew in the back of our heads that we wanted to see them again. It’s not a revenge or anything like that. We wanted to see them again. We know they’re obviously the No. 1 seed they had a very good football season, so it’s going to be a great game.”
Wide receiver/running back Ty Montgomery: “It’s going to be a fun game. It’s going to be a tough match-up.”
Linebacker Clay Matthews: "They're obviously the No. 1 seed for a reason. They have a tremendous team. I mean, I could go down the list of what they excel at on offense, but obviously it starts with stopping the run. Great running back, great offensive line, really - so, we'll have our work cut out for us, but we're up for the challenge. Thinking about where we're at with seven [wins] in a row now, hopefully we can take this momentum down to Dallas and steal us a win. So, we'll see."