Packers can make a statement against Cowboys in Week 5

ARLINGTON, TX - JANUARY 15: Aaron Rodgers
ARLINGTON, TX - JANUARY 15: Aaron Rodgers /

After winning two straight at Lambeau Field, the Green Bay Packers have an opportunity to make a statement on the road against the Dallas Cowboys.

Winning on the road isn’t easy. The Packers are yet to do in 2017. That is especially true when the team you’re facing has won eight of their past 11 home games.

One of those three defeats came at the hands of the Packers in the playoffs last year. That victory was the signature moment of Green Bay’s season, proving the team was a legitimate Super Bowl contender.

Sunday’s return to Dallas provides another opportunity for the Packers to make a statement to the rest of the league. Not only would victory leave a dent in the Cowboys’ postseason ambitions with a third loss in five games, but it would prove the Packers are truly in contention for a first-round bye, something Aaron Rodgers so desperately craves.

“We didn’t start fast last year,” Rodgers said in an NFL Network interview in July. “We lost four in a row in the middle there. We’re a tough team to beat late in the season, as we’ve shown the last couple years. But we’re really tough to beat at home, especially the last three, four, five years.

“We got to get those home playoff games again. We all feel like if we get that No. 1, No. 2 seed and it’s coming through Green Bay in the playoffs, it makes it really tough on other teams.”

And Rodgers has every reason to be confident at home. The Packers are 22-5 in regular season games at Lambeau since the start of 2014. They are 13-12 on the road in that same span. To make it back to the Super Bowl, the Packers might need to bring the playoffs to Lambeau.

Beating Dallas this week would not just improve the team’s record to a healthy 4-1. It would not only hand a conference rival a third loss and give the Packers the head-to-head tiebreaker.

Victory on Sunday would send a statement to the league that this team is a legitimate contender.

Important for Packers to get healthy

Talking about winning is one thing. Actually doing it is another. To beat the 2-2 Cowboys, the Packers need to get healthy.

The mini-bye will have helped. Playing on Thursday night means the team will have had 10 days of rest by the time they take the field at AT&T Stadium.

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Tackles David Bakhtiari and Bryan Bulaga missed last week’s game but did practice, which means there’s a good possibility they’ll be ready to return in Week 5. Defensive tackle Mike Daniels was also a limited participant last week, which is an encouraging sign for his availability against Dallas. Daniels will be crucial when it comes to slowing down star running back Ezekiel Elliott.

There’s also positive news regarding running back Ty Montgomery, who exited last week’s win on the opening series with a rib injury. Initially believed to be sidelined for around a month, it’s possible he won’t miss any time at all, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Montgomery scored two touchdowns against Dallas in the playoffs last year. If he’s available, it would give the offense a huge boost.

Injuries have hit the team hard after just four weeks of regular season football. The additional few days between games gives them a good shot to enter Week 5 relatively healthy.

NFC rivals fall in Sunday filled with upsets

Sunday’s action provided a few surprises, and some excellent results for the Packers. The previously-unbeaten Falcons were stunned at home by the Bills, dropping to 3-1 in the process. This week’s opponents Dallas got beaten at home by the Rams, slipping to 2-2. While the Lions did win to improve to 3-1, they defeated the Vikings, who are now 2-2.

The Chiefs are the only undefeated team left in the NFL at the time of writing (they play Monday night). The 3-1 Packers are tied for first place in the NFC.