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Gut Feeling: Writers' Final Preview Of Cowboys-Packers

The eighth all-time postseason meeting between the Cowboys and Green Bay Packers has a rich history behind it.

There's the Ice Bowl. The Dez Catch That Wasn't. And Sunday, the Cowboys will look to reach the NFC Championship round for the first time since 1995 when they faced (who else?) Green Bay.

Standing in their way are the Packers led by Aaron Rodgers, who has thrown 19 touchdown passes and no interceptions during a seven-game winning streak.

The Cowboys (13-3) have won seven straight home games since the season opener and beat the Packers at Lambeau Field, 30-16, back in October. Both teams have improved since then.

Who will prevail Sunday? The staff gives their gut feelings for the divisional-round matchup:

Bryan Broaddus: Expect a big game from Sean Lee against the Packers in his first career playoff action. This is the type of game that Lee thrives in where there is a quality quarterback and he's playing the chess game with his reads. I have a feeling that Lee will take advantage of the Packers' lack of foot quickness inside and will punish their inability to get to him. Cowboys win this one 31-27 and advance to the NFC Championship.

Rob Phillips: A football fan really can't ask for a better matchup from a history and star power standpoint. I'm going to state the obvious and say this game points to two key factors: the Packers' ability or inability to slow Ezekiel Elliott and the Dallas running game; and the Cowboys' ability or inability to slow Aaron Rodgers and a Packers passing game that showed it can still pile up yards and points without Jordy Nelson. Red zone defense will be key for both teams, but especially the Cowboys when considering they held the Packers to only one touchdown on four trips in the Week 6 meeting. Rodgers leads the NFL in red zone touchdown passes this season, and Dallas must limit the Packers to field goals. Ultimately I see both teams scoring a lot of points, but the Cowboys' home-field advantage will make a difference here and they'll get just enough stops from their underrated defense to advance.

Nick Eatman: I think people that read my column on Monday have an idea which I was leaning here. Yeah, I'm not blind. I can see how good the Packers have been lately and this doesn't look like the same team we saw in October. But I think the Cowboys have progressed as well. Since that game, the Packers are 8-4. The Cowboys are 8-2 and we all know how interested they were in winning the last game in Philly. I don't think there's any reason not to pick the Cowboys. They've been the best team in the NFC all year. They've already beaten the Packers once, and they've passed every test that has been thrown their way. Sure, Rodgers is great but this defense has answered the bell every time. This team is healthier than they've been all year. So I'm going with the Cowboys. I've got someone named Anthony making a big play. Whether it's Hitchens or Brown – I see one of those guys with a game-changing play. I'm seeing another postseason score from Terrance Williams and at least 7-8 catches from Beasley. Overall, the Cowboys are better and I think Dallas wins this game going away, 37-24.

David Helman: My entire outlook on this season changed in mid-October, when I picked the Cowboys to lose to Green Bay up at Lambeau Field. It had been an impressive 4-1 start, but surely Aaron Rodgers would put an end to the feel good story, right? Well, we all know how that turned out. Two rookies and a surprisingly ferocious defense dominated the Packers. It wasn't even as close as the 30-16 score indicated. So here we are again – same matchup, way more on the line. I don't think you can deny that Aaron Rodgers is the best player on the field in this matchup. The guy is unreal, and he's going to hit this defense for several big plays. But here's the thing I keep going back to: the Cowboys have the advantage at literally every other position on the field. They have a better defense. They allow fewer points. They have a more dynamic offense and a better offensive line. Their top receiver, Dez Bryant, is 100 percent and ready to go, while his counterpart, Jordy Nelson, has been ruled out. Aaron Rodgers is capable of winning this game on his own, but it just sounds like such a tall task. We know the Cowboys can run the ball to shorten the game and keep Rodgers off the field. We also know that if the Packers commit to stopping Ezekiel Elliott, Dak Prescott is capable of getting the ball to Dez, Cole Beasley and Jason Witten in favorable matchups. I think ultimately the Cowboys offense is too much for Green Bay to deal with. Rodgers is going to try valiantly, and he's going to put up 385 yards and three touchdowns in an amazing effort. But Zeke's 38 total touches and 215 all-purpose yards is going to carry the day. Dallas advances to the NFC Championship Game in a 31-27 win.

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