The road to the conference championship for the Green Bay Packers has gone exclusively through the NFC East as last week Green Bay defeated the New York Giants and this week they travel to AT&T Stadium to take on the Dallas Cowboys (4.40pm ET Sunday).
The Packers have been by far the hottest team in football over the last several weeks. After losing four in a row and looking to be out of playoff contention, Aaron Rodgers rallied his troops and they ran off six straight wins to finish the regular season as the best team in the NFC North. They followed this up with a 25-point victory over the Giants, posting 38 points on what had been one of the league’s premier defenses.
Dallas meanwhile, finished the year with two losses in their last three. To be fair, one of these came when they were resting their starters on the last game of the season and the other came against the Giants, which unlike to Green Bay, had been Dallas’ kryptonite. On the year, Dallas lost just three games, all of which came against NFC East opponents.
This preview now sets about analyzing this matchup and, by consequence, working out our Green Bay Packers vs Dallas Cowboys betting predictions and picks.
How Big a Loss is Jordy Nelson?
Last year, the Packers were dealt a devastating blow when top receiver Jordy Nelson went down with an injury and missed the entire season. This year, Green Bay had Nelson back and their offense benefited greatly. In fact, Nelson led all NFL receivers with his 14 touchdowns and was a huge part of the team’s current seven-game winning streak, racking up insane stats and helping lead Green Bay to the postseason alongside Rodgers.
The Packers may have gotten the win against the Giants but their loss came as Nelson sustained a rib injury. At the time of writing this preview, he has been ruled out of Sunday’s game.
Without Nelson, the offense loses one of its best weapons but at the same time, it opens up opportunities for others like Davante Adams (pictured), who broke out for seven receptions, 117 yards and a touchdown vs Dallas two years ago. Then there is Randall Cobb, who made eight catches for 116 in a playoff game against the Cowboys. Cobb also put in big numbers last week, showing versatility by playing in the slot and on the outside.
Green Bay will need both Cobb and Adams to fill the giant hole left by Nelson as a deep, down the field threat. The pair do have the capability as shown last week and given how good Dallas is offensively, it could come down to how well the team adapts and how they play without Nelson.
Key Matchup: LaDarius Gunter vs Dez Bryant
By now, the story has been played to death. Two years ago in the playoffs, Dez Bryant had the infamous non-catch which led to the Cowboys’ losing against the Packers in the divisional round playoff game. He has of course been reminded of it leading up to Sunday’s game and it’s no doubt going to be in the back of his mind. But Bryant has other things to worry about in the form of Giants cornerback, LaDarius Gunter.
If you don’t know the name of LaDarius Gunter, you might want to remember it. The young corner has had a great year and postseason. Faced with covering one of the most explosive receivers in all of football, Gunter held Odell Beckham to just 28 yards on four catches. In short, Gunter is prepared for the challenge Bryant brings.
Our Preview’s Green Bay Packers at Dallas Cowboys Betting Picks & Predictions
Dallas and Green Bay are no stranger to each other, especially as of late and especially in the playoffs. With each encounter the two seem to raise the bar and nothing less should be expected on Sunday. These teams have had great years in different ways and both look poised to have long, successful playoff runs. Only one of them will however and my betting prediction and pick is to take the Packers in the upset. Dallas is favored at home but playoffs tend to favor the teams that are hot and Green Bay is more than hot, they’re smoking.
- Bet on Green Bay Packers +4.5pts @ -105 with BetOnline. It is +4pts for the same betting odds with Bovada.
- As for the total points scored of 51.5pts, both teams have a propensity to put up big numbers on the scoreboard. Go over 51.5pts @ -110 with BetOnline. It is over 52.5pts for the same betting odds with Bovada.
Marilee writes on NFL, MLB, NBA & tennis for USA Betting. Another area of her sporting journalistic expertise is pro wrestling. A native of Philadelphia and a big Eagles fan, she has been a sports writer for many major websites including Bleacher Report and Rant Sports. She started her journalistic career early, as sports editor for her college newspaper.