On Sunday, the Packers travel south to Jerry World to take on the 7-6 Dallas Cowboys. Dave Halprin of Blogging the Boys was kind enough to answer some questions about the Cowboys and provide some insight into their strengths and weaknesses.
APC: Dallas has only one home loss this year, a 51-48 shootout with Peyton Manning's Broncos. What's different about the Cowboys when they play in Arlington?
It's funny you asked that question, because in previous years the Cowboys really didn't have homefield advantage. We didn't play noticeably better at the new stadium until this year. It's impossible to know exactly why the Cowboys are playing better at home, it could be the usual things of not having to travel, playing in front of your own fans, etc. Nothing about the Cowboys game is necessarily adapted for a dome. They aren't a fast-paced team with jitterbug running backs. They play pretty standard offensive football, they are not a spread team. So the real answer is I have no idea why they're better this year at home.
APC: Recently, Cowboys defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin has come under fire for especially poor performances against the Saints and Bears. Is there reason to believe the defense will correct those issues in time for the Packers game, or will the Cowboys fall on their face again?
I doubt you'll see the Cowboys defense suddenly become good, they won't be a unit that doesn't allow the Packers to move the ball. What they do need to happen is to get some turnovers. They have stopped a lot of scoring drives this year by grabbing turnovers, and they've scored six times on defense. That has been what has saved the Cowboys defense from total disaster, turnovers. They need to get a couple in this upcoming game.
APC: The NFC East is one of the few divisions that isn't wrapped up for all intents and purposes. Besides a win on Sunday, what needs to go right for the Cowboys to take the division?
If the Cowboys win out, they win the division. If they can beat the Packers on Sunday, they will then need to go on the road and beat division rival Washington. Doing that sets up a showdown with the Eagles in Week 17 for the division. That's assuming that Philadelphia also wins in Weeks 15 and 16. As far as performance on the field, the Cowboys need to discover a pass rush and create turnovers. On offense they need to be efficient with their drives, they will have to score points because they can't count on the defense.
APC: If you were game planning against the Cowboys, how would you attack them on offense? How about on defense?
On offense I would rely on the passing game. Dallas doesn't rush the passer particularly well, and their zone defense leaves plenty of holes to exploit. They play a little better in man-to-man but I would flood the secondary with 4 or 5 receivers. The Cowboys just can't stop the passing game, so controlled passing without interceptions is their kryptonite.
On defense, I would double Dez Bryant and Jason Witten as much as possible and force the Cowboys to beat you using someone else. Tony Romo is being very careful with the football this year, but that also means he's not gambling when guys are double-covered. You can take away some of the Cowboys best weapons that way.
APC: Finally, it's prediction time. Who wins this Sunday and why?
The Cowboys will win because they play better at home, they don't have to face Aaron Rodgers and every time they lose big or lose a heartbreaker, they come back with a win.
We'd like to thank Dave and Blogging the Boys for answering our questions. Be sure to check out our Q&A session over there as well as their fantastic coverage of all things Cowboys. As always, keep your internet machines tuned to Acme Packing Company this Sunday for our comprehensive game day coverage of Packers vs. Cowboys.
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