Can Dak Dazzle Against Love’s Last Stand? Cowboys Aim for Hometown Rodeo in Wild Card.

AT&T Stadium Arlington, TX – January 14, 2024 – 4:30 PM ET

The NFL playoffs kick off with a high-octane clash in Dallas, where the Cowboys, boasting the league’s most potent offense, host the underdog Green Bay Packers, led by the enigmatic Jordan Love. While oddsmakers see Dallas cruising to victory with a 7-point spread, a closer look reveals cracks in the Cowboys’ seemingly impenetrable armor that could pave the way for a Packers upset.

Top 5 NFL Betting Models

  1. SharpFootball: Packers +6.5
  2. QuantEdge: Cowboys -6.8
  3. BetLabs: Packers +7.5
  4. Action Network: Packers +6.5
  5. FiveThirtyEight: Cowboys 64.1% win probability (translates to ~-5.5 spread)

BetQL and Sportsline Models

  • BetQL: Packers +7, 51.5 points
  • Sportsline: Cowboys -7, 52 points

Cowboys: A Hometown Juggernaut Fueled by Firepower

  • Dak Prescott’s Precision: The Cowboys’ gunslinger led the NFL with 36 touchdown passes, orchestrating a relentless offensive machine. His chemistry with CeeDee Lamb, who shattered franchise records with 135 catches and 1,749 yards, is a sight to behold.
  • Home Sweet AT&T Stadium: Dallas rides a 16-game winning streak under their retractable roof, creating a deafening crowd-fueled fortress. This home-field advantage could amplify their offensive prowess and rattle Jordan Love in his playoff debut.
  • Experience Matters: After falling short in the playoffs the past two years, Dallas seeks redemption. Their veteran core, including Lamb and Ezekiel Elliott, knows the postseason pressure and the sting of defeat, fueling their hunger for victory.

Packers: Underdogs with Bite – Can They Slay the Goliath?

Jordan Love’s Late Surge: The unproven quarterback threw 18 touchdowns against just one interception in the season’s final stretch, leading the Packers to a remarkable 6-2 run and securing their playoff berth. His confidence and poise under pressure could be key.

Aaron Jones’ Time to Shine: The veteran running back is healthy and hungry, having rushed for at least 111 yards in each of the Packers’ last three wins. His familiarity with Dallas (370 yards, 6 TDs in 3 games) makes him a weapon to watch.

Memories of Victory: Green Bay has dominated the Cowboys lately, winning 9 of the past 10 matchups, including two playoff encounters. This historical dominance could inject a shot of belief into the underdog Packers.

Why the Packers Can Cover the Spread (and Maybe Even Win)

Jaire Alexander’s Unclear Status: The Packers’ top cornerback might miss the game due to injury. His absence would significantly weaken Green Bay’s secondary, potentially creating vulnerability for Lamb and the Cowboys’ passing attack. However, this also exposes Dallas’ potential overdependence on the pass, making their running game and red zone efficiency critical.

Christian Watson’s X-Factor: If healthy, the young receiver could repeat his three-touchdown performance against Dallas from last season and swing the momentum in Green Bay’s favor. His explosiveness and knack for big plays could disrupt the Cowboys’ defensive strategy.

Pressure on Prescott: While statistically dominant, Prescott has yet to win a playoff game at home. The Packers can exploit any lingering playoff doubts by applying relentless pressure and forcing him into mistakes.

The Pick

The Cowboys are heavy favorites for a reason, but their reliance on Prescott’s arm and potential defensive vulnerabilities due to Alexander’s injury create a window for the Packers. Love’s late-season surge, Jones’s experience, and the historical dominance against Dallas are factors that can’t be ignored. While outright victory might be a tall order, the Packers have the ability to keep it close and cover the 7-point spread. So, the smart money might be on taking the Packers +7 and enjoying the potential for a thrilling upset.

Pick: Packers +7 WINNER