The Green Bay Packers won’t have the injured Aaron Rodgers for a
sixth straight game. Playing a backup quarterback may prove not to
be a detriment against the Dallas Cowboys’ league-worst defense,
These teams are in the hunt for division titles, and the Cowboys
could be hard-pressed to stop Matt Flynn on Sunday at AT&T
The Packers ruled Rodgers out Friday. Coach Mike McCarthy said
after practice that the decision was made in the best interest of
the franchise quarterback. McCarthy said Rodgers had a good week of
preparation but did very little in practice Friday.
”Hey, it’s not the easiest thing to sit there and tell your
franchise quarterback he can’t play in the game when he wants to
play in the game,” McCarthy said. ”This is clearly a decision
that’s made in the best interest of Aaron Rodgers.”
He added that Rodgers was “very disappointed” in the
In his place, Flynn will make his third straight start. He went
24 of 32 for 258 yards with one touchdown and an interception in a
22-21 victory over Atlanta last week.
Green Bay (6-6-1) is one-half game behind NFC North co-leaders
Detroit and Chicago as it returns to Arlington for the first time
since Rodgers became MVP of Super Bowl XLV there in a 31-25 victory
over Pittsburgh in 2011.
While the Packers do not control their destiny to win the
division, the Cowboys do in the East. Dallas (7-6), which trails
first-place Philadelphia by one game and hosts the Eagles in Week
17, will own the tiebreaker if it wins its last three games.
Dallas (7-6), however, probably doesn’t have reason to be
confident this week even with Rodgers sidelined. The Cowboys were
shredded by another backup in Monday’s 45-28 road loss to the
Bears, as Josh McCown threw for 348 yards and four touchdowns.
Chicago racked up 490 yards of offense.
The defeat marked the second time in a row Dallas has turned in
an embarrassing performance in prime time after Drew Brees threw
for 392 yards and four scores in a 49-17 win for New Orleans on
Nov. 10. The Cowboys have allowed a league-worst 441.9 yards per
”Basically, we will have to make some adjustments in what we
are doing defensively,” owner Jerry Jones said Monday. ”What that
usually means is taking more risks on defense. But if you’re going
to have the kind of match like we had tonight or certainly in New
Orleans, you have to take some risks. We have to double up and I’m
sure that will be part of the plan on defense; more risks.”
Flynn helped Green Bay end an 0-4-1 slide Sunday, and he’s not
taking anything for granted this week, noting that the Cowboys have
forced 25 turnovers to tie for the fifth-highest total in the
“We’ve got to do our job and go out there and execute,” Flynn
said. “We think they’re a talented defense. We know what we’ve got
to do, we’ve got to try to work out any of the mistakes we’re
making and play a really clean game, especially there.”
The Cowboys didn’t force any turnovers Monday and allowed the
Bears to score on their first eight possessions.
Chicago converted eight of 11 first downs, and Dallas is
allowing opponents to convert 42.9 percent of the time in those
situations, fifth-worst in the league.
“It isn’t like they went right down the field, right down the
field,” defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin said. “Now they did but
we had some third downs, we’ve gotta win some third downs.”
The Cowboys are tied for fourth-fewest sacks in the NFL with 27.
Star pass rusher DeMarcus Ware, who has missed three games with a
thigh injury, has a career-low six.
Dallas also won’t have linebacker Sean Lee, who’s been ruled out
because of a neck injury.The team’s second-leading tackler was
injured against the Bears.
The woeful defense has put more pressure on Tony Romo, who fell
to 11-16 in December on Monday. He threw for a season-low 104 yards
but had three touchdown passes with no interceptions for an offense
that was only on the field for 23:16 because of the problems on the
other side of the ball.
”It feels like you’ve got to win out is what it feels like,”
said Romo, 2-1 in his career as a starter against Green Bay. ”It’s
felt like that for a few weeks.”
Although the Packers are familiar with this venue, Sunday marks
the first time they will face the Cowboys in it. Dallas captured
the last nine meetings at Texas Stadium, including three in the
The teams’ previous three matchups were in Green Bay, with the
Packers winning the last two. These clubs haven’t matched up in