Football analyst Bucky Brooks, a former NFL player and scout who now works for NFL Network and serves as an analyst for DallasCowboys.com, gives his weekly keys to the game Sunday, providing specific points of emphasis for both the Cowboys and Packers.
The Cowboys will win if…
Mike McCarthy has discovered a winning formula that requires the Cowboys to play complementary football with the offense, defense, and special teams working together to win games. Tony Pollard and Ezekiel Elliott (if he plays) are a dangerous tandem with the capacity to pound the Packers between the tackles, If the Cowboys are able to establish the running game, CeeDee Lamb and Michael Gallup could get loose on an assortment of play-action passes with complementary vertical routes. Although the Cowboys are at their best utilizing a ball-control approach, the Packers' defense could create some big play opportunities for Dak Prescott and Co. in key moments.
Defensively, the Cowboys must keep the Packers' running game under wraps and force Aaron Rodgers to throw against a defense that smothers the pedestrian receivers on the perimeter. If the four-time MVP is unable to string together completions on layups and gimmes, the Packers will have a tough time moving the ball consistently against a defense loaded with pass rushers and playmakers.
The Packers will win if…
Despite the Packers' five-game losing streak, the squad remains dangerous due to Aaron Rodgers' explosive potential as a four-time MVP. The veteran is capable of turning back the clock with a vintage performance that showcases his talents as a pinpoint passer with exceptional diagnostic skills. Rodgers needs to build up the confidence of his young wideouts with some easy throws early in the game. If the Packers establish a consistent passing game early in the contest, the team can sprinkle in the running game to control the tempo and wear down the Cowboys in the second half. With a balanced attack that mixes runs and passes on early downs, the Packers could control the action and play the game on their terms.
The Packers' defense must contain the Cowboys' running game to make it a Dak Prescott game. If the Cowboys are forced to a pass-first game, the turnovers and mistakes could pop up against an opportunistic defense. Considering how turnovers impact the game, the Packers' best chance of winning is pushing the Cowboys out of their comfort zone.