FRISCO, Texas – Here are my two biggest keys for determining a winner this weekend when the Cowboys face the Packers.
Dallas Cowboys Win If:
This game is going to come down to how well the defense is able to control and contain Aaron Rodgers in the pocket. They are going to have to control the edge in both run and pass. Where Rodgers kills you is in his ability to extend plays with his feet. He is hard to tackle and is effective when on the move. Throughout his career he has been deadly accurate with the ball while on the move.
Defensively, they cannot give up on the play and they have to make him play from the pocket. When he is on the move, he has the speed to get to the edge and the vision to see what is going on down the field. That's where he makes those huge chunk plays. For years, the Packers have been a great big play offense. It's those big plays that starts their offense.
The key will be to keep Rodgers in front of them. They cannot rush pass him up the field. How well they rush is just as important as how well they cover. It will be important for Terrell McClain and Maliek Collins to attack the middle of the pocket to choke off Rodgers' escape routes.
The Cowboys need to think about rushing these tackles inside out to keep Rodgers on the spot. This plan is similar to how they play Seattle by making Russell Wilson plays backward and not forward.
Green Bay Packers Win If:
Having seen Dom Capers work through the years, he doesn't hold anything back in his game plan as a defensive coordinator. Capers will declare his attack plan, in hopes to get off the field early and then play from in front. He has had great success doing this.
Capers will try and play plays, tendencies and have the crowd noise help them early in the game. They believe that new looks or wrinkles will create problems, and when their opponents can't communicate – they can hit it right. Dak Prescott has done an outstanding job of handling everything that these defensive coordinators have thrown at him. Capers will spin the wheel, and when his game plan declares, he will attack this Cowboys' blocking scheme.
He knows he cannot allow Prescott to feel comfortable in this game. He knows his best chance to win is pressuring him to see if in fact he will crack. To win this game, Green Bay is going to have to be physical against the run. If they are able to hold that in check, then Capers can work to keep Scott Linehan and Dak Prescott off balance with their different pressure packages They feed off being at home and they use that to their advantage.
They want to be able to rush Clay Matthews and Nick Perry off the edge, plus bring their secondary on some blitzes as well. Capers wants to make Dallas one dimensional and put the pressure on the rookie to make plays.