15 Packers and Cowboys Facts to Impress Your Friends
It’s always best to arm yourself with some handy anecdotes heading into any big game, and instead of waiting for the talking heads on your pregame show of choice to recite them for you, why not just read them here? Here’s everything you need to know heading into Sunday’s playoff game in Dallas.
Sunday's matchup is the 35th in series history
They have played 34 times with 17 wins apiece and the all-time score is Green Bay 780, Dallas 777. Counting the playoffs, the Packers lost eight consecutive games to the Cowboys between 1991 and 1996. The Packers are 7-4 against the Cowboys since that stretch.
Vince Lombardi and Tom Landry coached together for the New York Giants before leaving to coach the Packers and Cowboys in 1959 and 1960, respectively. The two faced off five times during their head coaching careers, with Lombardi winning all five.
In 2013, the Packers rallied from a 26-3 deficit to beat the Cowboys in Dallas. Pro Football Reference estimates that at one point during the second quarter, Dallas had a 99.5% chance of winning the game.
This is the fourth season in franchise history that the Cowboys started out with a 9-1 record – once in the 70’s, once in the 80’s, and most recently in 2007. The previous three times Dallas got off to a hot start, they were unable to win a single postseason contest.
When Aaron Rodgers and the Packers are on offense
Of all of Aaron Rodgers’ great stretches in his career, he’s never had a statistical run quite like the last the month. Rodgers has thrown 285 consecutive passes without an interception. His last interception came against the Tennessee Titans in Week 10.
Rodgers enters Sunday’s game having thrown for over 300 yards and four touchdowns in each of the Packers’ last three games. He is the only player in Packers history to accomplish this feat, and it’s only been done by two other players in NFL history: Drew Brees and Dan Marino.
The Cowboys have a fairly strong pass defense, but they’re not very good against tight ends. According to Football Outsiders, the Cowboys rank 30th in the league at defending opposing tight ends.
Sunday’s game will be the third of the season for the Cowboys against a quarterback who was named to this year’s Pro Bowl. Besides Rodgers in Week 6, Dallas faced Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger in Week 10. The Steelers lost in the final minutes, but Roethlisberger threw for over 400 yards and three touchdowns.
When Dak Prescott and the Cowboys are on offense
The Cowboys were one of only two teams in the league that ran the ball more than they passed it.
Rookie of the Year and MVP candidate Ezekiel Elliot leads the Cowboys rushing attack. Containing Elliott is a large part of the Packers’ defensive game plan, and their rushing defense has been a large part of their success in the team’s current seven game winning streak. Opposing teams have ran the ball close to 20 times per game during this streak, and average just over four yards per carry.
Since Dallas’ offensive line assembled in 2013, the Packers and Cowboys have matched up four times. In those four contests, the Cowboys have averaged a staggering 6.4 yards per carry. However, Green Bay is 3-1 in those contests.
Green Bay has started the game defensively in a 2-4-5 alignment in 15 of 17 games (2 defensive linemen, 4 linebackers and 5 in the secondary). The two games they started in a base 3-4 front were against Dallas and Tennessee. The Packers run defense had its worst performances, allowing 191 rushing yards against the Cowboys and 154 rushing yards against the Titans.
While the Packers are focusing their efforts on containing Ezekiel Elliott and the Cowboys rushing attack, wide receiver Dez Bryant will most likely be matched up against cornerback Ladarius Gunter. While Bryant did not play in Week 6 against the Packers, Gunter has done well against high profile wide receivers. Odell Beckham Jr. in the Wild Card and Julio Jones were both held to under 30 yards when matched up against Gunter.
When the Packers and Cowboys played in Week 6, Dak Prescott broke Tom Brady’s rookie record for most consecutive passes without an interception. He later threw an interception to Morgan Burnett, ending the streak.
The Packers this season have played five teams ranked in the top half in points per game. Unfortunately, Green Bay has lost all five games.