And considering the Packers’ quarterback has thrown 18 touchdown passes and just one interception in the last eight games, there’s a good chance Love continues to excel.
But that might not be enough. Dallas is one of the NFL’s elite outfits. The Cowboys are 8-0 at home this year with an average victory margin of 21.5 points per game. And Dallas is currently favored by 7.5 points. So the Packers will clearly need difference makers all over the field.
Here are three players that must shine for Green Bay to shock the Cowboys:
1. Jaire Alexander, CB
It’s been largely a lost year for Alexander, the NFL’s highest paid cornerback. Alexander played in just seven games this season due to shoulder and back injuries, as well as a one game suspension for insubordination.
Even when he did play, Alexander didn’t perform like the Pro Bowl player he once was. His tackling has been subpar, he doesn’t have an interception and he’s posted just five pass breakups.
Alexander can make everyone forget his disappointing regular season, though, with a big postseason. Dallas’ CeeDee Lamb has been the best wideout in football this year, with 135 receptions, 1,749 yards and 12 touchdowns. In Lamb’s last two games alone, he caught 26 passes for 325 yards and three scores.
If Alexander follows Lamb — and can keep him from going wild — the Packers’ defense has a chance to succeed. “The guy’s a playmaker,” Dallas quarterback Dak Prescott said of Lamb. “You’ve got to stretch the field, and I think we do that, show that we’re going to do to that, it allows everything to come off of that.
2. Rasheed Walker, LT and Zach Tom, RT
Dallas edge rusher Micah Parsons is arguably the best in the business at his position. Parsons led the NFL with 103 quarterback pressures in 2023 and finished seventh in sacks with 14.0.
Dallas will move Parsons all over the field, looking for matchups to exploit. But he does most of his work off the edges, meaning Green Bay’s tackle tandem of Walker and Tom will be put to the test often.
Tom has had a sensational second season, allowing just two sacks in 1,068 snaps. Walker has improved throughout the year, but has also allowed six sacks and nine penalties in 851 snaps. That means Parsons might line up over Walker more than Tom. “I think ‘Sheed’s done a pretty good job,” Packers coach Matt LaFleur said of Walker.
“I still think what’s exciting about Sheed is there’s still room for a lot of improvement, I would tell you. But I think all in all he’s handled himself well and he’s going to continue to get better the more he plays.”
3. Kenny Clark, DE
The Packers moved Clark from nose tackle to defensive end this year and he responded with one of the best seasons of his terrific eight-year career.
Clark had a career-high 7.5 sacks, and his 16 quarterback hits were the second-most of his career. Dallas QB Dak Prescott has had an MVP-level season, leading the NFL with 36 touchdown passes and throwing for 4,516 yards.
Prescott isn’t the same player, though, when he’s forced to leave the pocket and throw on the run. Clark should be primarily matched up with Dallas underwhelming right tackle Terrence Steele, who’s allowed eight sacks and has seven penalties.
If Clark can dominate that matchup and make Prescott uncomfortable, it could make life tricky for the Cowboys’ passing game.
“They’ve been able to make a bunch of explosive plays,” LaFleur said of the Cowboys’ offense. “They’re scoring at a high rate. I just think a lot of it comes down to how well the quarterback’s playing.”