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(AP) -- There's not much talk this week about how the Green Bay Packers eliminated the Dallas Cowboys from the playoffs last season thanks in part to a controversial call involving Dez Bryant.

 

These teams are instead concerned about repeating as division champions as they meet Sunday at Lambeau Field.

 

Green Bay (8-4) advanced to the NFC championship last season by beating Dallas 26-21 behind two second-half touchdown passes from Aaron Rodgers. The key play was when Bryant's leaping, bobbling 31-yard catch with 4:06 left on a fourth-and-2 play was challenged by coach Mike McCarthy and reversed as an incomplete pass.

 

With that Jan. 11 contest so long ago and Dallas (4-8) without an injured Tony Romo, there's little reminiscing about it.

 

"I don't know that guys bring a lot of stuff with them from past games," Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said. "I do think it's important to focus on what we need to do for today to get ready for Sunday."

 

These teams are in better positions in their division races than they would have expected for different reasons.

 

The Packers enter off a 27-23 win at Detroit last Thursday on Rodgers' 61-yard Hail Mary TD pass to Richard Rodgers on the last play of the game that capped a rally from 20 points down. Green Bay got an untimed down after Aaron Rodgers was tackled by the face mask on the previous play as time expired.

 

"This one obviously ranks up there as one of the greatest joys on the field that we've had together and personally," Aaron Rodgers said.

 

Green Bay is now tied with Minnesota atop the North after the Vikings lost 38-7 to Seattle on Sunday. The Packers avoided a fifth loss in six games.

 

"We're an 8-4 football team that needs to do better at the little things," McCarthy said. "We're not as detailed as we'd like to be right now."

 

Dallas won 19-16 at Washington on Monday on Dan Bailey's 54-yard field goal with 9 seconds left. The Cowboys prevailed for the first time in eight games without Romo and moved within a game of the East lead - with the mediocre division's other teams tied for first.

 

"When you get down towards the end of the season and the games are fewer and the impact of the games in terms of the playoff implications are so huge, there's just a tremendous sense of urgency," Garrett said.

 

Matt Cassel was 16 of 29 for 222 yards and guided the Cowboys to the winning field goal in five plays over 35 seconds. He dropped his first four starts with Dallas.

 

"As you can see, Cassel was able to get it done," Packers safety Micah Hyde said. "He still has the weapons, has a good back (who) runs hard, good receivers, obviously a good tight end."

 

Dallas would like to get Darren McFadden untracked after the back who has topped 100 yards three times has managed 64 in the last two games. The game plan is not to put too much pressure on Cassel to win the game.

 

"You want to reduce his burden as much as you can by running the ball better and guys making plays around him and then doing what you can do on defense and the kicking game to do what you can to alleviate the burden from the offense and the quarterback," Garrett said.

 

There are some issues swirling with the Packers running game after Eddie Lacy played only 19 snaps in the Lions game. There are reports that he missed curfew the night before, and the Packers confirmed there was a disciplinary issue.

 

Lacy carried five times for four yards after consecutive 100-yard efforts. James Starks started and was limited to 15 yards.

 

The starting position is up for grabs, though it seems that the Packers would like to see Lacy reclaim the role.

 

"Everything's in front of him," McCarthy said. "If Eddie or any other player wants to jump up and grab that opportunity, it's right in front of him."

 

Aaron Rodgers has been picked off in consecutive games in a single season for the first time in three years, and has failed to produce a passer rating of at least 100.0 in six straight games after reaching that figure 11 times last year to earn league MVP honors. The Cowboys don't believe he is suffering through any woes.

 

"He just plays the game at such a high level," said Garrett, whose club is last in the league with a minus-14 turnover differential. "He's able to do things on the field that very few guys can."

 

The Packers are seeking to avoid losing three straight at home for the first time since 2006.

 

 

Pretty sad that this is probably going to be close, even with the Cowboys rolling Cassel out there.

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This game is only interesting due to how much improved do the Packers look after a long break. Kind of unnecessarily promoted to be the only televised game around the whole country later in the day.

 

:Packers: 24

:Cowboys: 13

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Mike McCarthy has taken back play calling duties

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Packers WR Ty Montgomery (ankle) is inactive for Week 14 against the Cowboys.

It's Montgomery's seventh straight absence, though he should finally return for Week 15. Also inactive for the Packers are QB Brett Hundley, CB LaDarius Gunter, RB John Crockett, LB Nick Perry, LB Andy Mulumba and C Corey Linsley. Crockett's deactivation is another sign Eddie Lacy will get another chance to carry the mail.

