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NFL Wild Card: Green Bay Packers vs. Dallas Cowboys preview

The Packers take on the NFC East champion Cowboys in Sunday afternoon's Wild Card game that will see Dallas coach Mike McCarthy face his former team.

The Packers ended their regular season 9-8 to earn the seventh seed, while the second-seed Cowboys went 12-5 in the 2023 campaign.

Dallas is led by quarterback Dak Prescott, who led the league in touchdown passes with 36 and completions with 410. Prescott also posted a career-high 69.5 completion percentage. 

Green Bay is led by third-year QB Jordan Love, who assumed the starting role this season and threw 32 TDs to 11 interceptions while completing 64.2 percent of his passes.

WhatGreen Bay Packers @ Dallas Cowboys
WhereAT&T Stadium, Arlington, TX
When4:30 PM ET, Sunday, January 14
How to watchFox
OddsDAL Cowboys -7, GB Packers +270 ML

Read more: Wild Card weekend schedule, odds, how to watch

Injury Report

Green Bay Packers: AJ Dillon did not practice due to neck and thumb injuries; Jaire Alexander, Romeo Doubs, Elgton Jenkins, Aaron Jones, Isaiah McDuffie, Jonathan Owens, Tedarrell Slaton, Preston Smith, and Christian Watson were limited in practice on Wednesday.

Dallas Cowboys: Stephon Gilmore did not practice due to a shoulder injuries. Brandin Cooks, Johnathan Hankins, Jourdan Lewis, and Tyler Smith were limited in practice on Wednesday. Demarcus Lawrence, Zack Martin, and Tyron Smith did not practice on Wednesday due to rest.

McCarthy faces former team

Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy will host the team he coached for 12 and a half seasons. McCarthy won the NFL Championship with Green Bay to cap the 2010 NFL season.

McCarthy guided the team's quarterback transition from Brett Favre to Aaron Rodgers between 2007 and 2008.

He missed the playoffs in just three of the 12 full seasons he spent as the Packers head coach, and those three seasons were the only ones in which his team finished with a losing record. He amassed a 10-8 record in playoff games as the Packers coach.

His best regular season at the helm of the Packers was in 2011, when he and Rodgers guided the team to a 15-1 record. The Packers 560 points in 16 games that year, which is the fourth-most all-time in a single season.

League's top offense faces playoff pressure

Since their run of three NFL Championships in four seasons between 1992 and 1995, the Dallas Cowboys have not performed when the pressure is at its highest. They have not made an NFC Championship Game since that 1995 season.

During the 2023 regular season, Dallas had the league's best offense under head coach Mike McCarthy - formerly the coach of the Packers - and offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer. The Cowboys were the NFL's only team to score more than 500 points during the campaign, finishing with 509.

Dallas broke 30 points on 10 occasions in the regular season, and they scored more than 40 points in five games.

Prescott, as mentioned, led the league in passing TDs with 36. He's facing a Packers defense that finished 10th in the league in passing touchdowns allowed, and that's with two-time Pro Bowl cornerback Jaire Alexander playing in just seven games.

How much Alexander moves the needle for the Packers defense is up for debate, as is whether or not Prescott can come up big under pressure.

Young Packers attack has a point to prove

The oldest offensive player on the Green Bay Packers' roster is Aaron Jones, who is 29. Love and running back AJ Dillon are both 25, and star receivers Romeo Doubs and Jayden Reed are both 23.

Regardless of its youth, the offense put up good numbers, finishing 12th in points scored and 11th in total yards. Green Bay turned the ball over 18 times, meaning they were one of the league's 10 best teams at taking care of the ball.

Six of the Packers' nine wins were by one score or less. They have the ability to find a way to win, but contrary to the Cowboys' relatively free-scoring offense, Green Bay cracked 30 points just three times this season.

Two of those 30-point displays were during Green Bay's season-ending three-game winning streak that solidified their winning record and playoff spot. Still, those wins were over the 7-10 Minnesota Vikings who lost their last four games, and the 2-15 Carolina Panthers.

Long story short, the Packers offense is a high-potential group with nothing to lose. They entered the season with the league's youngest roster by average age, they have just two players over 30 on the active roster, and the team should attack this matchup knowing that they can run it back next season with a nearly identical group.

Odds presented in this article were correct at the time of writing and are subject to change.

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