The Dread of Dallas

These three can pile up points with the best of them. You scared, bro?
These three can pile up points with the best of them. You scared, bro?

The Packers have three opponents they could possibly face in the Divisional Round of the playoffs: Dallas, Arizona, and Carolina.

Detroit, by reason of their being the lowest seed, would automatically head to Seattle if they'd happen to upset the Cowboys in the Wildcard Round, leaving the Packers to square off with the winner of the Arizona/Carolina tilt.

At this point in the game, everyone is dangerous. Yes, you've heard cliché after cliché about how there's some team that "nobody wants to play," but really that designation could and should apply to every team remaining. They've all earned their playoff spots. Everybody, therefore, deserves some modicum of respect.

But obviously, there's always some preference, and that's where the readers of The Packer Perspective come in. I broached the question to the floor via Twitter, and was rewarded with one response: you guys don't want to play Dallas.

The reason for concern, if not fear, is justified. The Cowboys have two legitimate MVP candidates (Tony Romo and DeMarco Murray), and electric wide receiver (Dez Bryant), and an offensive line that runs seven deep with guys who were graded out positively for the year by Pro Football Focus. They're undefeated on the road, and if there's anything that travels in the NFL, it's a pounding run game, which the Cowboys certainly have.

History, too, may be on their side. Only seven teams have finished a season with a perfect road record since 1970, and six of them have ended up in the Super Bowl. Not a bad group to associate with if you're Dallas.

Still, there are weaknesses. Their defense is middling, led by ex-CFL defensive lineman Tyrone Crawford and recent retiree Rolando McClain. Nobody on that side of the ball should scare you, although Henry Melton has had his share of success against the Packers as a member of the Chicago Bears. You'd have to think the Packers could win a shootout, if need be.

That said, every concern voiced above is legitimate, and it's probably enough to justify rooting hard for Detroit this coming weekend. Be careful what you wish for, though: a Detroit victory may all but assure the Packers head to Seattle with a trip to the Super Bowl on the line.

Jon Meerdink