The Green Bay Packers and Dallas Cowboys – two of the most storied and iconic franchises in league history. While they’re not division rivals, they do have a long past of playing some of the greatest, most memorable games of all time.
The two teams will square off for the 34th time ever on Sunday in Green Bay, with the Packers holding a slim edge in the series, 17-16. This week’s game won’t have the spectacle of Thanksgiving Day or a primetime postseason matchup, but there is plenty riding on it. The Packers are 3-1 and trail the Vikings in the NFC North, while the 4-1 Cowboys look to retain first place in the East.
With Sunday’s highly anticipated battle quickly approaching, let’s take a look at some of the best games ever played by these two teams.
The 2013 season was a shaky one for the Packers as they were forced to play part of the season without Aaron Rodgers, who broke his collarbone in the middle of the season. Scott Tolzien and Seneca Wallace both tanked in spot duty, so the Packers brought back Matt Flynn for this game.
Flynn and the Packers fell behind 26-3 at halftime, when the Cowboys had a 98.5 percent chance of winning. Mike McCarthy riled up his troops at the half, and the Packers came out firing. Flynn threw for 299 yards and four touchdowns in the game, leading Green Bay to the biggest comeback win in franchise history.
Two weeks later, the Packers locked up the NFC North with a record of 8-7-1, making this win a crucial one for their season – all thanks to none other than Matt Flynn.
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Battle of 10-1 teams – Nov. 29, 2007: Cowboys 37, Packers 27
Late in the 2007 season, the Packers and Cowboys were both vying for the top spot in the NFC. They each entered this pivotal primetime Thursday night game with near-perfect 10-1 records. Home-field advantage was on the line, and the battle between the NFC’s best lived up to the hype.
Tony Romo threw for 309 yards and four touchdowns as the Cowboys clinched a playoff berth with the 10-point victory, but things may have been different had Brett Favre not been knocked out with a shoulder injury.
Aaron Rodgers stepped in for Favre in what was his first extended action for the Packers, completing 18 of 26 passes for 201 yards and a touchdown. That was the final game Rodgers ever played in Favre’s shadow as he became the full-time starter a year later.
The Cowboys and Packers squared off at the Cotton Bowl for the right to represent the NFL in Super Bowl I. It was Dallas’ seventh year as a franchise, and they had experienced their first winning season in team history, while the Packers were as storied as they came at the time.
Bart Starr was the star of this one, throwing for 304 yards and four touchdowns, leading the Packers to a seven-point victory on the road. Don Merideth was unable to lead the Cowboys to a comeback win as he was intercepted by Tom Brown on fourth-and-goal.
Green Bay went on to win Super Bowl I over the Chiefs two weeks later.
Well, he didn’t actually catch it, but don’t tell Cowboys fans that.
This was the infamous Dez Bryant non-catch game where he nearly sent the Cowboys to the NFC Championship game, only to come up just shy on a crucial fourth-and-2 in the final five minutes. The overturned reception will go down as one of the most memorable incompletions in NFL history, particularly for those in Dallas.
Rather than having the ball with a first-and-1 at Green Bay’s goal line down 26-21, the Cowboys turned it over on downs and never saw the football again. Bryant was left speechless and baffled, as millions others were in the hours, days and weeks after the game.
Aaron Rodgers, bad leg and all, threw for 316 yards and three touchdowns in the blistering cold, outdueling Tony Romo and the Cowboys. Green Bay then lost to the Seahawks in the NFC title game, ending their postseason run.
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Thanksgiving Day – Nov. 24, 1994: Cowboys 42, Packers 31
Long before Jason Garrett became the Cowboys’ head coach, he was the team’s quarterback – a backup, albeit. On Thanksgiving Day in 1994, he was a hero in Dallas.
After starting the season as a third-stringer, Garrett got the nod in this crucial game against the rival Packers. He looked shaky early, falling to a 17-6 halftime deficit. It looked like Brett Favre and the Packers were going to escape with a win, but Garrett had other plans in the second half.
He led Dallas to 36 points in the final 30 minutes, edging the Packers by 11 points. Garrett finished with a career-high 311 yards and two touchdowns in what was by far the biggest game of his life.
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NFC title game – Jan. 14, 1996: Cowboys 38, Packers 27
The Cowboys came into the 1995 NFC title game as home favorites over the Packers, who had upset the 49ers in the divisional round one week prior. After three quarters, it looked like they’d be upset by Brett Favre and the Packers, too.
Green Bay entered the fourth quarter with a three-point lead over the Cowboys, putting their run at a third Super Bowl in four years in serious jeopardy. That’s when Emmitt Smith took over.
Smith rushed for two touchdowns in the fourth quarter to give Dallas an 11-point cushion it wouldn’t relinquish. The Cowboys won 38-27 and went on to defeat the Steelers in the Super Bowl to win their third ring in four years. Smith had 150 yards and three scores against the Packers.
One of the most historic games in NFL history was also the coldest. The Ice Bowl kicked off with sub-zero temperatures, dipping as low as minus-13 degrees. Factor in the blistering wind chill of a reported minus-48 degrees and you can see where this game got its name.
The field’s heating system failed, making the surface nearly unplayable, while referees couldn’t even use their whistles because they would freeze to their lips.
As for the game, it was won by Bart Starr in the final minute on a quarterback sneak to give the Packers a four-point lead. Green Bay would go on to win Super Bowl II over the Raiders, which would be Vince Lombardi’s final championship.