Big Picture: 5 Storylines For Cowboys & Packers

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Welcome back, Cowboys Nation. The Cowboys return to action in Week 10 ready and rested for the second half of their season after a first half that was full of twists and turns. From Dak Prescott's injury and Cooper Rush's four-game winning streak to the defense's unreal performances, the Cowboys had plenty of storylines in the first eight games.

Now they are set to hit the field again, and what a juicy one it will be against the Packers. The obvious topic will be head coach Mike McCarthy's return to Green Bay for the first time since 2018 where he helped guide them in the 2010 season to a Super Bowl title alongside Aaron Rodgers.

But with the Packers reeling with a five-game losing skid after their latest loss came against the Lions and multiple injuries popping up at key positions, Green Bay sits at 3-6 and on the fringes of the playoff hunt.

Storylines galore awaits this Sunday. Here are the five for each team you need to know before kickoff at Lambeau Field between the two storied franchises.

Cowboys:

  • As was mentioned above, Mike McCarthy will return to Green Bay where he spent 13 seasons as the Packers head coach and guided them to their fourth Super Bowl title in franchise history. McCarthy was naturally asked about his feelings on his return, and while he was emotional at one point, he also reiterated the main goal was for the Cowboys to pick up another win, saying "I really want to win the game…"
  • When we last saw the Cowboys against the Bears they were without several key contributors, including Ezekiel Elliott who was inactive with a knee sprain. Owner and general manager Jerry Jones told 105.3 The Fan on Tuesday he expects Elliott to play on Sunday alongside Tony Pollard in the backfield. Safety Malik Hooker and defensive end Sam Williams are likely to play as well after missing Week 9 with a hamstring and knee injury, respectively.
  • Yes, the Cowboys have rumored to be in on the Odell Beckham Jr. sweepstakes. Nothing has come to fruition yet, but both Jerry Jones and Mike McCarthy have said glowing reports of Beckham Jr. and neither actually dismissed the possibility. The Cowboys are still expected to have reinforcements come their way for Sunday. After sitting out against the Bears with a foot injury, Noah Brown should be good to go against the Packers alongside CeeDee Lamb and Michael Gallup. As for James Washington, he likely won't be able to hit the field this week, but all indications point to him being ready in the very near future.
  • With Elliott out the last time the Cowboys played, Tony Pollard turned in the best performance of his career with three touchdowns and over 130 rushing yards against a less than great Bears' run defense. The Packers have struggled in that department as well, and with Elliott and Pollard both back in the fold this week the Cowboys are primed to have their dynamic backfield duo wreck havoc on Sunday.
  • One of the few struggles the Cowboys have faced offensively this season has been their ability to convert on third down. Even with the return of Dak Prescott in Week 7, the Cowboys still rank in the bottom half of the league in that category. The good news is that since Prescott has come back the Cowboys have converted 14 of 20 third down chances.

Packers:

  • In short, the Packers are really banged up. Linebacker and top pass rusher Rashan Gary was lost for the season with a torn ACL in their loss to the Lions, whereas second-year cornerback Eric Stokes looks like he could miss Sunday's game as well. Rookie wide receiver Romeo Doubs will be out multiple weeks with a high-ankle sprain and running back Aaron Jones might be out as well with a knee injury. Finally, All-Pro tackle David Bakhtiari was held out most of the second half of the Packers' game on Sunday with his long-standing knee injury.
  • The Packers' loss to the Lions proved to be a rather ugly one, as Aaron Rodgers threw three interceptions, two of which came in the red zone. De-facto No. 1 receiver Allen Lazard had four catches for 87 yards and Green Bay's lone touchdown, while the running game provided little in the way of production with Rodgers serving as the leading rusher with 40 yards.
  • In the event that Aaron Jones is not able to play on Sunday, the running back duties will fall squarely on the shoulders of A.J. Dillion. After a strong 2021 campaign, Dillion has been less effective thus far in 2022 by averaging right at four yards a carry with only one touchdown. For an offense that has struggled mightily already and not many passing options, Dillion and possibly Jones will have to do the heavy lifting against a Cowboys' defense that has been vulnerable in the run game.
  • When you think of the Packers, you typically think of Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams with a big-play offense. With Adams no longer in the fold and multiple rookie receivers being relied upon, the Packers have not found their footing offensively with just 17 points a game through nine contests.
  • Though they are battling some key injuries on the defensive side of the ball, the Packers have been one of the more consistent defenses in the league on paper. They rank second in the league in passing yards allowed per game with Jaire Alexander and co. holding down the secondary, an area where the Cowboys have improved offensively in recent weeks.

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