Green Bay Packers (3-1 SU, 2-2 ATS, 3-1 O/U) vs. Dallas Cowboys (2-2 SU, 2-2 ATS, 2-2 O/U)
NFL: Sunday, October 8, 2017 at 4:25 p.m. EST
The Line: Dallas Cowboys -2.5. Total: 52.5.
The Green Bay Packers will have enjoyed a long week by the time they visit the Dallas Cowboys at A&T Stadium on Sunday afternoon. Green Bay played the Thursday night game in Week 4 and had no trouble taking care of Chicago. The Cowboys have alternated wins and losses this season and most recently fell to the Rams this past weekend.
Packers’ running back Ty Montgomery left last week’s 35-14 drubbing of Chicago in the first quarter with a rib injury. Montgomery was off to a strong start with 28 yards on five carries in the first six plays from scrimmage. Initial reports were that Montgomery suffered broken ribs, but that turned out to be incorrect. Head coach Mike McCarthy indicated that there is a chance his starting running back could be ready to face Dallas on Sunday. Fortunately for Green Bay, it has Aaron Rodgers under center regardless of what is going on with its running back situation. Rodgers has tossed 10 touchdown passes compared to three interceptions this season and is averaging 260.8 yards through the air per contest. He threw four TDs and was not picked off in. The other good news for the Packers is that they will have enjoyed nine full days off by the time they take the field against the team they knocked out of last season’s playoffs.
“Really, every injury is different,” McCarthy said of Montgomery. “We’re talking about injuries that the specifics of it are different, where exactly it’s located, type of equipment and definitely the position that you play. I really don’t have a clear answer on exactly what Ty is dealing with and how he can move forward. I know today the conversation with the trainers, as far as his conversation with the trainers, he’s preparing to get ready to play in Dallas. That’s really what this weekend is for. Tuesday we’ll really get our hands around it, and obviously, we’ll get you the injury information on Wednesday.”
Defense on the mend
Cowboys’ defensive lineman David Irving is returning this week after serving a four-game suspension (performance-enhancing drugs). It should present a big boost for Dallas, as Irving was one of the team’s more disruptive players last season with four sacks, five tackles for loss, 26 quarterback pressures, and four forced four fumbles in 15 games. In a 30-16 regular-season win over the Packers last October, Irving forced three fumbles and had a sack in just 19 snaps. That performance earned him NFC Defensive Player of the Week honors. Meanwhile, Sean Lee, Anthony Hitchens, and Chidobe Awuzie are also on the mend for the Dallas defense. Lee sustained hamstring injury in a Week 3 win over Arizona but may be back after missing only one game. Awuzie, a rookie cornerback, is also questionable with a hamstring issue. Hitchens, a linebacker, has been out since training camp with a knee injury. All three, however, may be able to join Irving on the field this Sunday.
“The hope is to get him integrated and see how he’s doing,” head coach Jason Garrett said on Monday, referring to Irving. “We haven’t seen him in four weeks, but hopefully he’s in shape and ready to go. We’ll try to integrate him into practice and just see how he is and take it day-by-day.”
The Green Bay Packers are:
- 9-4 ATS in their last 13 overall
- 6-2 ATS in their last eight games against the NFC
- 9-3 ATS in their last 12 games following a win
The Dallas Cowboys are:
- 3-7 ATS in their last 10 overall
- 1-6 ATS in their last seven games against teams with winning records
- 0-4 ATS in their last four home games against teams with winning road records
Going on the road to Dallas may not be a bad thing for the Packers. They lost to the Cowboys at home almost exactly one year ago before turning the tables on the road during the NFC divisional round. Green Bay is healthier now, especially if Montgomery has the green light for Sunday. As for the Cowboys, they are coming off an unceremonious home loss to the Rams. The Packers are 9-4 ATS in their last 13 overall, 6-2 ATS in their last eight against the NFC, 9-3 ATS in their last 12 following a win, and 5-2 ATS in the last seven meetings between the two teams. Dallas is 3-7 ATS in its last 10 overall, 1-6 ATS in its last seven against winning opponents, and 0-4 ATS in its last four at home against opponents with winning road records. Don’t be surprised if those trends continue.
Pick: Green Bay Packers +2.5
It remains to be seen how many bodies Dallas will have on the defensive side of the ball this weekend. Yes, the home team will have 11 on the field (presumably) for each play. But which 11? A lot of guys are banged up, which is not a situation in which you want to find yourself with Rodgers and the Packers’ high-powered offense coming to town. The over is 14-3 in the Packers’ last 17 overall, 5-0 in their last five on the road, 6-0 in their last six against winning opponents, 9-1 in their last 10 against the NFC, 9-1 in their last 10 following a win, and 4-0 in their last four on fieldturf. It is also 4-0 in Green Bay’s last four trips to Dallas. Look for this one to go over the total.