Game Scout: Packers at Cowboys

Jeff Reynolds, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

Green Bay Packers (6-6-1) at Dallas Cowboys (7-6)
Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET, at AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas - TV: FOX
*TV announcers: Joe Buck, Troy Aikman, Pam Oliver
*Keys to the game: Matt Flynn, expected to start a third consecutive game, has been sacked 12 times the past two weeks. With Cowboys owner Jerry Jones calling for more risk-taking from his defense, Flynn could see a blitz package the Packers wouldn't find in the scouting report. The flip side, of course, is further taxing a secondary carved up on a weekly basis. Neither Dallas safety is a special talent, and coach Packers Mike McCarthy is known for using formations to isolate and exploit a weakness. The Cowboys thrived at Chicago when they went to power formations and let DeMarco Murray attack. The Packers were ripped on third down the past two games (15 of 25 converted by opponents), which might temper Green Bay's aggressiveness. Slowing down WR Dez Bryant, who has 24 catches in his last four home games, is a priority for a defense miffed by missed tackles and blown assignments.
*Matchup to watch - Packers OLBs Clay Matthews and Nick Perry vs. Cowboys LT Tyron Smith - USC football fans should take delight in watching these former Trojans teammates and first-round draft picks on the field at the same time. Matthews, who has a team-high six sacks, will need to overcome the technically sound Smith with speed rushes. Perry, who has four sacks, generally lines up opposite Matthews on the left side but has been productive when coordinator Dom Capers has moved him across from the left tackle.
*Player spotlight - Packers ILB A.J. Hawk: With 130 tackles this season, Hawk has 1,002 tackles in his eight-year NFL career -- fourth all-time for the franchise, just behind Nick Barnett (1,014). John Anderson holds the team record with 1,020 tackles from 1978 to '89.
*Fast facts: There are 10 players on the Packers roster who were not yet born the last time Green Bay won at Dallas (Dec. 25, 1989). ... The Cowboys have allowed 190 second-half points (14.6 per game) this season.
The Packers need RB Eddie Lacy, ninth in the NFL in rushing, to drive the offense. Without him, Matt Flynn is overmatched and out of place in a tug of war with Cowboys QB Tony Romo.
*Our pick: Cowboys 32-22

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