This Sunday marks the sixth time that the Dallas Cowboys will face the Green Bay Packers since 2013, including the playoffs. Outside of the division, no team has become a bigger thorn in the side of the Dallas Cowboys.
We all remember the playoff game from the 2016 NFL Playoffs. It's still fairly fresh.
Dak Prescott and company got off to an amazingly slow start to roar back to tie the game in the final minutes. If not for a miraculous play from Aaron Rodgers, an offensive holding not called, and an amazing catch along the sideline by tight end Jared Cook, the story might have ended differently.
That Aaron Rodgers to Jared Cook pitch and catch was awarded the 2017 ESPY for the “Best Play.”
Best play sounds like one of Mark Lane's (@TheRealMarkLane) “Fun Facts.” It's the best… depending on which side of the result you were on.
We all remember the “Dez Caught It” game.
Sorry to rehash the old awful memories, but the Aaron Rodgers' Green Bay Packers are the equivalent of the San Antonio Spurs to the Dallas Mavericks. The Detroit Red Wings to the Dallas Stars. The Detroit Pistons to the Chicago Bulls.
The Packers have been that team which has made life difficult for the home town team. Whether it was Romo in 2014 or Dak last year, it seems that the Green Bay Packers are always around to foil our great expectations.
Yet, here we are again, with an important game against a team that is playing really good football. The good news is this Cowboys core has had success. Albeit a 1-1 record over the last year, one of those wins, however was in Green Bay. That counts for something.
With all that said, let's dig into the numbers surrounding this week's game.
After last week's loss to the Los Angeles Rams, the Dallas Cowboys sit with a -3 point differential on the season.
The current turnover differential for the Dallas Cowboys after giving it up twice to the Los Angeles Rams. One was Ryan Switzer's muffed punt. The other was on a Dak Prescott interception where it was unlikely he saw the defender after the roll-out.
The percentage points that Dak Prescott's completion percentage sits above fellow second-year quarterback and NFC East bunk mate, Carson Wentz. At 60.8, Dak, while un-Dak-like sits 0.8 percentage points above Marcus Mariota.
The five players worse than that trio are; Jacoby Brissett, Carson Palmer, Brian Hoyer, Blake Bortles, and DeShone Kizer.
The Green Bay Packers hold a one-game lead in the all-time series with the Dallas Cowboys. The Cowboys are 13-14 all-time. Including the playoffs, Dallas still sits one game back in the all-time series.
Seems like a good time to tie that up.
DeMarcus Lawrence continues to sit alone atop the NFL's Sack Leaders, now with 7.5 He remains on pace for an incredible 30 sacks. Again, it is very unlikely that he will keep up such a torrid pace, but with David Irving, Sean Lee, Anthony Hitchens, and Chidobe Awuzie all coming back to the defense, it's possible it opens things up for Lawrence.
Aaron Rodgers and Dak Prescott have each thrown three interceptions in the first four games of the season.
This is where the Packers rank in passing yards allowed per game. That's pretty amazing considering teams are typically forced to throw to keep up with Green Bay. They've held two teams, the Seattle Seahawks and the Cincinnati Bengals (OT included) to under 200 yards passing.
Five also represents the number of players on the Dallas Cowboys who have caught more than 10 passes through the first four games. Jason Witten, Terrance Williams, Dez Bryant, Ezekiel Elliott, and Cole Beasley have each caught more than 10 passes.
Aaron Rodgers' 10 touchdown passes have him tied with Tom Brady for the most in the NFL at the moment. Dak Prescott is in the next group of players who sit just two behind them with eight TD passes. Those other players are Alex Smith and Drew Brees.
At 2-2 the Dallas Cowboys sit among 12 teams that are 2-2 or better in the NFC. Of those 12 teams, six of them are 3-1 or better. For comparisons sake, the AFC has only 11 teams at 2-2 or better with only four teams at 3-1 or better.
The NFC is a jumbled mess. Dallas needs to win this one to maintain their playoff standing in the conference.
The amount of times that Aaron Rodgers has been sacked so far this season. That's the third most in the NFL. Only Alex Smith (16) and Carson Palmer (17) have been sacked more times than Rodgers.
Jordy Nelson's current touchdown pace. With five through four games, Nelson leads the NFL in touchdown receptions. Jason Witten, Dez Bryant, and Brice Butler lead the Dallas Cowboys with two apiece.
Points per game average for the Green Bay Packers. That's good for eighth in the NFL. The Dallas Cowboys are 12th at 23.5 points per game.
Green Bay is 28th in the NFL in rushing yards per game. The Packers only average 74 yards rushing per game and haven't had a single game in 2017 where they've rushed for more than 100 yards as a team. That bodes well for a Dallas team that has struggled a bit to stop the run.
Ezekiel Elliott's rushing yards per game, which is the ninth best average in the NFL. If you take out his poor 8-yard effort against the Denver Broncos in week two, who've only allowed 202 yards rushing for the season, Elliott is averaging 89.67 yards per game.
Elliott's 76 attempts rank him fourth in the NFL in rushing attempts. Only Le'Veon Bell, Leonard Fournette, and Todd Gurley have more carries than Elliott in 2017. Gurley is the only one of that foursome that is averaging more than 4.0 yards per carry.
In fact, of the 19 running backs with more than 50 attempts so far, only seven are averaging more than four yards per carry. OUCH!!!
Through four games Dak Prescott has rushed for 89 yards, averaging 22.5 yards per game. In 2016, it took till the seventh game of the season for Prescott to reach the 89-yard mark. Dak's legs have been a nice addition to the offense.
The amount of times that Ezekiel Elliott has touched the ball through four games. Barring a suspension, this would put him on pace to touch the ball 368 times.
Aaron Rodgers' passer rating, tied for seventh in the league with Tyrod Taylor.
Yes, you read that right.
Dak Prescott on the other hand is 18th in the NFL with a passer rating of 90.1, just behind Eli Manning and Carson Wentz.
The amount of rushing yards that Green Bay has allowed per game. In their week two loss to the Atlanta Falcons, they allowed a total of 141 yards rushing.
Outside of the Packers' week one win over the Seattle Seahawks, they've allowed every team to gain more than 100 yards on the ground.
‘Cause People Like Numbers, Here are More Numbers
- At 5.0 and 5.2 yards per play allowed on defense, respectively, the Dallas Cowboys and the Green Bay Packers are virtually identical in that regard.
- Green Bay is allowing 20.3 points per game and Dallas 24.3.
- Dallas has allowed opponents to score on 39.1% of their drives while the Packers have allowed opponents to score on only 31% of their drives.
- Dallas leads the league in defensive starting position.