Early Bird Breakdown Week 5 – Packers @ Cowboys

Hello and welcome back to Early Bird Breakdown. It’s week five of the regular season. Before diving into the breakdown let’s recap last week’s game:

The Recap:

Last week Green Bay hosted the Chicago Bears on Thursday Night Football and blew the doors off of them 35-14. Despite the numerous injuries the Packer starters played with minimal mistakes while the Bears repeatedly had mental miscues and errors (so much so, the Bears starting QB Mike Glennon after the loss lost his job to rookie Mitchell Trubisky). This was also a good week for a Thursday game, as it let Green Bay get a mini bye week with the extra rest for a much tougher game this week.

The Breakdown:

Packers’ Offense vs Cowboys’ Defense:

Good news for the Packers – there is a solid chance both tackles, David Bakhtiari and Bryan Bulaga, could suit up for Green Bay this weekend. While both are still listed as questionable, they were able to practice in pads Thursday though neither will be 100% if they are deemed healthy enough to go. While Dallas does not particularly have a scary pass rush, when Rodgers is upright he can carve up the poor Dallas defense pretty easily just like in the playoffs last season.

With Ty Montgomery almost assuredly out with his rib injury, the Packers game plan should be throwing early and often. Similar to the playoff game, if Green Bay can jump out early it will force Dallas to have to play catch up, and while they nearly did in the playoffs that will be the best gameplan for Green Bay once again.

Also in injury news, Davante Adams is still listed as questionable but he has passed the concussion protocol so he likely will see snaps Sunday.

Packers’ Defense vs Cowboys’ Offense:

Another injured star expected to return for Green Bay is defensive end Mike Daniels. While still listed as questionable officially, Daniels declared yesterday he was, “ready to roll,” for Sunday’s game. The Packers will need Daniels back and ready to go, as every little bit of talent will be needed to penetrate the best offensive line in football. Having said that, there is a crack in the armor – starting left tackle Tyron Smith has not practiced this week due to back stiffness, though I expect he will ultimately play but not at 100%.

While Dallas surprisingly this year has been much more efficient passing than they have been running, the offensive line plus running back Ezekiel Elliott are not to be trifled with and still should be Green Bay’s top priority. While quarterback Dak Prescott has been impressive in his sophomore season and nearly led a playoff comeback against the Packers last season, Elliott is the focal point of the offense and if the Packers frustrate him the offensive chemistry of the team goes way down.

The second priority will be making sure Dez Bryant does not beat them. While Bryant has not had 100 yards receiving in 11 straight regular season games, he still is an athletic weapon that the Packers secondary cannot match one-on-one. If the Packers can double cover him early to get him out of the game plan and force Prescott to throw short passes elsewhere that will go a long way in giving Green Bay the advantage. The last time the Packers played against a competant offensive line with a weapon like Bryant was Atlanta and Packers fans may want to forget that game but it still is an issue.

The Weather:

Dallas plays in a dome so weather is not a factor.

The Prediction:

While Green Bay is still licking their wounds, Dallas is struggling to find consistency and trying to avoid a 2-3 start to the season. The Packers offense should have no issue moving the ball, and with an early lead the Cowboys will be forced to abandon their game plan. I think the Packers are able to put enough pressure on Prescott both defensively and by pulling ahead early that he makes one crucial mistake and Green Bay comes away with a moderate upset on the road, Packers win 34-31.

As always, go Pack go! Stu Weis -Journalism graduate 2012, Carroll University