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Packers QB Jordan Love makes his playoff debut at the Cowboys, who have a 16-game home win streak

Bears Packers Football
Posted at 6:56 PM, Jan 12, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-12 19:56:11-05

Green Bay quarterback Jordan Love is set for his playoff debut in a wild-card game at the Dallas Cowboys. Dallas enters Sunday's meeting with a 16-game home winning streak in the regular season. It's the first home postseason game for the Cowboys since that streak started. Dak Prescott is in the playoffs for the fifth time in eight seasons. He led the NFL with 36 touchdown passes in the regular season. Love was second with 32. Dallas coach Mike McCarthy faces the team he led to a Super Bowl title 13 years ago.

GREEN BAY (9-8) at DALLAS (12-5)

Sunday, 4:30 p.m. EST, Fox

BETTING LINE: Cowboys by 7 1/2, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.

AGAINST THE SPREAD: Packers 8-9; Cowboys 10-7.

SERIES RECORD: Packers lead 21-17.

LAST MEETING: Packers beat Cowboys 31-28 on Nov. 13, 2022, at Green Bay.

LAST WEEK: Packers beat Bears 17-9; Cowboys beat Commanders 38-10.





TURNOVER DIFFERENTIAL: Packers even; Cowboys plus-10.

PACKERS PLAYER TO WATCH: QB Jordan Love is one of the hottest quarterbacks in the league as the fourth-year pro prepares for his playoff debut. Love has thrown 18 touchdown passes with one interception over his past eight games, and the Packers have gone 6-2 during that stretch.

COWBOYS PLAYER TO WATCH: LB Micah Parsons has made the playoffs all three of his seasons with Dallas. He's looking for his first dominant showing in his fourth game. Parsons' only sack so far came against Tom Brady in Parsons' only playoff victory, at Tampa Bay last season.

KEY MATCHUP: Cowboys WR CeeDee Lamb vs. Packers CB Jaire Alexander, although Alexander's status is iffy after spraining an ankle in practice Thursday. Lamb had a breakout season, setting Dallas records for catches (NFL-best 135) and yards receiving (1,749, second to Miami's Tyreek Hill). Lamb had 13 catches in each of the past two regular-season games and could become the first player in NFL history with at least that many in three consecutive games. Alexander had a mostly lost season coming off a career-best five interceptions that followed signing an $84 million contract extension in May 2022. After back and shoulder injuries sidelined him roughly half the season, Alexander was suspended a game for crashing the coin toss in his hometown of Charlotte and almost costing the Packers possession to start both halves.

KEY INJURIES: Packers WR Christian Watson (hamstring) has missed five straight games. ... RB AJ Dillon (thumb/neck) and LB Isaiah McDuffie (concussion/neck) also didn't play in the regular-season finale. ... WR Romeo Doubs (chest) left the Bears game and was taken to the hospital, though he was released later that night. ... Cowboys CB Stephon Gilmore expects to play after getting knocked out of the Washington game with a shoulder injury. ... LG Tyler Smith sat against the Commanders with a plantar fascia injury but is hopeful he will play. ... RG Zack Martin is expected to return after being a late scratch in Washington with an illness.

SERIES NOTES: The Packers have beaten the Cowboys four straight times and have won nine of the past 10 matchups. All of those came during QB Aaron Rodgers' Green Bay tenure. That includes divisional playoff victories during the 2014 and 2016 seasons. This is the first time the Cowboys and Packers have faced off in the wild-card round. Packers WR Christian Watson had three touchdowns and Lamb scored twice when the Packers rallied from a two-touchdown deficit in the fourth quarter to beat the Cowboys in overtime last season. That was Dallas coach Mike McCarthy's return to Green Bay, where he coached for 12-plus seasons and won a Super Bowl.

STATS AND STUFF: The Cowboys have won 16 consecutive regular-season games at AT&T Stadium. It's the club's longest home winning streak since an 18-game run in the regular season at Texas Stadium from 1979-81. The Cowboys went 2-1 at Texas Stadium in the playoffs during those three seasons. This is the first home playoff game since Dallas started its AT&T Stadium streak. ... McCarthy has a chance to become the first coach to win a playoff game against a team he led to a Super Bowl title. ... Dallas' Dak Prescott had an NFL-leading 36 touchdown passes this season. Love ranked second with 32. … The Packers reached the playoffs despite not having any players selected to the Pro Bowl. Six were selected as alternates. Dallas has seven Pro Bowlers. … The Packers have the NFL's youngest roster this season. According to Elias Sports Bureau, the Packers have the youngest weighted age of any playoff team since the 1974 Buffalo Bills. … Packers RB Aaron Jones has rushed for 370 yards and six TDs in three previous games against the Cowboys. He has run for at least 100 yards in all of them. … The Packers earned a wild-card berth by winning their last three games. … The Packers, Cowboys, Pittsburgh Steelers and San Francisco 49ers have 36 playoff wins each, putting them in a tie for second place. New England has 37. … The Packers' .590 postseason winning percentage ranks third in the league, behind New England (.627) and San Francisco (.610). … Love threw for 4,159 yards in the regular season. He joined Kurt Warner (1999) and Patrick Mahomes (2018) as the only NFL players to have 4,000-plus passing yards and 32-plus TD passes in their first season with multiple starts. … This is the first time in Packers history that four rookies have caught at least 30 passes. They were Jayden Reed (64), Dontayvion Wicks (39), Luke Musgrave (34) and Tucker Kraft (31). ... Lamb has seven games with at least 10 catches this season. An eighth would put him one behind New Orleans' Michael Thomas (nine in 2019) for the most games with at least 10 catches in a season, playoffs included. ... CB DaRon Bland had an NFL-leading nine interceptions. The second-year player set a record with five interception returns for touchdowns. All of those came in the first 11 games. ... CB Stephon Gilmore has 11 pass breakups in his postseason career. That's second to San Francisco's Charvarius Ward (12) among active players. ... K Brandon Aubrey led the NFL with 36 field goals. The 28-year-old rookie set at NFL record by going 35 of 35 to start his career. Aubrey is the first Dallas kicker to lead the league in field goals since Richie Cunningham in 1997.