nfl
11.01.2024

Green Bay Packers @ Dallas Cowboys Game Preview and Pick: Back the Pack as Dogs

Another year of the NFL playoffs has come, and the Dallas Cowboys have big expectations. We have seen this song and dance plenty of times over the past years, but the playoffs always have a way of surprising people every year. Dallas will start their pursuit of a Lombardi at home against a Jordan Love led Packers team that finished 9-8 in the regular season.

There were plenty of mixed expectations and opinions on Jordan Love prior to and during the season, but at the very least, he’s proven that he can lead consistent scoring drives. With that, I’ll break down why I think he’s a good quarterback to back at the current number.

Cowboys Preview

Homefield advantage is great during the regular season, but it is taken to a new level in the postseason. If there is any team in the league that genuinely thrives playing at home, it is the Dallas Cowboys, as they went 8-0 at home during the regular season while averaging 37.4 points per game.

He may not win the award, but Dak Prescott played at an MVP-caliber level this season, and that was especially the case when at home. Prescott posted a 120 passer rating in those eight games with a 22:3 touchdown-to-interception ratio. Prescott’s ability to move the ball downfield and limit his turnovers led to the Cowboys having the second-best third-down conversion percentage in the league.

Even with their ability to move the ball, Dallas was a bit inconsistent in the red zone, as they finished the regular season 14th in red zone scoring percentage. A big factor in their occasional struggles to punch the ball in the end zone was that their run game behind Tony Pollard did not improve until later in the season.

After week eight, Pollard started averaging 70 total yards per game, which helped him finish with 1,005 rushing yards. All eyes will, of course, be on Prescott and CeeDee Lamb this weekend, but Pollard is looking at an ideal matchup against a Packers run defense that, according to FantasyPros, is allowing the 12th most rushing yards and explosive run rate since week 13.

On defense, the Cowboys ranked 5th in DVOA, but in the six games they finished with a negative EPA on that side of the ball, four came against playoff teams. Much like Green Bay, the Cowboys have also become susceptible to the run, as they ranked 15th in average yards per carry and 16th in average rush yards per game.

Packers Preview

Despite finishing with a negative defensive EPA in eight of their last 12 games, the Packers won seven games in that span to help clinch a spot in the postseason in Jordan Love’s first year as the starter. As I mentioned before, the biggest concern with the Packers is their defense, which got exposed both on the ground and through the air, resulting in them ranking 27th in DVOA.

That puts a lot of pressure on Jordan Love and the Packers' offense to stay in games, but with them ranking 6th in offensive DVOA, they’ve seemed to be up to the challenge. Interestingly enough, Green Bay has produced better numbers on the road this season, as they averaged 25.3 points per game, which is the third-highest average in the league.

While Jordan Love is the primary reason for that, since he managed 32 passing touchdowns while also throwing just 11 interceptions, Green Bay has gotten better on the ground as we’ve gotten later in the season. In Aaron Jones’ last three games alone, he is averaging 135.3 rushing and receiving yards.

The Pick

Green Bay is currently a (+7.5) point underdog on the Circa Sportsbook, and I think they have too much offensive firepower to get blown out by a wide margin. The Cowboys' defense can be beaten consistently, as they are 17th in passing yards per game since week 13, per FantasyPros. On the ground, they have allowed the 9th most rushing yards per game in that span, so Aaron Jones looks to be set up to continue his success.

The liability in this game is the Packers' defense, but as long as Jordan Love can keep scoring, he should be able to offset that enough to stay within a touchdown. In his last four games, Love has thrown at least two touchdowns, and he has only committed three turnovers in his last ten games, so with his comfort on the road, the atmosphere should not be too much for him.

Recap

  • Green Bay Packers (+7.5)(-110) on Circa

*odds subject to change

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