I am heading up to Green Bay today. Joining some friend for a weekend of football and shenanigans. It is like a return to the scene of the crime from last year's Cowboys game. It should be the same result except I can do with a little less of the drama that usually surrounds a weekend with the boys.
I am expecting the game to be tougher than people expect (people at work that is cuz a lot of them have given up on the Packers and say they won't even watch). In a poll by the local paper, 76% of people think the Cowboys win with a whopping 55% say the Cowboys win big. The disgruntlement of the fans in Wisconsin has not waned during the week. They are barely responding to any football medication. It could be the last couple beeps on the machine before a flat line if the Packers lose.
The Packers should lose. The Cowboys are a better team. There is only one position where the Packers are better. Unfortunately for them, that position has been meaningless over the last 2 season when they play the Cowboys. That is at cornerback. At every other position, offensive line, defensive line, linebackers, running back, QB, safeties, WRs, TE, the Cowboys either have an advantage or it is a push.
Charles Woodson is still playing great football after all these years. Al Harris? Not so much. But who are you going to have Woodson cover? Austin or Williams? That leaves Harris to cover the other guy assuming they go man to man. That leaves a safety or linebacker on Witten and Crayton. I will take that matchup every day of the week and twice on Sunday.
But it gets even trickier. One of the successes of the Cowboys has been the 4th and 5th receiver. Sam Hurd and Kevin Ogletree have made catches when their number was called. This is something I as a long time Cowboys fan haven't seen much of and welcome it immensely. Especially Ogletree. The guy was inactive for the first 7 weeks and comes up with two big plays against the Eagles. Shocked they even threw him the ball let alone him making a play.
But that is what this game comes down to. Big plays. The Cowboys need a repeat performance from the defense in the Philly game. If they stop the Packers from any big plays, they will win easily. If they cannot stop the big play at all, it will become a shootout because I can't see the Packers stopping Romo and the Cowboys offense.
Toss in the other factors facing the Packers and I expect the game to be close. The Packers are the dog that is backed into the corner. Do they come out fighting or do they wimper and lay down? Some might call this a "letdown" game for the Cowboys after a big victory. That term is used by bad gamblers who need to convince themselves to make a bet. This Cowboys team is different from those of the past. Their heads are not swelled up. They have players who think team and not me. Guys like Ratliff, Brookings, and James are setting the tone in the locker room and saying the right things. On the other side of the ball Barber and the offensive line are looking for the kill at the end of the game by running the ball down the throat of the defense. Things are quite different and for the better.
All that said, again I expect the Cowboys to win, but I wouldn't be shocked- just extremely disappointed- if the Packers mustered something up and won. They are not as bad as people say but they aren't as good as the preseason chatter. Home field is a huge factor here as always. It will be interesting to see how people act before the game and if they stay til the end or leave midway through the 4th. Personally I think they should stay til the last second to enjoy the game.
Good luck to my Packers friends. Enjoy the game. GO COWBOYS!!!