Pregame: Cowboys Packers 2017 Week 5

The Packers are taking on the Cowboys Sunday in a game that looks a lot more manageable than we thought when the schedule came out. Dallas has not really found their groove yet and a year of film study may have had a role in their slower than expected start. There’s a lot going on and here are the biggest factors to the game.

Aaron Rodgers
So far this season, we’ve been talking about how Rodgers doesn’t seem to have found his full-mojo, table-running, mid-season form… but he’s starting. Wanna see what Aaron Rodgers heating up looks like?

  • Week 1 – 1 touchdown
  • Week 2 – 2 touchdowns
  • Week 3 – 3 touchdowns
  • Week 4 – 4 touchdowns

If that’s not cool enough, how about these passer rating numbers:

  • Week 1 – 86.5 passer rating
  • Week 2 –  90.7 passer rating
  • Week 3 – 102.6 passer rating
  • Week 4 – 128.0 passer rating

We’ve talked about it before, but Rodgers hasn’t been all-world so far this year… but he’s warming up. maybe this week he really blows up and keeps the trend going with 5 scores and a 150 rating.

Offensive Line
Here’s something else we’ve talked about before. This week, we might have some good news, though, with Bakhtiari and Bulaga maybe coming back. If this team got some wins against sub-par opponents with backup guards playing tackle, hopefully they can get a win against a good team with their stud tackles back. These guys have had plenty of rest and are practicing. If they can start and finish this game, it should give Rodgers plenty of time to pick apart a Dallas defense that has not looked like the 2016 edition.

Defensive Line
Maybe Mike Daniels comes back this week, too. Kenny Clark and Dean Lowry have been quietly owning the trenches. They eat up double teams, stay on their spot, collapse the pocket, and clog running lanes. However, they don’t make a lot of flashy plays – not that I’m complaining. I’m just trying to say that Mike D does and if he can come back while those guys are playing at that level, the Dallas line won’t be able to contain them they way they’ve been playing. There’s a lot more to this story, though, so check out yesterday’s column.

CM3 Renaissance
Oh yeah, and this guys is healthy and dominating. Plus Tyron Smith has been having back problems. I feel bad for anyone with back problems, but my pity won’t keep Clay Matthews from wrecking your sh!t.

Ezekiel Elliott
This clown is only getting 3.6 yards per carry. I’m not gonna compare that to Ty Montgomery, but I will say that it’s 1.5 yards per carry less than this respecter of women got last year.

Home Field Advantage
The Packers have never lost in this stadium… not even when Matt Flynn was down by 23 at the half. I don’t read anything at all into this, but I think it’s funny.

Predictions
I think Rodgers gets his tackles back and they give him time to pick apart a Dallas defense that, while talented, doesn’t look like it has gelled yet (especially without Sean Lee). The Packers run game showed surprising life last week against a solid defense, but I would rather depend on quick passes to move, given how banged up their backs are (I know there’s an Aaron Jones lovefest going on right now, but I’m not there yet). Adams wants to play, but will probably be held out. I really like him, but he’s much easier to replace than Jordy or Cobb – Geronimo should do just fine thank you. Maybe Marty lights up one of his other former teams – he did decent last week against a former team and Jaylon Smith doesn’t seem to have refined his coverage game at the pro level just yet. I want to believe that Bennett’s going to click with Rodgers, but, even if the numbers are in the same ballpark as they were with Jared Cook last year, it just doesn’t feel the same. It doesn’t feel like it’s just a matter of time, either – it feels more like wavering hope. On the other side, the Dallas offense has been inconsistent. It has the firepower to break out at any time, but if Daniels comes back, that front box should be wrecking everything and the secondary, continually switching pieces around looking for the best fit, has been pretty good (5th in passing yards allowed, T-4th passing TDs allowed, even if they haven’t faced a lot of all stars). This one actually feels like the Seattle matchup where a strong team from last year is playing kinda weak early. I think Rodgers throws a few touchdowns and the defense comes out playing with an attitude. Mike Daniels gets a couple tackles for loss and Nick Perry bullrushes for a sack and some pressure. Josh Jones probably does something splashy, too. Oh, and Dez drops one.

Packers 27, Cowboys 17

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