Preview: Packers, Cowboys look to bounce back after first loss

FILE -  In this Sunday, Jan. 15, 2017 file photo, Green Bay Packers' Aaron Rodgers throws during the first half of an NFL divisional playoff football game against the Dallas Cowboys in Arlington, Texas. The Green Bay Packers play the Atlanta Falcons in the NFC championship game, Sunday, Jan. 22, 2017. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez, File)

ARLINGTON, Texas — Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys want to get their offense back to what it was doing before a sputtering loss that slowed their best start in more than a decade.

Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers are looking for a repeat of their best offensive showing, but this time in a win when nearly 500 yards wasn’t good enough.

The division leaders — visiting Green Bay (3-1) is tied with Chicago atop the NFC North — meet Sunday with the same goal: Answer a loss with a victory so they can still feel the momentum of opening with three straight wins.

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“As we’ve shown obviously early on struggling on offense with our defense playing really well, managing the game and taking care of the football was what helped us win those early games,” said Rodgers, who had his eighth 400-yard game in last week’s 34-27 loss to Philadelphia.

“Last week, we needed to outscore them, and we didn’t get the job done. So it’s on the offense to be a lot better situationally.”

In a 12-10 loss at New Orleans, the Cowboys (3-1) were held to 257 yards, barely half of what they rolled up in each of their wins while scoring more than 30 points each time.

Tight end Jason Witten and running back Ezekiel Elliott had fumbles that helped contribute to the first halftime deficit of the season, and Prescott made a critical mistake taking a sack on the first play of the final drive, when they ran out of time needing only a field goal to win.

“We know the potential of this team, we know how good we can be and we can’t focus necessarily on what the record is,” Prescott said. “You take the good, you take the bad, you live and learn from it and you get better because of it.”

The Packers could be without top receiver Davante Adams, who had his career-high 180 yards receiving against the Eagles before injuring a toe in the second half.


The Cowboys had 45 yards rushing against the Saints, their fewest since the second game of Elliott’s second season in 2017. Dallas had 40 yards in that 42-17 loss to Denver, and Elliott finished with a career-low 8. But the Packers have the 26th-ranked run defense through four weeks.

“I just think you have to be careful about getting into numbers too much,” Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said. “We’re going to go do what we want to do and again, try to attack different ways, try to be who we are in all phases of our team.”

Green Bay’s Aaron Jones had his first career 100-yard game in a 35-31 win over the Cowboys as a rookie two years ago, but has averaged 20 yards in two games since going for 116 in Week 2 this year. Like their defense, the Packers have the 26th-ranked rushing offense.

“We’ve got to make sure the wide receivers are on the same page, the quarterback’s on the same page, the tight ends are on the same page, the offensive line’s on the same page and the running back is,” left tackle David Bakhtiari said.


Randall Cobb, who spent his first eight seasons in Green Bay, is facing the Packers for the first time after signing with the Cowboys in the offseason. It took reporters six questions to get to the one he was waiting for: Did Dez catch it?

“I’ve been getting that a lot since I’ve been here,” Cobb said. “We didn’t know what the rules were back then. It’s probably a catch nowadays.”

It was a reference to Dallas receiver Dez Bryant’s infamous catch that wasn’t on fourth down in the fourth quarter of Green Bay’s 26-21 divisional-round victory during the 2014 season. The deep ball was ruled a catch and overturned on review. Three years later, the rules changed.


The Cowboys could be without six-time Pro Bowl left tackle Tyron Smith, who sprained an ankle against the Saints. Right tackle La’el Collins missed the first two practices after a back issue cropped up this week.

Cameron Fleming would fill in for Smith. Dallas is considering moving second-year guard Connor Williams to Collins’ spot and starting someone else at left guard. The Cowboys are set to face one of the NFL’s two linebacking tandems with at least three sacks apiece in Preston Smith (4½ sacks) and Za’Darius Smith (three).


The Packers are 3-0 against Dallas at AT&T Stadium, with three dramatic victories, starting in 2013 when Rodgers was injured and Matt Flynn led Green Bay’s 37-36 win after trailing 26-3 at halftime.

Two years after the Dez catch that wasn’t, the Packers beat the Cowboys in the divisional-round again on Rodgers’ improbable 35-yard completion to Jared Cook that set up Mason Crosby’s field goal on the final play in Green Bay’s 34-31 win.

In 2017, Rodgers’ 12-yard scoring pass to Adams with 11 seconds left gave Green Bay a 35-31 win as the teams combined for 30 points in the fourth quarter.

“Some places you feel really comfortable,” Rodgers said. “There’s so much going on. It’s a beautiful stadium with the jumbotron and the way it’s set up, an interesting kind of walk through the club when you’re heading on the field. A lot of stimuli, but we’ve had some fun games there.”

GREEN BAY (3-1) at DALLAS (3-1)

4:25 p.m. ET, Fox

OPENING LINE — Cowboys by 5

RECORD VS. SPREAD — Packers 3-1, Cowboys 3-1

SERIES RECORD — Packers lead 19-17

LAST MEETING — Packers 35, Cowboys 31, Oct. 8, 2017

LAST WEEK — Packers lost to Eagles 34-27, Cowboys lost to Saints 12-10

AP PRO32 RANKING — Packers No. 8, Cowboys No. 4





STREAKS, STATS AND NOTES _ Packers have won seven of past eight in series, with Dallas victory coming during franchise-record 11-game winning streak when QB Dak Prescott and RB Ezekiel Elliott were rookies in 2016. … Packers 3-0 at AT&T Stadium. … Both teams are in top seven in NFL in scoring defense (Cowboys second at 11.3 points per game, Packers seventh at 17.3). … Packers QB Aaron Rodgers is 6-2 against Cowboys with 2,172 yards, 15 TDs, two INTs and 103.5 passer rating. … RB Aaron Jones had 125 yards rushing, TD in previous Dallas meeting, seeks fourth straight week with rushing TD. … WR Davante Adams had career-high 180 yards receiving against Eagles but didn’t practice at start of week because of toe injury that sidelined him during Philadelphia game. … Preston Smith (4½ sacks) and Za’Darius Smith (three sacks) one of two LB tandems in NFL with at least three sacks apiece. … CB Tramon Williams has five passes defenses in past three against Cowboys. … Since entering league in 2016, Prescott has thrown nine touchdown passes of more than 50 yards, trailing only Tom Brady and Philip Rivers (11 each). Needs one rushing TD to tie Roger Staubach’s club record of 20 rushing touchdowns for QB. Has completed all 28 of his passes in third quarter. … Elliott averaging 133 yards rushing per game in three meetings with Green Bay. … WR Randall Cobb spent first eight years of career with Packers before signing with Cowboys in offseason. … WR Amari Cooper had six catches, 120 yards, two TDs in only game against Packers while with Raiders in 2015. … DE Robert Quinn has three sacks in two games, joined Randy Watts (1987) and Greg Hardy (2015) as only players with sack in each of first games with Cowboys. … DT Maliek Collins seeks career-best third straight game with sack. … Fantasy tip: Cowboys facing NFL’s 26th-ranked rushing defense week after getting fewest yards rushing since having 40 in the second game of Elliott’s second season in 2017, loss at Denver when 2016 All-Pro had career-low 8 yards. Elliott had 35 of team’s 45 yards in last week’s loss to Saints.