Dallas Cowboys: Greg Jennings
On the other hand, the Dallas Cowboys have dropped two of their last three games and had to rally from a nine-point deficit in the fourth quarter to extend the Washington Redskins' NFC-long losing streak to seven games. Oh, and their franchise quarterback (Tony Romo) and best defensive player (Sean Lee) are likely not playing Sunday night.
No wonder the Eagles are heavy favorites. How the heck could anybody give the Cowboys a chance to end their trend of losing win-or-go-home, de facto NFC East title games in Week 17?
Well, you don't have to scan the Eagles' schedule for very long to figure out that NFL matchups don't always play out the way they look on paper.
Just look at the Eagles' lone loss since the start of November. The Eagles got blown out on their last road trip by a Minnesota Vikings team that now has a 4-10-1 record.
Adrian Peterson didn't play in that game. Somebody named Matt Asiata ran for three touchdowns. Backup quarterback Matt Cassel accounted for 401 yards and three scores. Greg Jennings caught 11 passes for 163 yards and a touchdown. Minnesota scored 48 points.
Perhaps the Eagles got caught looking ahead that afternoon. That clearly won't be the case Sunday night with so much at stake against a rival.
But if Cassel, Jennings and Asiata can put up such big numbers against the Philadelphia defense, the Cowboys at least have some hope with Kyle Orton, DeMarco Murray and Dez Bryant.
“His bread and butter is go rush the quarterback, put pressure on them and put your cornerback on an island,” Carr said.
Carr does not mind the island life. At 6-0, 207 pounds, Carr likes to play physically on the outside.
“It’s a challenge and I’m all about challenges,” Carr said. “With me signing that contract, I knew even before it was going to be a big challenge playing for the Cowboys and getting the attention they get. I know pretty much every game, I’ve got to bring my A game.”
Coach Jason Garrett said what attracted the Cowboys to Carr was how he fared against some of the top receivers in the game, like Detroit’s Calvin Johnson and San Diego’s Vincent Jackson while playing against the Chiefs
Johnson had two touchdown catches vs. the Chiefs last year but had just three catches in the game for 29 yards. Jackson had eight catches for 112 yards in two games vs. the Chiefs for San Diego. Green Bay’s Greg Jennings did not play against Kansas City in the Packers’ only regular-season loss of the year, but Jordy Nelson was limited to two catches for 29 yards and Donald Driver had two for seven yards. Aaron Rodgers threw for a season-low 235 yards.
“Those games you don’t need any kind of motivation,” Carr said. “You know what’s ahead of you when you’re playing against receives that are big playmakers. You have to go out there and really trust in your training and coaching and believe in yourself to make plays, that this is a guy you’re going to shut down. I’m up for all of those challenges and I know going to the NFC East there’s some great offenses that put up points and can move up and down the field. That’s a big challenge. I’m going to keep working hard and try to perfect my craft.”
With Miles Austin back in the mix, the Cowboys’ wide receivers accounted for 250 yards and three touchdowns, with Austin, Laurent Robinson and Dez Bryant each scoring once.
Austin is a two-time Pro Bowler with a $54 million contract, but he’s been the Cowboys’ third most productive wide receiver this season, in large part because he’s missed six games due to hamstring injuries. Robinson and Bryant both have chances to finish with 1,000-yard, 10-touchdown seasons.
“I feel like without a doubt that we are the best receiving corps in the league,” Bryant said.
That’s debatable. There are other receiving corps that can make the same claim, including the one that won Sunday night at Cowboys Stadium. But the Cowboys’ trio is at least in the conversation if Austin can stay healthy.
Here’s how the Cowboys’ wideouts compare to the other elite receiving corps in the league:
Laurent Robinson – 46 catches, 763 yards, 8 TD
Dez Bryant – 47 catches, 756 yards, 8 TD
Miles Austin – 32 catches, 466 yards, 5 TD
Victor Cruz – 68 catches, 1,150 yards, 7 TD
Hakeem Nicks – 65 catches, 1,023 yards, 6 TD
Mario Manningham -- 36 catches, 466 yards, 4 TD
Mike Wallace – 62 catches, 1,034 yards, 8 TD
Antonio Brown – 55 catches, 925 yards, 2 TD
Hines Ward – 37 catches, 325 yards, 2 TD
Jordy Nelson – 51 catches, 957 yards, 10 TD
Greg Jennings – 67 catches, 949 yards, 9 TD
James Jones – 26 catches, 479 yards, 5 TD
Donald Driver – 31 catches, 357 yards, 4 TD
ARLINGTON, Texas -- While there was some local disappointment that Super Bowl XLV did not set the game’s attendance record, the size of the crowd impressed some of the Packers.
