The Dallas Cowboys offense hardly looked to be the same one that touts one of the most formidable quarterback-rusher duos in the NFL during their 12-10 road loss Sunday in prime time at the New Orleans Saints.
The Cowboys went from scoring 30 or more points in three straight games to barely hitting double digits as Ezekiel Elliott struggled all night, finishing with just 35 yards on 18 carries and losing a fumble despite scoring Dallas’ lone touchdown. That’s just 1.9 yards per carry.
A reminder: Elliott just a month ago signed a blockbuster contract extension for six years and $90 million that made him the league’s highest-paid running back. All the more reason to assume he won’t stay down after an uncharacteristically stalled-out week.
Hosting the Green Bay Packers and their porous run defense could be just the thing Elliott, Dak Prescott and the Cowboys offense need to get things back on track after their first loss.
The Packers are allowing more than 140 rushing yards per game against a wide-ranging talent pool of running backs, including dynamic Minnesota rusher Dalvin Cook’s 154-yard field day back in Week 2. Jordan Howard also rushed for two touchdowns last week as the Philadelphia Eagles bashed through a defense that had been a strength thus far for Green Bay.
The Cowboys are 3.5-point favorites to win at their home AT&T Stadium with an over-under set at 47, according to Odds Shark, but both sides having unusual Week 4 performances has bettors watching closely for developments that could shift the odds.
Here’s some more background on the teams along with stats and advice on which of these 3-1 franchises should bounce back with a win in Week 5.
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Cowboys vs. Packers: Which Team Leaves With Second Loss?
The Cowboys and Packers both are early playoff contenders after their respective division-leading starts. Chicago and Green Bay are even by record, but the Packers defeated their NFC North rivals on the road in their season opener. Meanwhile, Dallas maintains a one-game lead over the Eagles and New York Giants in the NFC East.
This test is about as true as they come for both teams, as the Cowboys offense and the Packers defense — each side’s glaring issue in Week 4 — going head to head with each other all but promises one will emerge better and one will emerge worse after Sunday’s midday game.
Dak Prescott is the most mobile quarterback the Packers have faced all season, and it really isn’t close, so it should be interesting to see how the defense responds. But the spotlight certainly falls on Elliott and whether Green Bay can buck concerns against the run by effectively containing the rushing powerhouse. He will have the home crowd at his back, too.
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Cowboys vs. Packers: Pick & Prediction
One thing that can’t go unmentioned is the Packers’ X-Factor: Aaron Rodgers. Even though he will likely be without his star receiver, he is a dangerous deep-ball threat unlike anything the Cowboys have seen through their first four weeks.
Inside AT&T Stadium with their pride wounded after losing to the Saints, the Cowboys are worth backing as the winners in this one, but the Packers might struggle to cover the spread without Davante Adams if the other receivers fall short against the Dallas secondary.
Pick: Cowboys -3.5
Over-under: Under 47
Prediction: Cowboys 24, Packers 13