Sunday, September 21, 2008

Packers vs. Cowboys preview

First of all, apologies for no posts since Sunday's victory at Detroit. Where did the week go?

Anyway...on to today's game, or rather tonight's game at Lambeau versus the Cowboys.

Both teams enter the game 2-0. The 'boys are coming off a short week, following a hard-won game against the Eagles. This faux (look it up) "America's Team" has been touted as the odds-on favorite to be the NFC representative in the Super Bowl. They are loaded with talent, including the pride of Burlington, Wisconsin, QB Tony Romo. And, they are 3-point favorites.

But...the real "America's Team" (there is only one Title Town, after all) also has a swagger. For the first time this season, all the usual starters and primary backups on the offensive line should be available. That will be important in a game where Dallas -- despite their base 3-4 defense -- typically will rush 5. Packers QB Aaron Rodgers really hasn't had too much pressure in the first two games, but when flushed from the pocket Rodgers has certainly responded well. In addition, the coaches are sure to have schemed a game plan to use Rodgers' mobility to buy time against the rush. The Packers' running game must be respectable enough to open up the potent passing attack. If that happens, it could be another high scoring game. Add in perhaps a key punt or kickoff return by Will Blackmon and that could be the difference in the game.

On the defensive side of the ball, the Packers will need to get to Romo early and often; he is prone to make mistakes when pressured. Other concerns for the Packers will be stopping running backs Marion Barber and Felix Jones, which will be a challenge but not an impossibility. Keeping TE Jason Witten from tearing up the middle of the Pack's pass defense as he did last year, and Terrell Owens from lighting it up downfield (ditto last year), will also be key to a Packers victory. Al Harris can't roll over against T.O. like last time around or it will be a long game. Thankfully, Charles Woodson will play this year and that can only help the defensive backfield scheme. Starting safety Atari Bigby, however, is said to be out for this game, giving backup Aaron Rouse the start. Rouse always seems to be around the ball and this is a game where that will be a needed quality.

What does all this boil down to? A close game, but likely a high scoring game. Only one team will come out unbeaten. You know who I'm going with. Packers 34 - Cowboys 30.

If the Packers are able to beat the 'boys, they will be sitting pretty in the NFC North. Expect the ViQueens to lose at home against the Panthers, the Lions to lose on the road against San Fran, and Da Bearz to be beaten at home by their former QB Brian Griese and the Buccaneers. Let's see, that would mean the Packers at 3-0, Da Bearz at 1-2 and both the 'Queens and Lions at 0-3.

Go Pack Go!!!