GREEN BAY—The Cowboys got in some cold-weather work on Wednesday.
“It’s a relatively cold day here. It’s in the 30s with a cold wind. We practiced in that this morning. Prepare yourself accordingly and go play football. That’s what we emphasize to our team,” Cowboys Coach Jason Garrett told Packers media on Wednesday.
In Green Bay, temperatures were in the below-zero category for most of the day, but temperatures are forecast to warm into the 20s on Sunday, for the Cowboys-Packers divisional round playoff game that’s nostalgically being billed as Ice Bowl II.
“That’s a long, long time ago. We’re just focused on our preparation,” Garrett said when asked about comparison to the original Ice Bowl, played on Dec. 31, 1967. It’s a game that defined both franchises.
This Sunday’s game will send the winner to the NFC title game. The winner of Sunday’s game would go to Seattle the following week if the Seahawks defeat the Panthers. A Panthers win would allow Sunday’s winner at Lambeau Field to host the NFC title game.
Weather conditions and the condition of Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers’ injured calf are the two main storylines this week. Can the Cowboys function in the Green Bay cold? Will Rodgers be recovered enough from his calf injury to utilize his trademark mobility?
“What we do is we try to instill in our players to do the best they can whatever the circumstances are. You just go play. That’s the mindset we have as a football team and that’s the way we approach it,” Garrett said of the weather challenge his team faces.
The Cowboys’ No. 2-ranked running game, led by rushing champion DeMarco Murray, gives the visitors a cold-weather look. It’s helped them to an undefeated road record this season.
“I think we have a team that’s built for it,” Garrett said of playing on the road. “We’ve developed a physical team over the last few years. I think we’ve done a good job as an organization of drafting those kinds of players. I think we also have a mentally tough team. Parking lot or moon, you just go play. The best teams I’ve been around have always had that capability.”
A rebuilt offensive line is the catalyst.
“One of the charges we had as an organization is to get the team better around (quarterback Tony Romo), beginning with the offensive line. It started with Tyron Smith. With subsequent drafts we drafted Travis Frederick and Zach Martin. We’ve been able to run the ball the way we want and it’s really benefitted Tony. All of that stuff works together,” Garrett added.
Sunday’s game could turn out to be a showdown between the top two MVP vote-getters, Rodgers and Romo.
“You always enjoy great games. I think it’ll be a great football game. It’s going to be fun,” Romo said.
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