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On Deck: Green Bay Packers

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    NEWSLETTERS

    NBC 5
    The Cowboys and Packers take the field Sunday, Jan. 11, 2015 in the Divisional Round of the NFL Playoffs.

    On Deck will be here all season to provide you with everything you need to know (and a few things you don't) about every Cowboys game during the 2014 season.

    The Opponent: The Packers are entering this game with an 8-0 record this year at Lambeau, and at their home stadium quarterback Aaron Rodgers is a freak of nature under center. He's thrown the same amount of picks as the team has losses at home — zero. He's dealing with a bum calf, which forced him from the Week 17 clash with Detroit for a bit, but he eventually returned and has had the first-round bye to rest and heal. While the Packers defense ranks No. 23 against the run, they've allowed nearly a yard per carry less over their last eight games than they did in their first eight, so it's a bit misleading. A lot of that is probably because Clay Matthews has moved from outside to inside linebacker.

    Past Meetings: The Cowboys are 16-15 all-time against the Pack, including a 4-2 mark in six postseason games with the Cowboys having won the last four. Overall, the Packers have won the last three meetings, including a 37-36 win last season that fell squarely on the bad game management of Jason Garrett.

    Key Matchup: Cowboys running game vs. Packers front seven — The obvious task in front of the Cowboys is trying to figure out a way to contain Aaron Rodgers and his out-of-this-world track record at home this year. But one way they can do that is to control the ball and the clock with one of the league's top rushing attacks. DeMarco Murray had 75 yards on 19 carries against the stellar run defense of the Lions on Sunday, and should have some more room to run in Green Bay.

    Who's Hot: The Cowboys defense, as a whole. In the last five games, the Cowboys have 28 "impactful" plays — turnovers and sacks. Somehow, some way, it's happened. They have a huge task at hand in Aaron Rodgers, Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb and Eddie Lacy, but it's been a much improved unit recently. Terrance Williams stepped up huge on Sunday after an extended slumber with two touchdown grabs, including the 76-yarder that got Dallas on the board just before halftime.

    The last home interception by Rodgers was in 2012. Let that sink in. He is just simply unreal at Lambeau Field. Lacy had 100 rushing yards in their last game against the Lions — that same Lions defense that held Murray to 75 yards. Cobb, the Packers' own Williams, also caught two touchdown passes in that game.

    Who's Not: Over the last five games, Murray has just two 100-yard performances and has seen his yards per carry drop by more than a yard. That includes his monster game against the Bears, which is pretty telling. Granted, he's been playing with a surgically repaired hand and has had a huge workload this season, so the concern is that it could finally be taking its toll. Dez Bryant had just three catches for 48 yards on Sunday, and that included a 43-yard reception. Tony Romo wasn't good early in the game, but picked up his game when it mattered and finished with 293 yards and two scores.

    Not really much to mention here for the Packers, who are well rested after their first-round bye. But the biggest concern in Green Bay right now is Rodgers' aforementioned calf strain. He was limping pretty badly on Sunday even after he returned to the game after being taken to the locker room.