Sunday, December 15, 2013
Welcome to AT&T Stadium
By Todd Archer
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Welcome to AT&T Stadium where the Dallas Cowboys hope to keep their playoff destiny in their hands with a win against the Green Bay Packers.
At 7-6, the Cowboys trail the Philadelphia Eagles by a game in the standings, and a loss would mean the Cowboys would need the Eagles to lose in Week 16 to even make the Dec. 29 regular-season finale mean something.
Before the Cowboys can win three in a row, they must win one in a row.
Better at home: It took some time but the Cowboys might have figured out how to make AT&T Stadium something of a home-field advantage.
The Cowboys are 5-1 at home and the only loss was to then-undefeated Denver, 51-48, in October. But it’s not like the Cowboys have been dominant in their last two home wins. They needed a 90-yard drive in the final minute to beat the Minnesota Vikings and overcame a sluggish start to beat the Oakland Raiders on Thanksgiving.
The Cowboys are averaging 34 points per game at home and the defense, which has been bad, is a field goal better at home than on the road. The Cowboys have also had 15 of their 25 takeaways at home.
Overall the Cowboys are 21-16 in the regular season at AT&T Stadium.
Another backup: The Cowboys will face a backup quarterback for the third straight week with Matt Flynn starting for Aaron Rodgers. That’s the good news.
The bad news is the last backup quarterback they saw, Chicago’s Josh McCown, tore them up in the Bears’ 45-28 victory. McCown threw for 348 yards and four touchdowns and had a 141.9 passer rating. He also ran for a score.
Flynn threw for 258 yards on 24-of-32 passing with a touchdown and interception in the Packers’ 22-21 win against the Atlanta Falcons.
Time to get going: With the defense almost in a complete disrepair, the Cowboys’ offense will have to carry the day.
But can it?
The running game has improved greatly. DeMarco Murray is averaging 96 yards a game on the ground in the past four games.
The passing game has been ineffective. Tony Romo has not thrown for more than 234 yards in his past four games. Dez Bryant is coming off a two-catch, 12-yard game. Jason Witten has 10 catches in his last four games. Miles Austin has four catches in his three games since returning from a hamstring injury.
The Packers are allowing 369.4 yards and 25.1 points per game.