Entering week four of the NFL season, there were five undefeated teams in the league. Entering week five there are only three as both the Green Bay Packers and Dallas Cowboys suffered their first losses last week.
Now these two teams go head-to-head in Arlington (4:25 PM ET Sunday) with both looking to get back into the win column and show that last week’s losses were just a fluke.
Week Four Woes – The Dallas Cowboys
On paper, the Cowboys’ match-up with the New Orleans Saints seemed highly favorable to Dallas. The Cowboys had been playing exceptionally well all season long, were among the top offenses in the NFL and were finding success behind Dak Prescott. He recorded perfect or near perfect passer ratings in his first two games this NFL season. Everything had been going right for Dallas, including the fact that their NFC East counterparts were struggling to pick up wins, just two among the remaining three teams in the division.
There was also the fact that regular Saints’ signal caller and future Hall of Famer Drew Brees, had been injured a few weeks before. So in what otherwise might have projected to be a close game, the Cowboys found themselves pretty decent-sized favorites against Teddy Bridgewater’s team. It turns out the game was a close one but not in the way Dallas would have hoped. After taking a 3-0 lead into the second quarter, the Cowboys failed to score again in the half. Defensively, their team played exceptionally well, holding New Orleans to a trio of field goals and giving top rusher Alvin Kamara his lowest output of the season. The Saints defense, which has risen to one of the best in the NFC over the past several years, played better. They held one of the NFL’s other leading rushers, Ezekiel Elliott, to just 35 yards on 18 carries and contributed to Prescott’s first zero touchdown game of the season.
The Cowboys did score their only touchdown on an Elliott run but a Will Lutz field goal sealed it for the Saints. Despite them not scoring a touchdown themselves, New Orleans won with a final score of 12-10.
Still 3-1, this loss might just be chalked up as a fluke. Perhaps it was a game the Cowboys overlooked given it was Bridgewater and not Brees under center. Perhaps it was just a tough game on the road. Or perhaps, it was symptomatic of a bigger issue for the Cowboys.
In their first three games, during which the Cowboys scored 97 points, Dallas played teams that have a combined two wins, and both of those belong to the New York Giants. The Cowboys opened their season with the Giants and played a fantastic game. It was Prescott’s best game as well, maybe not just of the season but of his young career. Then something happened. As the opponents arguably got easier, an 0-4 Washington Redskins team followed by an 0-4 Miami Dolphins team, Prescott’s numbers dipped. Now, he had a perfect passer rating in week one so it makes sense that would go down, but maybe not by as much as it did. Prescott went from 158.3 to 123.5 to 91.4 and finally 73.2 against the Saints. He threw four touchdowns in week one, followed by three, then two then zero by the time of the Saints game. He went from throwing no interceptions in week one to one each in his last three games.
Unfortunately for the Cowboys, their schedule is only about to get more difficult and it might be time to face the reality that they weren’t as good as they thought they were. If Prescott continues to regress, the Cowboys won’t have an easy time of it. After the Packers this Sunday, they get the Philadelphia Eagles, Minnesota Vikings, Detroit Lions, New England Patriots and Buffalo Bills in five of the next six games.
Week Four Woes – The Green Bay Packers
The Packers suffered arguably the worst loss of their season and it wasn’t the game they dropped thanks to Aaron Rodgers’ first interception of the year. Sure the way Green Bay lost to the Eagles last week wasn’t exactly the easiest pill to swallow, but it was the injury to star wide receiver Davante Adams that hurt the most. Adams was having a career game: 10 catches, 15 targets, 180 receiving yards. No doubt the Packers would have looked to target him with the game on the line and with the way his day was going, he probably would have caught the game-winning touchdown. As it was, Adams left the game with a toe injury and could not return. Entering this pivotal match-up with the Cowboys, they will most likely be without Adams again.
As far as the game itself, there really wasn’t much offensively the Packers should have done differently. Rodgers threw for 422 yards and rushed for another 46. The rest of the running game was quite paltry but Rodgers was really at his finest until the end. Neither team scored much after the second quarter (20 points for the Packers and 21 for the Eagles in the first half) but when they did score, it came as the game teetered back and forth. It was Philadelphia with the only fourth quarter points, a touchdown by Jordan Howard, that made the difference.
Aside from the loss of Adams, it seems more likely that the Packers week four loss can be chalked up to being a one-off compared to the Cowboys. For starters, the Packers three wins have come against teams with five wins, not two. Only one of their wins has come against a winless team, compared to two for the Cowboys. Perhaps most importantly, while Rodgers did throw an interception, his first of the year, otherwise, it was one of his best games. As far as yards go, Rodgers’ 422 shattered his season high before that of 235, a high that has climbed every week so far.
Our Betting Preview’s Green Bay Packers vs Dallas Cowboys Predictions & Picks Verdict
In week four, the Cowboys lost on the road and the Packers lost at home. It was the Packers who lost playing closer to how they have all season whereas the Cowboys failed to find any offense against a team playing with a back-up quarterback. Should one loss be viewed as worse than the other? Perhaps. Maybe that is why the Cowboys, back at home, enter as three-point favorites with the majority of the trustworthy U.S. sportsbooks in this one. While Adams’ absence can’t be ignored, I still like the Packers in this one. These are our Green Bay Packers vs Dallas Cowboys predictions:
- The initial of the picks is to bet Green Bay +3pts @ best odds of +105 with Bookmaker. It is +100 (evens) with Bovada, Intertops & BetOnline.
- Turning to the total points liable to be scored in this NFL matchup, this preview likes over 47pts @ best odds of -105 with Bovada or Bookmaker.
Marilee writes on NFL, MLB & 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.