Packers stake claim as an NFC favorite with impressive win over Cowboys

Aaron Rodgers has looked good but isn’t yet in vintage MVP form. Davante Adams doesn’t have a touchdown yet this season.

Imagine if the Green Bay Packers start clicking this season.

Green Bay is 4-1 after beating the Dallas Cowboys 34-24 in Texas. The Packers led 31-3 late in the third quarter. Adams didn’t play, due to a toe injury, and it didn’t matter. Rodgers didn’t throw a touchdown but watched Aaron Jones run for four touchdowns, which tied a franchise record.

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When the Cowboys cut the Packers’ lead to 31-17 in the fourth quarter, Green Bay’s defense turned Dallas away with its third interception off Dak Prescott. That play made a comeback nearly impossible. Prescott will get a lot of blame, and he deserves plenty of it, but don’t ignore how well the Packers defense played.

The Packers have a good argument as the NFC’s best team, though the New Orleans Saints and maybe even the Philadelphia Eagles might argue. And it doesn’t seem like the Packers have reached their top gear.

Aaron Jones of the Green Bay Packers celebrates after scoring his fourth touchdown against Dallas. (Getty Images)
Aaron Jones of the Green Bay Packers celebrates after scoring his fourth touchdown against Dallas. (Getty Images)

Packers built huge lead

The Packers suffered a loss at Lambeau Field last week to the Eagles. Maybe that result should tell us a little bit about the Eagles, who are suddenly tied with the Cowboys for first place.

Green Bay has otherwise looked very good, and against tough opponents. It has banked wins against the Bears, Vikings and Cowboys, and those victories could be very important in tiebreakers when playoff spots are awarded.

The final score doesn’t reflect how the Packers dominated most of the game. The Cowboys heated up late in the third quarter when the Packers must have assumed the game was over. As the Packers built a 28-point lead, they dominated every phase of the game. Green Bay’s running game, led by Jones, was much more physical than the Cowboys’ front. Green Bay’s defense kept Ezekiel Elliott mostly under wraps, and forced Prescott into some huge mistakes. Prescott had three interceptions, and should have had two other bad interceptions. One throw was dropped by cornerback Kevin King, and another was overturned by a defensive penalty.

Dallas looked like a team that might have been overrated during their 3-0 start against the Giants, Redskins and Dolphins.

The Packers had to hang on a bit at the end as the Cowboys tried to mount a huge comeback. But they showed plenty before that.

Packers are well-rounded team

The Packers have more dimensions than previous years with Rodgers. Green Bay added a lot to the defense in the offseason, and it shows. Rodgers doesn’t have to do everything on offense.

Packers coach Matt LaFleur has resisted using Jones in a full-time role but was forced to play him more on Sunday due to Jamaal Williams’ concussion. Jones had four touchdowns and was the key player in Sunday’s game. He was the centerpiece of the offense with 107 yards rushing and another 75 receiving.

As Rodgers gets more comfortable in the scheme and Adams gets healthy, the passing game should come alive. The Packers moved the ball well through the air in the loss to the Eagles. Rodgers might not be the best quarterback in the game anymore, but he’s still better than most. He can still win a championship with the right pieces around him.

If Rodgers gets hot, the rest of the Packers’ roster is pretty good. For at least most of three quarters on Sunday, they looked like they might be the NFC’s best team.

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Frank Schwab is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at shutdown.corner@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @YahooSchwab

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