By Jason Wilde
Channel3000.com/ESPNMadison.com Staff Writer
Posted: 1:24 am CDT November 6, 2010
THE BREAKDOWN: FIVE THINGS TO WATCH
Two ships, passing in the standings:
The Packers and Cowboys are headed in opposite directions. After back-to-back three-point overtime losses dropped the Packers to .500 at 3-3, they responded with a colossal win over the archrival Minnesota Vikings and an upset – at least in most people’s estimation – of an elite AFC team in the New York Jets. The Cowboys, meanwhile, have lost four straight, the latest being a 35-17 embarrassment at home to the Jacksonville Jaguars. While the Packers have salvaged their season and are looking to be 6-3 entering their bye week, the Cowboys’ hopes of playing Super Bowl XLV in their home stadium are history. As a result, some of Packer Nation is worried about coach Mike McCarthy’s crew taking the struggling Cowboys lightly in a so-called “trap” game.
Phillips is in the second year of coordinating the defense in addition to serving as head coach, but the unit is playing horribly. Last year, Dallas led the NFC in scoring defense (15.6 points per game) and didn’t allow a 100-yard rusher all year. Entering Sunday night’s game, they’re giving up 26.7 points a game and have allowed a 100-yard rusher four times in the last five games. "I'm distraught, to say the least," Phillips said after the loss to the Jaguars. "I've got talented players, and I'm not getting them to play well enough.
No mo’ Romo:
Things weren’t going well before star quarterback Tony Romo suffered a broken collarbone against the New York Giants on Oct. 25. Now, after two more losses, only the lowly Buffalo Bills (0-7) have a worse record than the Cowboys (1-6). Without the Burlington, Wis. native, who is 2-1 against his home-state team, the Cowboys lose star-power of significant wattage.
Searching for answers:
Green Bay’s offense is a dysfunctional mess, but the team is winning in spite of the issues.
The Packers rank 13th in scoring (22.0 points per game), 16th in total yards per game (335.9), 22nd in rushing yards per game (97.0) and 26th in third-down efficiency (35.1 percent).
Searching for consistency:
With veteran wideout Donald Driver having been ruled out with a quadriceps injury, inconsistent James Jones will get another chance to prove himself.
The Cowboys’ struggles have been one of the NFL’s biggest surprises this season, and the Packers could’ve suffered a similar fate. Instead, despite an injury epidemic and continued uneven play from what was supposed to be one of the league’s most potent offenses, they’re one of five NFC teams with five victories. The guess here is they get No. 6.
Packers 27, Cowboys 20.
(Season record: 5-3.)
– Jason Wilde
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