 

 

 

Cowboys declared WR Brice Butler, QB Tony Romo, TE Geoff Swaim, OG Ronald Leary, OT Chaz Green, LB Mark Nzeocha and CB Deji Olatoye inactive for Week 14 against the Packers.

The Cowboys plan to keep Romo on the active roster as long as they're still mathematically alive in the playoff hunt.

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Dallas' offense sans Tony Romo has to be the worst unit not led by Ryan Lindley in NFL history. Jesus Christ.

 

MO for the Dallas defense--be great until a fourth quarter stop is needed, then turn to shit

Edited by BwareDWare94

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Dez Bryant is such a great WR...3 dropped passes, has all of 1 catch for 9 yards. Maybe he should look across the field and see Cobb. Cobb has been grinding it out all game, making tough catches, throwing key blocks for Lacy and Starks, even carrying the ball out of the backfield.

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Dez Bryant is such a great WR...3 dropped passes, has all of 1 catch for 9 yards. Maybe he should look across the field and see Cobb. Cobb has been grinding it out all game, making tough catches, throwing key blocks for Lacy and Starks, even carrying the ball out of the backfield.

 

Oh don't even make that comparison. Who's throwing the ball matters, and Matt Cassel's noodle arm was on constant display, today.

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Cassel got it to Bryant multiple times for a nice drop. Cobb has been struggling a lot this year, but he isn't making a scene about it and multiple times he was doing the gritty stuff that a diva, like Bryant won't do.

 

Did you even watch the game?

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Dez Bryant got shut down by Damarious Randall, which is really nice to see. Randall is going to be a damn good player in the coming years. Defense played well overall outside of 4 plays. I know it's Matt Cassel but it's nice to see them play well regardless.

Offense finally did work. They struggled to get into the endzone early, but were still moving the ball better than they have in the last 2 months. It's crazy to me how much difference there was today with Mike McCarthy calling plays... Offense flowed a lot better and there was just better execution overall.

And the balance was crazy. Rodgers played well throwing the ball, but Lacy and Starks KILLED it on the ground. Lacy hit 100 yards for the 3rd time in 4 games and averaged 5 a clip and Starks was averaging 6.5 per carry. I mean.. it was crazy how much our Oline, which has struggled, manhandled Dallas' front.

One of the best most consistent games we've played all season. We are playing our best football right now, which is a good thing.

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I kinda wish Crockett would have been rewarded for last week but I honestly don't even know if he was active

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I kinda wish Crockett would have been rewarded for last week but I honestly don't even know if he was active

He wasn't he played well and proved that the Packers were idiots for keeping Alonzo Harris over him after the preseason. It would have been nice to see him in the game, but Lacy and Starks were so hot he would have probably rarely seen action anyway.

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2 active RBs? That's kinda risky, but I suppose they probably list Kuhn as a RB.

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2 RBs and 2 FBs

Edited by Favre4Ever

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Dez Bryant got shut down by Damarious Randall, which is really nice to see. Randall is going to be a damn good player in the coming years. Defense played well overall outside of 4 plays. I know it's Matt Cassel but it's nice to see them play well regardless.

 

Don't get me wrong, Randall played well, but let's be honest...Dez couldn't catch anything. He had at least three drops if not more that were just down to him not being able to hold onto the ball. They weren't catches that were highly contested either. These were balls that Dez should be holding onto. I'm OK with you giving some credit to your defensive back, but I think most of America knows that this was just one of those days for Dez - which happens quite frequently tbh. Every couple of games Dez has a severe case of butter fingers.

 

We're just terrible. We can't generate shit on offense. It's embarrassing. All this season told me is that the Cowboys were not prepared at all if Romo went down, which is laughable considering his injury prone history. 1 win out of 10 games is unacceptable simply because your starting QB is out. Unacceptable.

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Oh ya, he dropped either half or nearly half of his targets. Not a good day for him regardless. But even discounting the drops... Catching 1 of 3 passes for 9 yards is a really solid day by a rookie CB playing one of the leagues most physically imposing WRs. Not saying it was all on the DB, but I am happy the way he played, regardless. It was the first time in 2 years that Dez was held to 1 or 0 catches.

I will take, off day or not. Ha.

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The reason Dez is not in the discussion for best WR is that he requires a QB who knows how to "give him a chance" because he does not run great routes, does not generate elite separation, and rarely is so wide open that it's an easy throw. Romo makes Dez Bryant because Romo gives him chances to make plays.

Edited by BwareDWare94

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