The Green Bay Packers 2022 season will be defined in a five-day span that begins with the Dallas Cowboys Sunday afternoon and ends Thursday evening against the Tennessee Titans.
Backs against the wall. Do or die. One game at a time. Home sweet home.
Pick your cliché. They all apply to the 3-6 Packers, who are in desperate need of a victory after five consecutive losses to the Giants, Jets, Commanders, Bills, and lowly Lions.
A positive for reeling Green Bay is that they host the Cowboys and Titans at Lambeau Field, where they are 2-1 on the season with wins over Chicago and New England. And stand 10-1 in regular-season play since 2021.
The game will be televised exclusively in Western Wisconsin on FOX 25/48 with a 3:25 p.m. kickoff. The division-leading Minnesota Vikings face the Buffalo Bills in the 12 noon game on Sunday.
Dallas, 6-2, offers a formidable challenge and the much-hyped return of former head coach Mike McCarthy to Green Bay for the first time since his dismissal late in the 2018 season.
McCarthy was the last coach to lead the franchise to a Super Bowl title in the 2010 season, with Aaron Rodgers the game’s MVP. McCarthy compiled a 125-77-2 record in 13 seasons in Green Bay. Like Vince Lombardi and Mike Holmgren, a street near Lambeau Field bears his name.
Rodgers said time has helped him appreciate his years with McCarthy and he especially enjoyed his one-on-one meetings after Thursday practices with his former coach.
“Mike’s Pittsburgh toughness and grit on the outside and a big soft teddy bear on the inside,” Rodgers said.
McCarthy was emotional earlier this week discussing his memories in the NFL’s smallest market.
“I’m the last person that wants to create any type of distractions or questions for somebody else because we’re at the point in the year now, starting the third quarter of the season,” he said. “we know what it takes to win a football game.”
Green Bay is trying to find that formula to break that losing streak as its roster continues to absorb hits. The team has yet to put together four solid quarters of play this season and continues to commit costly penalties and turnovers.
The Packers injury report Friday afternoon read like a MASH unit and included 18 players. Linebacker De’Vondre Campbell (knee), receiver Romeo Doubs (ankle), cornerback Eric Stokes (ankle/knee), and cornerback Shemar Jean-Charles (ankle) are listed as out for Sunday’s game. Linebacker Krys Barnes (concussion) is listed as doubtful and wide receiver Amari Rodgers (hamstring) is questionable.
The Green Bay defense, already devoid of team sack leader Rashan Gary who is lost for the season with a knee injury, will have its hands full against Dak Prescott and the Cowboys offense.
Tony Pollard and Ezekiel Elliot, like Aaron Jones and A.J. Dillon, are a strong 1-2 punch in the running game. The Packers rank 26th in run defense and will be tested early and often.
The anemic Green Bay offense, averaging just 17 points per game to rank 27th in the NFL, will also test Dallas’ 24th ranked run defense. Establishing the run will take some pressure off Rodgers and the passing game, which linebacker Micah Parsons will try to disrupt. Rodgers comes off one of the worst performances of his career in the loss at Detroit with three interceptions, including two costly picks in the end zone.
The two-time reigning league MVP will have to be at the top of his game and spread the ball to a depleted and young receiving corps, led by Allen Lazard and Christian Watson.
The Packers season is on the line.
“I’ve been counted out many times in my life, as have many of my teammates,” Rodgers said after Lions loss. “I hope we just dig deep and find a way. We will truly be underdogs for many games moving forward. Hopefully, we can embrace that. We have two games at home, we’ve got to go win those two games in a week, and then this thing looks a little different.”
Week 10 NFL Picks
Cowboys 27, Packers 21
Dallas comes off a bye and has superior talent/weapons; Green Bay is reeling and trying to find its identity as the injuries mount and the window closes on a promising season. McCarthy will run the ball until the Packers prove they can stop it. Green Bay can stay close with error-free play, creating turnovers, and establishing the run game.