Two teams looking to bounce back from their first losses of the season match up in Arlington, Texas, Sunday when the Green Bay Packers visit the Dallas Cowboys. Green Bay is coming off a Thursday night home loss to the Philadelphia Eagles, while the Cowboys fell on the road to the New Orleans Saints on Sunday Night Football.
The Packers haven’t had the explosive offense that they’ve been known for the last few years, but their defense has helped them to a 3-1 record and a tie for first place in the NFC North coming into Week 5. The Cowboys are up by a game on Philadelphia and the New York Giants in the NFC East with a 3-1 mark as well.
The moneyline for this contest has the Green Bay Packers +175 and the Dallas Cowboys -200. Dallas is favored by four points at home, with the over/under for the game set at 46.
Aaron Rodgers can usually make things happen with whatever receivers he’s working with — as shown by his 1,069 yards and six touchdowns so far this season — but he’ll definitely miss Davante Adams, who will not play in this one due to a toe injury. That means Marquez Valdes-Scantling (16 catches, 217 yards, one touchdown) and Jimmy Graham (nine catches, 91 yards, two scores) need to play big against a tough Dallas defense.
The Packers’ defense had been dominating in the team’s first three games, but they were shredded by the Eagles, who had 336 yards, including 176 on the ground, in their 34-27 victory. Linebacker Blake Martinez leads the Packers with 47 tackles, more than twice the number of stops than the next best Green Bay defender. He’ll need to play well, especially against the run, if the Packers are going to slow down the Cowboys.
Looking To Bounce Back
The Cowboys’ offense looked unstoppable through the first three weeks of the season, but New Orleans was able to shut down Dallas, holding them to just a single touchdown in a 12-10 victory last Sunday. Dak Prescott has put together his best start to a season, completing 72.4 percent of his passes for 1,143 yards and nine touchdowns. Ezekiel Elliott is starting to get his legs back after his holdout that kept him out of training camp, rushing for 324 yards and three touchdowns.
Dallas has a history with Rodgers, who has pulled out victories in the final minute against the Cowboys in the last two meetings. The Cowboys will have to shut down the Packers’ running game if they’re going to force Rodgers to beat them through the air, which means linebackers Jaylon Smith (36 tackles) and Leighton Vander Esch (32 tackles) must play well. When Rodgers does look to pass, defensive ends Robert Quinn (three sacks) and DeMarcus Lawrence (2.5 sacks) will try to get to him in the backfield.
Cowboys Win Shootout
Both of these teams feature solid defenses, but both also have very strong offenses. Rodgers and Prescott are able to make plays even against some of the better defenses they face, so this one could be a wide-open game. I think the lack of Adams in the lineup for the Packers — and the return of Michael Gallup for the Cowboys — will be the difference in this one. I’m taking Dallas -4 to get back on the winning track.