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Cowboys News: Prescott visualizing end goal, Gilmore tests harness, ‘freak’ injury for Packers

Every little edge is sought in the NFL postseason, and Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott is taking his visualization of the team’s ultimate goal down to the tiniest detail. We’ve got that in this edition of News and Notes, but we start with a Packers preview. We’ll take you into the trenches for the battle that could decide the wild-card showdown, explain why Jourdan Lewis and CeeDee Lamb are hitting their strides at the ideal time, clue you in to who the Cowboys’ biggest X-factor could be, check in on Stephon Gilmore’s rehab, and check out which Green Bay star suffered a “freak” injury this week that could definitely impact Sunday’s game.

Meanwhile, Hall of Famer Michael Irvin is the subject of new legal allegations, but the specifics are anything but. One NFL insider paints Dallas’s playoff opener as a win-or-go-home scenario for Mike McCarthy, Micah Parsons knows his time with Dan Quinn could be limited, one Cowboy is rewarded despite a statistically rough outing, and another is up for a big end-of-year honor. All that, plus the TV ratings prove once again that the Cowboys truly are America’s Team.

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Key Matchup: Cowboys pass rush, Packers OL pits strength against strength :: Cowboys Wire

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With a 59% success rate, the Cowboys are No. 1 in the NFL in pass rush win rate and very effective at pressuring QBs even without a blitz. The Packers finished the regular season ranked No. 2 in ESPN’s pass block win rate and are well equipped to stop even the most relentless of pass rushes. On Sunday, something’s got to give. Dallas being able to move pieces around and get home quickly could be the difference.

Can Cowboys’ CeeDee Lamb channel Cooper Kupp, Larry Fitzgerald for Super Bowl run? :: Dallas Morning News

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In the last 20 years, Fitzgerald and Kupp are the only two receivers who made a four-game playoff run to the Super Bowl while catching passes for more than 400 yards in the process (and against top-notch opponents). Lamb has been a tear since the bye week, but he’ll have to step it up even more now and turn in a postseason like those two.

Gilmore limited, testing harness for Sunday :: Michael Gehlken

Packers CB Jaire Alexander rolls ankle in jog-through practice :: ESPN

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The cornerback suffered “kind of a freak deal” in Wednesday’s jog-through, according to Matt LaFleur. The Packers head coach called their best cover man “day-to-day” and held him out of practice on Thursday. Alexander missed nine games this season dealing with various injuries.

Jourdan Lewis has regained form at a critical time for the Cowboys :: Cowboys Wire

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The veteran overcame an injury that threatened his football future and forced him to essentially relearn how to walk. Originally seen as a very expensive CB4, Lewis ended up moving into heavy usage at the nickel position after the early injury to Trevon Diggs. But he’s saved the best for last, coming on like gangbusters over the last month; his defensive contributions will be key to the team’s playoff success.

Cowboys vs Packers: 6 things to know about wild card opponent :: Cowboys Wire

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The Cowboys haven’t beaten Green Bay since 2016, and that was the only head-to-head win for Dallas in the last decade. The Packers had a strong second half to their season, and Jordan Love has impressed in his first year at the reins. They have young playmakers and a confirmed Cowboy killer in Aaron Jones, but their defense is mediocre at best. Putting up a lot of points will be the surest way to get the Green Bay monkey off the Cowboys’ back.

NFL playoffs: One X-factor on each of the 14 teams :: NFL.com

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Tyron Smith has been in and out of the lineup in recent seasons, but the Cowboys need the 33-year-old’s presence at left tackle to fortify their offensive line and handle the NFC’s heavyweight pass rushers.

Packers' Luke Musgrave: Expecting larger role in playoffs :: CBS Sports

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The rookie tight end missed six games with a lacerated kidney but returned to action in limited duty in Week 18. He could end up operating in more of an even timeshare at tight end Sunday with fellow Packers rookie Tucker Kraft.

LaCanfora: 'I'd be shocked' if Cowboys HC Mike McCarthy survives wild-card loss :: Cowboys Wire

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“Good luck finding a personnel executive or coach around the league who doesn’t believe that if Jones needed a head coach, he would do whatever it takes to hire defensive coordinator Dan Quinn,” the insider said. According to one league GM, “Mike needs to win this game, and everybody on that staff knows it. The next man up is already there.”

Micah Parsons speaks on potential Dan Quinn exit :: The Mothership

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Parsons joined the Cowboys just a few months after Quinn did, and the two have developed quite connection both on and off the field. “He doesn’t just treat me like a player, he treats me like a friend. He’s always there when I need him and we’re not afraid to have those hard conversations whether it’s father to son or player to coach,” Parsons said. With Quinn set to at least field other job offers soon, Parsons promised that he’ll give his DC his best with this playoff run: “It could possibly be my last ride with Q, and if it is, we’re gonna make sure it’s a damn good one.”

Prescott looking to luggage for fashionable reminder of team's end goal :: Jon Machota

Dak Prescott up for FedEx NFL Air Player of the Year Award :: Cowboys Wire

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Prescott led the entire league in touchdowns and completions. But his fellow nominees have some award-winning stats, too: Brock Purdy finished with the top overall passer rating, and Tua Tagovailoa ranked first in total passing yards.

Cowboys' Aubrey named NFC Special Teams Player of the Month :: Cowboys Wire

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Aubrey’s two misses in the season finale didn’t keep him from winning the award for the second time this season. He’s the first Cowboys special-teamer to ever win it twice, period.

Dallas Cowboys legend Michael Irvin being investigated by Allen police; misconduct alleged :: Fort Worth Star-Telegram

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Irvin is reportedly under investigation, but neither he nor his legal team claim have any idea what the Hall of Famer has allegedly done. This news comes just a few months after Irvin settled a $100 million defamation lawsuit against Marriott over accusations of lewd and inappropriate comments at a hotel during last year’s Super Bowl Week. This new allegation, per his attorney, “will turn out to be much ado about nothing.”

Cowboys in 2 of 3 most-watched games of 2023 season :: Dov Kleiman

Story originally appeared on Cowboys Wire