By Charles Jay
With the Green Bay Packers
now missing their top wide receiver, is that going to make a difference between victory and defeat as they face off against the Dallas Cowboys
in NFC playoff action? Well, judging from how red-hot their quarterback is, it may not make any difference at all in their chances. That’s how good Aaron Rogers has been playing, and it may wind up being the Cowboys’ misfortune that they have run into him at this moment in time. Their Divisional Round game will begin at 4:40 PM ET
at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, and as BetAnySports
customers watch it live on Fox Network, they can do some real-time wagering with all of the thrills and chills provided by Live Betting Ultra.
These teams were very different places after ten games; Dallas was 9-1, with a stranglehold on the NFC East lead and pointing directly toward the #1 seed in the conference. Green Bay, meanwhile, was 4-6, and after games against Tennessee and Washington where they gave up 47 and 42 points, respectively, they were being written off, and head coach Mike McCarthy was enduring endless rounds of criticism. But even though their secondary had been falling apart with injuries, one thing had started to become evident – Rodgers was putting up much better numbers as the season progressed. And so be getting with a road victory over the Philadelphia Eagles, this team has now won seven straight games, and Rodgers is on an incredible string of performances in which he has thrown 22 touchdown passes without being intercepted in his last eight starts.
For a while, it looked like the Green Bay offense was going to be slowed to a crawl by the New York Giants’ stingy defense. After going without anything on their first five drives, the Packers started to get into the swing of things, and then Rodgers did one of the things he’s done in the past – throw a successful Hail Mary, this time into the arms of Randall Cobb in the back in the end zone. That could not have helped the Giants psychologically, and it was all Green Bay in the second half, on the way to a 30-13 victory. The Dallas defensive backfield does not really measure up to New York’s, so you have to imagine there are all kinds of possibility for Rodgers out there on Sunday.
In the NFL playoff odds posted on this game by the people at BetAnySports
, Dallas is the favorite at home:
Dallas Cowboys -5.5
Green Bay Packers +5.5
Over 52 points -110
Under 52 points -110
The Cowboys have already gone to Lambeau Field in taking care of business against the Packers, beating them 30-16, which was very impressive considering that rookies led the way for them. Dak Prescott did turn the ball over twice, but he also 33 touchdown passes, and Ezekiel Elliott knifed his way through the defense for 157 yards on the ground. Only a handful of teams are in Dallas’ league when it comes to running the football, so even though Green Bay only gave up 95 yards per game, that does not mean that the Cowboys can’t control the clock, and the game, by simply handing it off to the rookie of the year favorite.
Wide receiver Dez Bryant was not on hand in the previous meeting, as he was healing from injury while Prescott developed chemistry with Cole Beasley. But as BetAnySports
patrons have seen, Bryant has been a big factor since returning to action, with 796 yards and almost 16 yards per reception. All of this takes place behind what is considered the top offensive line in the NFL, with all pros Tyrone Smith, Zach Martin and Travis Frederick. It should be noted that the Packers have given up 4.7 yards per carry over their last eight games in the regular-season, but obviously the heroics of Rodgers were more than enough to overcome that.
Quinten Rollins, a defensive back who is out last week, as a practicing and is expected to play. Green Bay needs all the help it can get in the secondary, as a quick look at the statistics shows that Prescott’s 104.9 quarterback rating is actually higher than that of Rodgers (104.2). And how much will the absence of Jordy Nelson factor into this game? Here’s a guy who came back from the knee injury that sidelined him for all of 2015 and caught 97 passes, including 14 touchdowns. He goes short; he goes long. And last year, Rodgers didn’t seem to be the same quarterback without him. If you have witnessed this franchise in the past, under the direction of McCarthy, you’ve noticed that not only have they dealt with injuries, they have sometimes thrived, like the year they beat the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Super Bowl. Considering that this is the first playoff action for Prescott and Elliott, you have to wonder whether they will let the pressure get the best of them.
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