Quarterback Matt Flynn will get his third straight start in a matchup against the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday afternoon at AT&T Stadium, as the Green Bay Packers try to keep their playoff hopes alive.
Dallas (7-6) was tripped up in last week’s 45-28 dismantling at the hands of Chicago, and fell a game behind Philadelphia for the NFC East lead. Still two of Dallas’s final three games are at home, and if they can squelch Green Bay’s fifth ranked offense and drop struggling Washington, they’ll set up a pivotal showdown against Philadelphia in Week 17.
The Packers (6-6-1) are two games back in third place in the NFC North, with a poorer division and conference record than first-place Detroit and Chicago, and also need to win their last three games for shot at the postseason.
After reportedly taking some practice reps with the first team Green Bay still ruled Aaron Rodgers out as the quarterback recovers from a broken collar bone. But the squad should have faith in Texas native Flynn, especially against the Cowboys 32nd ranked pass defense.
Now in his second stint with Green Bay after losing out on starting jobs in Seattle and Oakland, Flynn led the Packers to a fourth quarter rally in last week’s 22-21 win over Atlanta, snapping the team’s five game winless streak. Green Bay hadn’t won since Rodgers went down in Week Nine’s loss to Chicago.
Third-year Green Bay tight end Andrew Quarless caught the game-winning two-yard score, and led the team with six receptions for 66 yards, while veteran receiver Jordy Nelson snagged four balls for 85 yards.
Tony Romo will once again deal with questions surrounding his play in December. Despite tossing three touchdowns and Dallas rushing for a combined 198 yards, the Cowboys fell to 11-16 under Romo in the final month of the season.
The Cowboys defense surrendered four passing touchdowns and 490 total yards to Chicago, allowing them to score on eight of nine possessions and an 8-for-11 third down conversion rate. The loss dropped Dallas to dead last in the NFL in total defense.
The Cowboys clearly missed corner Morris Claiborne, who sat out with a hamstring injury. Claiborne is listed as questionable for Sunday’s matchup.
Another blow on the defensive side of the ball for Dallas is linebacker Sean Lee. Second on the team with 99 tackles and first with four interceptions, Lee suffered a neck injury against Chicago and will be out on Sunday.
“There’s no gray area,” Lee said to KRLD-FM on Friday according to the Star-Telegram. “I kind of have to let it heal for me to be able to even do my job. I wouldn’t probably be able to make it through the game until I let it heal. Hopefully it can heal up faster, and we’ll look at it next week. Hopefully it will look a lot better.”
But Dallas has to be especially happy with running back DeMarco Murray’s production. Against Chicago he gained a season-high 8.1 yards per carry and finished the game with 146 yards, his second game breaking past the 100-yard barrier this season.
Other than Rodgers, the Packers have ruled defensive end C.J. Wilson out for the fourth straight game. The second-stringer’s only recorded eight combined tackles this season, but does limit the depth behind starter B.J. Raji.
Betting Odds: Dallas favored by 6.5 points
Over/Under: 49 points
Time: Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET
TV Channel: FOX
Line Online Stream: NFL Sunday Ticket here
Prediction: Green Bay 24, Dallas 17