We’ve got an exciting game in the NFC Wild Card Round between the Green Bay Packers and Dallas Cowboys. With two exciting quarterbacks that exceeded expectations this year, what can we expect in this matchup?
- Cowboys -7.5 (-110)
- Under 49.5 (-110)
Sunday, January 14, 2024 – 04:30 PM EDT at AT&T Stadium
The Dallas Cowboys got their wish. They’ll be the home team against the Green Bay Packers in Sunday’s afternoon matchup.
Green Bay’s Season
The Packers lost to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on December 17. At that moment, Green Bay was sitting at 6-8 and unlikely to make the playoffs. There was talk about the Packers firing their defensive coordinator, Joe Barry, after giving up 34 points to the Buccaneers in that game.
Fast forward three weeks, and the Packers finished the regular season 9-8 and are in the playoffs after three straight wins.
Green Bay scored 33 points in two of their three wins and ground out a tough home game against the Chicago Bears in Week 18 to move on into the playoffs.
Jordan Love’s Performance
Quarterback Jordan Love finished the regular season with 4,159 yards and threw 32 touchdowns, which was second most in the NFL. Granted, there were a lot of quarterbacks that were hurt or didn’t play multiple weeks. However, Love was still extremely consistent, finishing with a QBR of 62.
While the Packers only scored 17 points against the Bears last week, Love still finished with 316 yards and completed 84.4% of his passes in that game. Best of all, Love threw multiple touchdowns in the last four games and never threw an interception. He added nine touchdowns in four games with no interceptions. He was also rarely sacked.
Challenges against Dallas’ Defense
But Dallas’ defense typically makes things hard, especially at home. The Cowboys have allowed only 190.94 yards in the air and 116.25 yards on the ground this season.
The pass rush is dynamic, and the secondary has played extremely well this season. Da’Ron Bland led the league in interceptions this year and holds the record for the most interceptions returned for a touchdown in one year.
Love isn’t a rookie, but this is still his first season starting. The Cowboys will force some mistakes and pressure Love way better than the previous month.
Dallas’ Offensive Firepower
On the other hand, the Cowboys exploded for 38 points against Washington in Week 18. Dak Prescott finished with a league-leading 36 passing touchdowns and threw for 4,516 yards. He also threw just nine interceptions after finishing last year with the most interceptions. This was Prescott’s best season under center. He deserved to be in the MVP conversation more than he really was.
While there’s a lot of optimism around Love, Prescott’s most recent performance was better than Love’s. He completed 86.1% of passes and added 279 yards passing with four touchdowns and one interception last week.
He’s also got the best receiver in the NFL in CeeDee Lamb. Lamb earned 135 catches for 1,749 yards and 12 touchdowns. He had one of the best overall performances this season. Against the Commanders, he was targeted 13 times and connected for 13 receptions. That’s extremely hard to do.
Meanwhile, Green Bay’s defense has some flaws. They’ve allowed 212.38 yards in the air and another 131.63 yards on the ground. While Dallas isn’t particularly dominant on the ground, Tony Pollard still earned a 1,000-yard season rushing the football this season.
As long as he has some success rushing the football, Prescott will be able to get going in the passing game. At home, I’m taking the Cowboys at -7.5.
NFL Pick: Cowboys -7.5 (-110) at Caesars Sportsbook
What About The Total?
There are some big games in the NFL in Wild Card Weekend. But the Packers-Cowboys have one of the most underrated quarterback matchups in the NFL.
Of course, the Chiefs-Dolphins have a fun Wild Card matchup between Patrick Mahomes and Tua Tagovailoa. However, Love and Prescott weren’t expected to be this good heading into the season. Both have exceeded expectations and will more than likely put on a fun show.
However, even after Love added over 300 yards passing against the Bears, the Packers only produced 17 points. They were close to adding a touchdown in the back of the endzone, that was dropped, but mostly, the Packers struggled to finish drives and score.
That will likely be an issue against the Cowboys, knowing Dallas is home.
To hit the Over, both teams have to contribute, and I wouldn’t count on the Packers on the road. Take the Under 49.5 at -110 betting odds as well.
NFL Pick: Under 49.5 (-110) at Caesars Sportsbook
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