We're officially a couple of hours away until the Dallas Cowboys (6-2) take on the Green Bay Packers (3-6), and I don't know about you all, but I'm excited about this game.
While it may not have the same glamour and hype as past matchups, anytime the Cowboys and Packers duke it out — I make sure I never miss the game. But, despite the lack of excitement around this matchup, I'm confident that we will be surprised as it may be closer than people think.
So, with all that in mind, I wanted to talk about this game a little bit in this piece and drop three hot takes. Expect to hear about a repeat breakout performance from a running back, two rookie defenders making their names known, and a team getting past their rival for the first time since 2016.
Tony Pollard shines again, but this time in Lambeau.
Two weeks ago, the whole world saw running back Tony Pollard explode against the Chicago Bears. 131 rushing yards and three touchdowns later, Pollard took advantage of the opportunity as the starter and showed the team that he could be their main guy.
While there is a whole debate on who should be the starter (Ezekiel Elliott or Pollard), Pollard has the opportunity to help his case on the main stage again, as Elliott isn't expected to play, according to Dallas Cowboys HC Mike McCarthy.
I'm riding with Pollard balling out again and predict 100-plus rushing yards, two touchdowns, and 50-plus receiving yards from him. Even if Elliott does come back, the team won't throw him into heavy snaps, as they know he's important for the postseason.
Pollard will shine and increase his price tag in free agency.
Sam Williams and DaRon Bland are the Cowboys' best defenders on Sunday.
If you ask anyone who the best player on the Cowboys defense is, there is no doubt they would say defensive end Micah Parsons. A generational player, Parsons will be wreaking havoc on the Packers, and it's going to be fun seeing him play against Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers for the first time.
But we're doing hot takes over here. So, instead of riding with the player that would get picked ten times out of ten as the team's possible best defender on Sunday, I'm riding with two rookies.
DE Sam Williams and CB DaRon Bland.
Starting with Williams, you see a guy who's a freak. While he hasn't seen a lot of playing time this season, the more snaps he gets, he's proving that the team hit on the pick.
I expect all attention to be on Parsons and DE Demarcus Lawrence, as they have wreaked the most havoc on opposing teams this season. So with less attention toward Williams, I see him getting free and imposing his will on Rodgers.
Shifting to Bland, you have a guy who's a tenacious defender and well-known ball hawk. With one interception to his name this season, I'm riding with him getting his second interception.
Beyond WR Allen Lazard, the Packers' wide receivers are bad. Like really bad. With a lot of pressure on Rodgers, he will make a mistake sometime in the game, and Bland will be the player that takes advantage of it.
Bland will likely face WR Sammy Watkins. And as we sit in Week 10, the last time that Watkins performed well was against the Chicago Bears, as he had three receptions for 93 yards.
While that's solid stats for Watkins, that was in week two, so I don't expect a big game from him.
The Cowboys win for the first time since 2016, but it's close.
According to ESPN Matchup Predictor, the Cowboys have a 65.4% chance to win this week against the Packers. While the odds give them a great shot, and most fans have predicted this game as an easy victory for the Boys, I see this game being closer than many think.
At the end of the day, if you have Aaron Rodgers as your quarterback, you still have a chance in any game. And while many fans may disagree (given the Packers' offense and Rodgers have looked horrible this season), the players would disagree with you since they know how talented Rodgers is.
In an article written by Yahoo NFL Reporter Jori Epstein, Parsons told her about a lesson his grandma taught him that he plans to use on Sunday.
“My grandma told me: If you see a roach and it's fooling around, do you step on it and bury it or do you let it rebuild and get back to life?” Parsons told Yahoo Sports. “You step on it. I live life with no remorse. You can't have no remorse in this game [or] it turns up to bite you.”
Parsons and his teammates know they have to take Rodgers seriously since he has performed well against them in previous matchups, and they can't let “the roach find life.”
And, with all of the odds against the Packers — you know that has to be a little extra motivation for Rodgers, as he can grab a massive victory that can spark momentum to turn their season around.
Expect a close game, but the Cowboys will pull it out. The lack of talent eventually bites you in the butt, and this team has talent on both sides to overwhelm the Packers at the end of the day.