With a four-game winning streak, the Cowboys (4-1) are in the NFC East lead five weeks into the season. The Packers (3-1), winners of two straight, are looking to stay close in the early-season NFC North race.
Can the Cowboys win at Lambeau Field for the first time since 2008? Leading into Sunday's 3:25 p.m. (Central) kickoff against the Packers, here are the gut feelings from staff writers Nick Eatman, Rob Phillips, Bryan Broaddus and David Helman.
Nick Eatman: I know the Cowboys can win this game. I know they can run the ball against this Green Bay defense and something tells me their own defense will be scrappy and sound against the Packers' passing attack. But I've been to Lambeau Field four straight times and have seen the Cowboys come away with a defeat. I know every year is different, but I need to see it first. And personally, the more I hear how much Aaron Rodgers and the Packers' offense is "struggling" the closer I see him passing to 400 yards. All you have to do is poke the bear and the MVP in him will probably come out. Oh, and if that's not enough, he's got Mr. Brett Favre coming to the game to get honored at halftime again. Do you really think Rodgers is going to struggle with Favre in the house? This really isn't a pick against the Cowboys, but more about picking the Packers. As for the quick predictions … give me Dan Bailey making three field goals, an interception by Anthony Brown and two sacks for DeMarcus Lawrence. But for the game, I've got Rodgers leading the Packers to a late touchdown and winning 31-26.
Rob Phillips: The Cowboys have lost four straight games at Lambeau Field dating back to 2009. Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott were in high school then. I doubt they know this stat or care, though. Prescott played in the best conference in college football; Elliott played on the best team in college football. Obviously the Green Bay Packers are a completely different level of opponent, but both rookies feel prepared for this stage – and they clearly don't seem overwhelmed. Like last week against the Bengals, one major key will be how the Cowboys' offensive line controls the line of scrimmage. The Packers' run defense is on a historic pace, but they haven't faced a dominant running game like Dallas' yet. Who blinks first? The other key, of course, is pressuring Aaron Rodgers. The Dez-catch-that-wasn't notwithstanding, Rodgers' time in the pocket was the difference in the Packers' playoff win two years ago. I expect him to have a strong performance at home, as he usually does, but the Cowboys can win with the same formula that's gotten them to 4-1: time of possession advantage with drives that turn into points, not punts. I think it'll be a grind-it-out game in the low-20s and the Cowboys enter the bye week on a five-game win streak.
Bryan Broaddus: It was nice to see DeMarcus Lawrence back in the lineup last week. I thought for his first time out of the blocks he did a nice job of handling his responsibilities rushing. There were back-to-back plays where I thought he was going to finish with a sack on Andy Dalton. It's not many snaps where you see Lawrence get in position and him not able to finish. Look for Lawrence to get more snaps this week, especially off that left side against Bryan Bulaga. My gut feeling is that Lawrence will get his first sack of the season against Bulaga and have several other snaps where his pressure will force Aaron Rodgers into some poor throws. Dallas wins 28-24 with a big-time game from DeMarcus Lawrence.
David Helman: Back when we kicked this season off, I'd never have thought we'd get to Week 6 and I'd be tempted to pick the Cowboys over the Packers – at Lambeau Field. It's a testament to just how impressive this team has been that the Cowboys are only four-point underdogs on the road against Green Bay. We've heard a lot about the matchup of the Dallas run game against the Green Bay defense, and I think that's overblown. I think Ezekiel Elliott and Co. will be just fine running the ball this week, to the tune of roughly 135 total yards. The matchup that matters is the same one that mattered in the 2014 playoffs – Aaron Rodgers against the Dallas pass rush. The Cowboys have looked solid on defense when their offense has been able to dictate a game. But I'm not sure it'll work that way this time around. Even if he's off to a slow start, Rodgers is more than capable of avoiding the rush and moving his team downfield in chunks. He's easily the best quarterback the Cowboys have faced this season. And even with the Dallas defense scoring a rare touchdown, I think Rodgers is good enough to overcome it. He's going to throw for 285 yards, and Eddie Lacy is going to lead the Packers on the ground with 90 yards and a touchdown. These young Cowboys will handle themselves well, but Rodgers will make the difference with a late score to win – something like 27-24.