GREEN BAY - SEPTEMBER 21: Tony Romo #9 of the Dallas Cowboys is tackled by Aaron Kampman #74 of the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on September 21, 2008 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Cowboys defeated the Packers in 27- 16. (Photo by Tom Hauck/Getty Images)
1) History. Describing Lambeau Field as a hostile environment might be a mistake because, from every account I've heard, the fans there, personally anyway, are a benign bunch. So, hostile? Maybe not.
But there's little doubt that the Wisconsinites are great, knowledgeable and, if the occasion is just right, deafeningly loud football fans. And when Dallas comes to town, the occasion always seems to be right. Lambeau has always been a hard place to win, for the Cowboys in particular, and the cheeseheads are no small reason why. Dallas is 1-5 in the friendly confines, with the one win coming last season.
2) Rick Gosselin pointed out this week that Dom Capers, the new Packers' defensive coordinator, has faced the Cowboys in six of his seven coaching stops, posting a 6-3 record against America's Team. His newly installed 3-4 defense, even without Aaron Kampman, will come to the field ready to play on Sunday.
3) Aaron Rodgers. The man many North Texans first came to know as the cocky quarterback who scoffed at, and was subsequently thrashed by, Texas Tech in his senior year at Cal, has developed into quite an NFL shot-caller. Of course, the Packers' hodgepodge offensive line has had trouble keeping Rodgers on his feet, allowing him to be sacked a league high 37 times.
But this stat only compounds the impressiveness of Rodgers' numbers: 63.1 completion percentage, 16 touchdowns, 5 interceptions (3 last week at Tampa), and a top-five worthy passer rating of 103.3. Make no mistake: the kid can beat you through the air if you give him the chance.
4) Perhaps I watched too many formulaic sports movies as a child, but these games always make me nervous; this Packers team seems down and out. Porous offensive line; the team's best pass rusher on the shelf with a concussion; coming off a loss to the painful-to-watch Buccaneers. Dallas is riding high, a fact reflected in everyone's predictions. No one, and I mean no one, has the Packers winning this game.
Unless formulaic sports movies have lied to me, this means a desperate, scrappy team, ready to win on sheer will and an awe-inspiring pregame speech. Fortunately, this game isn't a treacly Disney movie, designed to teach kids that anything is possible with hard work and unity, and ultimately (and inevitably) resulting in a win for the underdog. Unfortunately, it is an NFL game, which means there is no applicable formula at all, for good or ill.
Yes, the Cowboys should win this game.
Just as the Eagles should have won in Oakland.