SportsNFLGreen Bay Packers


Running game, red zone defense are keys for Packers in showdown with Cowboys

If the Packers can limit the Cowboys to field goals and get another big day from Aaron Jones, they have a shot at pulling off an upset in Texas.
Posted at 11:10 PM, Jan 13, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-14 00:11:33-05

In his first season as a starting quarterback, Jordan Love lifted the Packers to the playoffs.

The 24-year-old has carried the load - throwing 18 touchdowns against just one interception over the last eight games - but he hasn't done it alone.

Over the past couple of weeks Love has gotten help from a resurgent Aaron Jones and - yes - even Green Bay's defense, led by embattled coordinator Joe Barry.

Those two factors figure to be keys again this week as the Packers look to pull off a Wild Card upset at AT&T Stadium, a place they have never lost.

It could be the perfect setting for Jones, who has played two of his best games in Arlington: a 125-yard day in his starting debut in 2017 and a famous four-touchdown performance in 2019.

"Seeing it for the last three 100-yard games, I'm like 'okay the Packers are going to be a problem,'" Ahman Green, the Packers all-time leading rusher, said of Jones.

"When the pass is working and the run is working... It keeps the defense very, very honest," Green said Saturday night at a Packers pep rally. "It creates a lot of problems for a defense."

On the other side, the Dallas offense will be tough to stop. The Cowboys led the league in scoring this season and are even better at home, where they average an astonishing 37 points per game.

"The Cowboys are going to get their yards," NBC 26 Packers insider Matt Schneidman said. "It's can the Packers prevent them from getting into the end zone?"

Green Bay ranks fifth in the league in Red Zone Defensive Success Percentage, according to TruMedia.

Over the past two games, the Packers have allowed five trips inside the 20 but just one touchdown. However, the Cowboys will be a different animal than the Vikings and Bears.

Schneidman noted the Chiefs game, when the Green Bay defense made two early red zone stops en route to a 27-19 upset win over the defending Super Bowl champions.

"That's the formula," Schneidman said. "If (Cowboys kicker) Brandon Aubrey's kicks can be for three points instead of one, the Packers have a good shot."

Dallas has won 16 consecutive home games, the longest active streak in the NFL.

Sunday's game will be the ninth all-time playoff meeting between the two iconic franchises. Each team has won four of the previous eight.

Kickoff is slated for 3:30 p.m. Sunday afternoon on FOX.