Packers, Cowboys try to bounce back from first losses
When the Green Bay Packers traveled to Texas to face the Dallas Cowboys in 2017, Aaron Rodgers threw two fourth-quarter touchdown passes -- including the game-winner to Davante Adams with 11 seconds remaining. If the Packers are going to beat the Cowboys for a third straight time at AT&T Stadium this Sunday, they might have to do it without the two-time Pro Bowl receiver.
With Adams battling turf toe and not practicing Wednesday, Rodgers might have to rely on a relatively unproven group of receivers. While Adams has career totals of 373 receptions and 39 touchdowns, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Geronimo Allison, Jake Kumerow, Allen Lazard and Darrius Shepherd have combined for 127 receptions and 10 scores. Of those receivers, only Valdes-Scantling -- the final pick of the fifth round in 2018 -- was even drafted.
"Well, my confidence starts with myself, and I have a lot of confidence in my preparation and the expectations that I'll play well on Sunday," Rodgers said. "And then I'll be able to help those guys raise the level of their play by my own play and by the communication. "A lot of stuff that's going to happen on Sunday will happen in the locker room, in the meeting rooms, before practice, on the practice field and after practice. We'll have to make sure that we're sharp in our communication and those guys feel ready to play."
Both teams are coming off losses that ruined 3-0 starts. The Packers lost 34-27 to Philadelphia on Thursday night, the offense bogging down in a pair of goal-to-go situations without Adams in the fourth quarter. The Cowboys lost 12-10 at New Orleans, their high-flying offense handed a rough night against the Saints. "I think you just learn about the team every day, with every situation you're confronted with," Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said. "We started the season with three straight wins, so you learn a lot about how guys come in and come to work, and then similarly, when you have a defeat or have some adversity, how they respond to that.
"One of the things we like most about this team is we've got a great group of guys, guys who love football, they're the right kind of guys. They've handled both situations really well." The Packers will have to be better in the red zone, where the Dallas defense has allowed a touchdown just 35.7 percent of the time, the third-best rate in the league. Green Bay, which has allowed at least 149 rushing yards in each of its last three games, also has to contain star running back Ezekiel Elliott.
The Saints limited Elliott to 35 yards on 18 carries, the second-worst average (1.9) in a game in his career. "We want to control the line of scrimmage running the football, and I don't think we did that consistently well enough in the game," Garrett said. "You have to give them credit for that. They have a really good front. They have four first-round picks on their defensive line. They're a talented group, and we didn't block consistently well enough or run it consistently well enough in the ball game. Hopefully, we'll learn from the experience and move forward."
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)