Game Preview: Packers rush defense needs to step up big to win in Jerry World

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A week after their first loss of the season to the Philadelphia Eagles, the Packers look to get back on track against the 3-1 Dallas Cowboys. Both teams come into the game off the back of defeats, but both have realistic ambitions to win their division.

Thus, this game should be a good barometer of how good these two teams really are after setting the early pace in the conference before their Week 4 exploits. AT&T Stadium has been a very happy hunting ground for the Packers since opening in 2009, with the Packers going 4-0 at Jerry World, including winning Super Bowl XLV against the Steelers.

The narrative of the Packers season up until their match-up with the Eagles had been one of great defense and inconsistent offense. That script was completely flipped in Week 4 as the Packers offense, led by Aaron Rodgers, threw for 422 yards as they moved up and down the field at will, in particular through the air.

Credit: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

However, the defense – which had conceded only 35 points all season coming into the game – surrendered 34 points to Carson Wentz and the Eagles. Before the game, they had led the league in pressures and turnovers but were unable to generate a single sack or turnover. This ultimately proved costly.

On the injury front, both teams have a number of concerns leading up to the game. WR Davante Adams (toe), CB Tony Brown (hamstring), OLB Kyler Fackrell (shoulder), CB Kevin King (groin) and RB Jamaal Williams (concussion) were all non-participants in practice on Thursday for the Packers, with RT La’el Collins (back), DE Tyrone Crawford (hip) and LT Tyron Smith (ankle) unable to practice for the Cowboys. The main concern for the Packers will be the lack of playmakers on offense, with Adams and Williams both expected to be unable to play. For the Cowboys, the main concern will be the O-line with both Smith and Collins potentially unable to suit up.

For the Packers to win, they will need the defense to step up big as they have through the first three weeks of the season, and take advantage of the banged-up Cowboys O-line to get to Dak as much as possible. Should they force a couple of turnovers, they may be able to sneak out of Dallas with the win.

Unfortunately for the Pack, I am not too confident about their chances this week and think they may well hold two losses come Monday morning. With the Packers being unable to stop the run, I predict Zeke will have himself a day with the Cowboys winning.

Prediction: Cowboys 31, Packers 17

Feature Picture – Credit: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

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