Linebacker A.J. Hawk played in front of some big crowds at Ohio State and said there was a noticeable feel to Cowboys Stadium on Sunday.
“It got pretty loud,” Hawk said. “Both the Steelers and the Packers have a pretty strong following with their fan bases and I knew it was going to be a little different. Until the game started you knew you were playing on a pretty big stage.”
Earlier in the week, Green Bay coach Mike McCarthy showed his players the movie Hoosiers to make sure they did not get in awe of the $1.2 billion stadium.
“Once you’re on the football field, football becomes football,” wide receiver Greg Jennings said. “The football doesn’t get any bigger. The field doesn’t get any longer. Now the JumboTron is rather huge, but that was about it. Football is football no matter where you play.”
ARLINGTON, Texas – Green Bay’s two oldest veterans, players who had done so much to put the Packers in position, had their seasons end during the second quarter.
Receiver Donald Driver, a 12-year veteran who suffered a high ankle sprain, said he ran out of tears at halftime. Cornerback Charles Woodson, a 13-year veteran who broke his collarbone, also got choked up.
The two old heads, men who had worked their entire career for these opportunities, delivered passionate speeches in the Green Bay locker room at halftime. They essentially implored their teammates to protect the Packers’ lead and put championship rings on their fingers.
“I’m going to tell you, at halftime, it got very emotional,” receiver Greg Jennings said. “I had to walk out a couple of times. They put so much work into putting us in a game like this. To not be able to finish …
“I told them, ‘Don’t even worry about it, because at the end of the day, you’re going to be able to hoist that trophy.’”
The Packers delivered on that promise, managing to withstand a ferocious Pittsburgh comeback attempt. The Packers never lost their lead, bringing the Lombardi Trophy back to Green Bay.
Driver and Woodson didn’t easily accept that they couldn’t come back after their injuries. Woodson participated in another play, his left arm dangling by his side, after he broke the collarbone. The team doctor made the decision on Driver after watching the receiver fail when trying to cut with his left foot.
“I broke down,” Driver said. “The doc came over there and told me that I’ve got to be the strong one and rally those guys.”
Jordy Nelson had the game of his career with Driver on the sideline, catching nine passes for 140 yards and a touchdown. The Green Bay secondary managed to survive despite nickel corner Sam Shields also missing some time due to injury.
The Packers’ perseverance, of course, shouldn’t come as any surprise. Several starters are among the 15 photogenic players that Green Bay put on injured reserve this season.
“Just like all season, somebody stepped in and they stepped up,” Woodson said. “That’s what this Green Bay Packer team is all about.”
"I think it was a bad call," Jenkins said.
The penalty negated cornerback Orlando Scandrick's sack, forced fumble and recovery at the Green Bay 15-yard line. The Cowboys forced a punt four plays later and started the next series at the Dallas 49. Net result of the flag: 36 yards of field position.
"It could have turned the whole game around," Jenkins said.
Jenkins said he was flagged for patting Green Bay receiver Greg Jennings' facemask after Scandrick hit quarterback Aaron Rodgers and forced the fumble. Jenkins and Jennings are friends who occasionally train together during the offseason.
"I was pretty much giving him props," Jenkins said. "I was just saying, 'Have a good game.' The ref called hands to the face. It was after the play."
But the Cowboys can't worry about that because Rodgers is able to move around the pocket, and he has a talented group of wide receivers who are good at scrambling to find open spots on the field and get open. Coach Wade Phillips praised veteran wideout Donald Driver as a pro and compared Greg Jennings to the Philadelphia Eagles' DeSean Jackson, a fast player who makes big plays in the passing game.
"The goals are all the same for us," defensive end Igor Olshansky said. "We've got to play the run tough and win first down. If we can get them in third and long and let guys like DeMarcus Ware and Jay Ratliff and all those other guys get sacks, they can make their dances."