Cowboys vs Packers Pick: NFL Wild Card Matchup Preview

Cowboys vs Packers Pick: NFL Wild Card Matchup Preview article feature image

Action Network/Getty Images. Pictured: Matt LaFleur (left) and Mike McCarthy.

Cowboys vs Packers Pick: NFL Wild Card Matchup Preview

Sunday, Jan 14
4:30pm ET
Packers Odds
-110o / -110u
Cowboys Odds
-110o / -110u
Odds via bet365. Get up-to-the-minute NFL odds here.

Packers Preview

Jordan Love has played incredibly since Thanksgiving, posting six multi-touchdown games without an interception. Love was tied for second in the NFL this year in games with a passer rating above 100. Since Week 8, he has led the league in completion percentage over expectation (CPOE), and the Packers have won seven of 10 games during that stretch. In total, Love finished the season fifth in the league in EPA per dropback, just ahead of Lamar Jackson, Jalen Hurts and Patrick Mahomes.

With those numbers in mind, the Packers clearly have one of the best offenses in football. Against teams in the top 20 in offensive DVOA, the Cowboys have given up 25.75 points per game in eight tries. In recent weeks, we have seen the Cowboys' defense get exposed. Both the Lions and Seahawks put up more than 400 yards of offense against them in their home stadium, while the Bills and Dolphins both put up respectable performances of between 350 and 375 total yards.

The key for the Cowboys defensively has always been pressure. However, when their pass rush cannot get home, this unit is nowhere near elite. In fact, they finished this season outside the top 10 in yards per play allowed. Getting to Love won’t be easy, as the Packers are second in the league in pass block win rate, and top five in adjusted sack rate. The Cowboys will not be able to count on consistent pressure against a quarterback who's seeing the field at a very high level.

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Cowboys Preview

The Cowboys have turned into one of the most aggressive offenses in the NFL. Dak Prescott finished the season strong, and his connection with CeeDee Lamb is second to none. Prescott's 4.5% CPOE is the best of any quarterback within the top 10 in passing yards. The Packers defense does not have the personnel to slow down this efficient passing attack.

Green Bay is 21st in yards per play allowed and outside the top 25 in both pass and run defense DVOA. The Packers have a schedule rank of 26 according to DVOA, meaning they had the benefit of playing one of the easiest slates of opposing offenses. Trying to defend Lamb will be a major problem, as this defense also ranks 26th in DVOA against WR1’s. The Cowboys make it even more difficult to defend their best player by moving him around the formation, with Lamb playing on the boundary only 49% of snaps.

This is a major mismatch that the Packers are doubtful to overcome. Even if defensive coordinator Joe Barry decides to bring pressure more than usual, Prescott’s passer rating under pressure this season is a sparkling 98.8. There is a reason the Cowboys' team total sits at 29.5 points. Dallas has failed to reach 30 points only once this season in AT&T Stadium.

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Cowboys vs. Packers Pick

It is fair to expect plenty of points as both teams should move the ball rather efficiently. In the case both quarterbacks are comfortable in the pocket, this game will soar over the total. I have a strong lean towards the over at any number below 51.

With that said, my most confident position in this game is Packers +7.5. There is no scenario in which any of the other elite quarterbacks in the league would be catching this many points. The Cowboys played nine games this season against quarterbacks who finished with a passer rating above 90, and they were 3-6 against the spread in those games.

Pick: Packers +7.5 (Play to +7)

Lean: Over 50.5

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