The Dallas Cowboys and Green Bay Packers both had solid Septembers, starting the year with 3-1 records. They now meet in Week 5 with positive momentum on the line, and each will be trying to win despite missing a key player due to injury.
Let's start with the good guys.
- OT Tyron Smith (ankle) – OUT
- WR Michael Gallup (knee) – Questionable
- OT La'el Collins (back) – Questionable
- DT Antwaun Woods (knee) – Questionable
- DL Tyrone Crawford (hip) – Questionable
It was a scary sight last week when Dak Prescott fell on top of Tyron Smith's ankle, taking the All-Pro tackle out for the rest of the game and what we feared could be a multi-week absence. Thankfully, further evaluation showed that Tyron may only have to miss this one week.
Swing tackle Cameron Fleming will get the start tomorrow, but don't think that this is going to be Chaz Green 2017 all over again. Fleming is a legit NFL player who's started in postseason games before for the Patriots. He got a full week to work with the first team and should hold up fine.
One concern is that right tackle La'el Collins has been struggling with back pain this week, but he was at least able to return to practice on Friday. If Collins were to go out, Dallas experimented during the week with having Connor Williams move to tackle and putting backup guard Xavier Su'a-Filo into the lineup. That should be their contingency plan on Sunday.
The Cowboys plan to get Michael Gallup back at receiver and hope that will also get them back to the offensive production we saw in the first two weeks. Gallup brings a physical presence who can exploit single coverage and also open things up underneath for Amari Cooper and Randall Cobb; his presence has been sorely missed.
Having both Woods and Crawford back in the mix on the defensive line would also be big. Woods helps with gap control and denying easy run lanes to Aaron Rodgers, while Crawford can help keep the pass rushers fresh and also be a disruptor up the middle to try and get Rodgers out of rhythm.
Green Bay Packers
- RB Jamaal Williams (concussion) – OUT
- WR Davante Adams (toe) – OUT
- CB Tony Brown (hamstring) – OUT
- OT Bryan Bulaga (shoulder) – Questionable
- DL Montravious Adams (shoulder) – Questionable
- LB Oren Burks (chest) – Questionable
- LB Kyler Fackrell (shoulder) – Questionable
- CB Kevin King (groin) – Questionable
The big news here is of course Adams, the two-time Pro Bowl receiver, being confirmed out for the game. After leaving midway through the Packers' loss last week to Philadelphia, Davante's absence was felt and arguably changed the outcome as Green Bay struggled in the redzone without him.
The Packers will be glad to have starting right tackle Bryan Bulaga, who also left the Eagles left game last week but did get back to practice the last few days. He has the tough assignment of stopping DeMarcus Lawrence, and now may get less help toward that goal with how Robert Quinn is playing from the other end of the Cowboys' defensive line.
The defensive starters are also dealing with injuries. Montravious Adams, a DE in Green Bay's 3-4 scheme, and ILB Oren Burks both were limited in practice this week but will likely play tomorrow.
Starting CB Kevin King missed the entire week of practice but was still upgraded to “questionable” for Week 5. Even if he goes, King could still be limited on the field in trying to contain the Cowboys multiple receiving threats. The Packers are also without backup CB Tony Brown, so losing King as well would severely hurt their depth.