GREEN BAY—It’s the classic case of something’s gotta give.
The Packers are 8-0 at home, while the Cowboys are 8-0 on the road. The former isn’t all that rare in the NFL. The latter most certainly is.
“The way they run the ball and are able to play defense, you’re going to win games on the road,” Packers receiver Jordy Nelson said on Monday as players spoke with the media for the first time since knowing their NFC divisional round playoff opponent.
“They’ve won some very quality games on the road. But we’re very good at home, and it’s going to make for a good matchup.”
Dallas’ most impressive road victories came in Week 6 at Seattle, where the Seahawks rarely lose, and in Week 15 at Philadelphia, just 17 days after the Eagles blew out the Cowboys in Dallas on Thanksgiving.
It’s that ability to bounce back, and do so quickly, that has served the Cowboys well away from home. Even though the Cowboys were hosting their wild-card victory over Detroit on Sunday, Mike McCarthy noted their resiliency in rallying from an early 14-0 deficit to beat the Lions.
“They keep battling. They had a lot of big plays go against them,” McCarthy said of Sunday’s game. “They have that mental toughness to just keep going. You don’t win eight games on the road without that, that’s for sure.
“This will be a big challenge. It’s definitely something that jumps off the stat sheet when you see eight wins on the road.”
The Packers, of course, have plenty of feathers in their home cap. Wins over the Panthers, who are still playing, and the Eagles were by wide margins, while the AFC’s top-seeded Patriots and the Lions also fell at Lambeau Field.
McCarthy and his coaching staff worked well into the evening Sunday putting together a game plan for Dallas once they knew the Cowboys would be coming north. They got the Cowboys-Lions game film late Sunday night and put the finishing touches on the plan Monday morning in time to present it to the players in an afternoon team meeting.
“We went right at it last night,” McCarthy said. “We had the players in here today and wanted to make sure we gave them something (before their Tuesday off day). We started the install process.”
The week’s first practice will take place Wednesday, when McCarthy, Aaron Rodgers and the medical staff will meet to lay out a plan for the quarterback’s rehab and preparation.
McCarthy expressed confidence Rodgers would be “in pretty good shape come Sunday” and that his team would be prepped for success as long as it adheres to what has worked.
This season, that’s been playing lights out at Lambeau, no matter the opponent or its road-warrior mentality.
“They’re here for a reason,” defensive back Micah Hyde said of the Cowboys. “It’s going to be a huge game. It’s going to be a fun game, that’s for sure.
“We don’t pay attention to them being 8-0 on the road because they haven’t come here and beaten us here at Lambeau, but it’s going to be a tough matchup and we understand that.”
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