Matt Becker/Green Bay Packers
Can Rodgers do to the Cowboys what he did to the Giants?
When you win seven games in a row — including a 38-13 NFC Wild Card victory over the New York Giants on Jan. 8 — you deserve to play the conference’s best team. And that’s exactly what the Green Bay Packers will do when they travel to Dallas and take on the Cowboys on Jan. 15 at 3:40 p.m. in a divisional playoff.
The Pack has not lost since Nov. 20, after which quarterback Aaron Rodgers famously predicted Green Bay would “run the table” and make the playoffs.
All told, this will be the eighth postseason meeting between Green Bay and Dallas, including the 1967 NFC Championship Game, better known as “The Ice Bowl,” which the Packers won, 21-17, as wind chills dipped toward -50 degrees Fahrenheit.
Naturally, Packers fans of a certain age also can’t help but recall those three consecutive playoff losses to the Cowboys between 1993 and 1995, when names like Favre, White, Levens, Sharpe, Brooks, Freeman, Chmura and Jacke dotted Green Bay’s roster.
The last time the Packers faced the Cowboys was Oct. 16, with rookie quarterback Dak Prescott well on his way to replacing Tony Romo as Dallas’ starter. The Cowboys were in the middle of an 11-game winning streak and beat Green Bay, 30-16.
Prescott threw for 247 yards and three touchdowns at Lambeau Field, and the hometown fans booed Rodgers.
The Packers and Cowboys also faced off in a 2014 divisional playoff game at Lambeau. Green Bay won, 26-21, following a controversial fourth-down play. As ESPN.com so succinctly recapped: Fourth-and-2, Green Bay 32, Romo completes a 31-yard pass down the sideline to [Dez] Bryant, who is covered by Sam Shields. The Packers challenge the ruling, saying Bryant didn’t maintain possession going to the ground. Referee Gene Steratore overturns the call. The Cowboys never get the ball back.”
Green Bay fell to Seattle in overtime the next week in the NFC Championship Game.
If the Packers — who might be without wide receiver Jordy Nelson after he left the Giants game with a rib injury — can beat Dallas, they’ll likely end up playing the Seahawks again with a trip to Super Bowl LI on the line.
Of all the teams Green Bay could have faced at this juncture in the postseason, Dallas will be the toughest to beat; the Cowboys probably feel the same way about the Packers. There’s a reason this game headlines the weekend’s slate of playoff matchups.