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Packers Fantasy Advice: Green Bay defense poised for big day against Cowboys

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Look for a big performance from Dom Capers' unit this Sunday against the struggling Dallas offense.

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

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Although the Green Bay Packers have gone just 2-2 over their past four games, the team's defense has performed far better over that stretch than it did in the few games preceding it. This week, Dom Capers' unit should continue its recent hot streak, as it gets to face a Dallas Cowboys offense that has been dismal at best over the past month.

Let's look at the performance of both units to demonstrate why the expectations of Green Bay's defense should be high this week, from both a real-life and a fantasy perspective.

Packers' D

It has been a tale of three seasons for the Packers' defense this year. They were very good over the season's first four games before struggling mightily in the second quarter of the season. Then, in the last four weeks, they have surged again with a performance that exceeds that of the first quarter. Here's a look at the stats:

Weeks Points per game Total yards per game Passing yards per game Rushing yards per game
1-4 18.25 312 197 115
5-9 24 452 317 135
10-13 17.75 306 221 85

It's clear here just how improved the Packers' defense has been over the past month. One thing that we must acknowledge is that the Packers' four opponents over this recent stretch - Detroit, Minnesota, Chicago, and Detroit again -  aren't elite offenses. All three currently rank in the bottom 10 in the NFL in points per game. The big improvement, however, is in the running game. Both the Vikings and Bears have rushing offenses in the top 11 in yards per game, and the Packers held each of them to around 100 yards - markedly below their year-long averages.

The pass rush is improving as well. After a three-game stretch without a single sack, the Packers have ten in their past three contests, including three against the Lions last Thursday.

About the only area in which the Packers have struggled recently is in forcing turnovers. They have just three total in their past four games, including the first game in nearly a year without a single takeaway (the Bears game). However, we're confident that this will change on Sunday, as you'll see shortly.

Cowboys' O

Here's what should get Dom Capers licking his chops. Dallas' rushing offense is producing about as much yardage as the Bears and about 20 yards per game less than the Vikings, so the Packers' improvements in that phase of the game seem likely to continue. In fact, the only game in the past month in which the Cowboys' rushing game hit the century mark was in week 11's win at Miami, when the Cowboys had a healthy Tony Romo.

In the other three games in that stretch, which featured substantial playing time for Matt Cassel, the Dallas offense posted 42, 31, and 97 rushing yards, respectively.

Furthermore, the Dallas offense has given up turnovers in bunches this season. The Cowboys have coughed up the ball three times or more on four occasions this season, including each of the last two games, and have two or more giveaways seven times this season.

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With Matt Cassel failing to inspire fear in any defensive coordinator and the Packers' renewed pass rush and run defense making things difficult for opposing offenses, Green Bay should be able to keep the Cowboys' offense under well under 20 points this Sunday, which should be more than enough to get them to nine wins on the season.