15

December

Packers vs. Cowboys: Keys to the Game

Tony Romo

This guy needs to be on the Packers defense’s most wanted list this Sunday

The Green Bay Packers return to the site of their most recent Super Bowl victory this Sunday: Dallas, Texas and AT&T Stadium (Texas Stadium).  This Packers team looks quite a bit different than the one from three years ago, the biggest difference being that Aaron Rodgers won’t be at quarterback for the Packers.

It was announced on Friday that Rodgers has been ruled out for this week’s game.  Matt Flynn will get another start for the Packers.

As much success as Green Bay has had, as a franchise, over the past two decades, this is a venue that has brought a lot of pain and heartbreak.  The last time the Packers beat the Cowboys in Dallas, Brett Favre was still in college.  So was Emmitt Smith.  It was December 24, 1989, Troy Aikman’s rookie season.

Since then, Green Bay has lost nine straight in Dallas.  Favre never won in Dallas in a Packers uniform.  Rodgers has only played in and appeared in one such game, in late 2007.  Rodgers came in for Favre, who was hurt and played nearly the entire second half.  It was Rodgers’ “coming out” party and even though the Packers didn’t win, they saw what they had in their young backup.  Less than a year later, Favre was a New York Jet and Rodgers was Green Bay’s starting quarterback.

While these are vastly different teams that travel to Texas, I have to wonder how much the mystique of such a long losing streak has on a team.  Just look at the Detroit Lions when it comes to playing at Lambeau Field.  And that’s a divisional matchup to boot!

Somehow, and despite not winning five of their last six games, the Packers are still very much alive in the race to win the NFC North.  With just three games left and a half game between themselves and the Lions and Chicago Bears, Green Bay can’t likely afford many more losses.  I’m speaking purely from a mathematical standpoint there.  In theory, they need to win all three from a record and a confidence point of view.

With Rodgers out, the Pack face another uphill battle to get a tough road win.  Let’s look at the areas that likely factor into this week’s outcome.