Game of the Week: Cowboys at Packers
Dallas also has two full game tapes from this season to study, against Minnesota and Detroit. Which, of course, is something we'll be saying every single game this year: "The such-and-suches have an advantage because they have more game film on Rodgers than any past opponent to work from."
Here's what the Cowboys may have learned from Weeks 1 and 2: Rodgers has more poise and confidence than anyone could have expected. He's been cool in the pocket, almost defiant. Watch the first-quarter score against Minnesota in the face of a mad rush. When Rodgers has been down (i.e. a few lousy series against Detroit and a squandered lead), he's bounced back (a subsequent 60-yard score to
That last point may make the difference on Sunday. Dallas uses a 3-4 defense, which Rodgers hasn't faced as a starter. He'll have more mobile and relentless blitzers coming his way. He'll quickly learn the difference between Minnesota's
Statistically, Rodgers has outperformed Favre in '08. Dominated, really, if you've watched all four of their combined games. I'll let the stats speak: In two games, Rodgers has four scores, zero interceptions, a 117.8 passer rating and he's only been sacked once. Compare that against Favre's three, one, 104.1 and five. Close enough, I guess, but is there honestly a Packers fan out there who would switch back?
Rodgers, in what amounts to his rookie year, looks like vintage mid-90s Favre, minus the mistakes. He reads the field quickly and exhaustively, and he's already shown a Favrian knack for creativity, as exhibited by the flick-of-the-wrist touchdown to
Dallas could be a hump or a turning point. If Green Bay wins, Rodgers is staring at winnable games against Tampa, Atlanta and Seattle. If they lose, then wins over lowly Detroit and sputtering Minnesota suddenly look less impressive.
Mostly, he's doing the same thing over and over, slipping right up the middle in the 10- to 15-yard range for easy catches against outmatched linebackers.
One way to slow Witten is with a strong pass rush, and that starts with able ends
This year, only Bigby is missing. But Woodson is nursing a toe that he broke in Week 1; though he's scheduled to play, that injury increases the likelihood that
On the other sideline, Dallas is missing
"Tony is smart. He can address coverage very well with his hard count and his dummy counts. He can get a secondary to show him what they're playing before the ball is snapped. Not a lot of quarterbacks can do that. And he's a guy that can create with his feet. I've never really thought of Romo as being a great take-off-and-gain-yards guy, but he's a guy that can buy time with his feet to throw the ball down the field. He doesn't run to gain yards like
"And T.O. is a beast. Him and Romo I think have great chemistry. Romo knows where T.O.'s going to be and T.O. knows how to go places where Romo can get him the ball. Forget the fact that T.O. is a freak physically-the way he can run, how big he is, how physical he plays, what he can do when he has the ball in his hands. T.O. might have an "out" called, he sees Tony in trouble so he turns that "out" into a "go" ball. Now all bets are off because you don't know what the hell the route is as a defensive back. You don't know where the ball is going."
"I think the number one thing you got to do [to defend that] is you start changing coverages and doubling T.O. Last year we didn't roll to T.O. We didn't have a bracket deal to T.O. We didn't do anything different than we normally did. We didn't do any doubling or bracketing, and the reason I was nervous about doing this was they have other weapons-the Crayton kid-not to mention their running game."
As it often does with this Green Bay defense, this game comes down to Al Harris vs. a star receiver, in this case Terrell Owens. T.O. has burning speed, Harris doesn't. Harris relies on aggression at the line of scrimmage to rattle receivers, but T.O. has the rare body mass to combat that. I think this turns into a shootout, which will keep