Two of the top teams in the NFC will look to make a statement when facing one another in Week 5 as the Dallas Cowboys play host to the Green Bay Packers. Game time is at 4:25 EST on Sunday, October 6 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. A majority of the country will be able to watch the game on Fox.
According to our Week 5 NFL odds, the Cowboys are favored by 3.5 points at home. The over/under for the game is set at 47 points.
Dallas got off to a 3-0 start this season behind a high-flying offense, but all of that came to a crashing halt last week when they lost to the Saints 12-10. Managing just 10 points certainly puts in perspective the fact that their three wins came against the Giants, Redskins, and Dolphins, teams that combined for just two wins in the first month of the season.
After losing to a quality team last week, the Cowboys will get another chance to prove that they’re for real as they come home to face another quality team. At 3-1, Dallas remains at the top of the NFC East. However, both the Eagles and Giants are only a game behind. With a second straight loss, the Cowboys could lose their hold on the division lead, which was the biggest perk of their 3-0 start.
Likewise, the Packers are coming off their first loss of the season after starting the year 3-0. Green Bay’s loss was particularly disappointing because it came at home on a short week. The Packers also jumped out to an early 10-0 lead over the Eagles but were outscored 34-17 the rest of the way in a 34-27 loss.
At 3-1, the Packers are tied with the Bears atop the NFC North. However, all four teams in that division are only separated by a game, so the Packers don’t have much margin for error if they want to claim the top spot in the division. Green Bay could potentially go from first to worst in the NFC North with a loss this week, so they’ll feel a little pressure to get back on track quickly after last week’s loss.
This is an interesting matchup because both teams had some flaws exposed last week. But I think Dallas is more likely to bounce back and expose the weaknesses that Green Bay has displayed early in the season. My gut was to take the Packers and the points, but I’ve had a change of heart and now expect the Cowboys to win by at least a touchdown and cover.
The Green Bay defense received a lot of praise during the team’s three-game winning streak. But they also benefitted from playing a few lackluster offensive teams early in the season. The truth is that the Packers have struggled to stop the run this year but have managed to make up for it in other areas. However, they couldn’t get away with it against the Eagles and they probably won’t get away with it against the Cowboys.
Admittedly, the Dallas rushing attack was stifled last week against the Saints. But that’s not something that’s going to happen often. With the way the Packers have defended the run this year, Ezekiel Elliott is likely to have a field day. Backup Tony Pollard has also excelled in a supporting role. If the Cowboys can get their rushing attack going, everything becomes much easier for Dak Prescott. When the Cowboys run the ball and don’t put everything on Prescott’s shoulders, he’s at his best as a passer.
On the other side of the ball, the Dallas defense has also received a lot of praise this year despite facing some subpar offensive teams. It’s fair to remain a little skeptical of the Dallas defense after four weeks. Even holding the Saints to four field goals last week isn’t that big of a deal because of the absence of Drew Brees. In other words, the Cowboys will finally be tested this week when they face Aaron Rodgers.
Of course, the Green Bay offense has some injury concerns right now, most notably Davante Adams, who is questionable with turf toe. In fairness, the other Green Bay receivers like Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Geronimo Allison, and Jimmy Graham have been serviceable this year. But the offense looks a lot different if Adams doesn’t play or isn’t at 100%. Keep in mind the Packers are averaging just 3.5 yards per carry running the ball this season. Against a Dallas defense that looks solid on paper, Rodgers may not have the support he needs.
In the end, Green Bay’s struggles stopping the run and the uncertainty with Adams are enough to push me toward the Cowboys. If Dallas runs the ball the way other teams have against the Packers this year, they can keep Rodgers off the field and test the Green Bay defense. This is far from my most confident pick this week, but I have a hunch that the Cowboys will bounce back and win comfortably at home.