Playoff Madness: Dallas Cowboys And Green Bay Packers Renew Historical Rivalry
The Dallas Cowboys are back in the national spotlight. They finished the season with a 13-3 record, and are the top seed in the NFC playoffs - and have home-field advantage. The Cowboys are taking on the Green Bay Packers Sunday afternoon at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, and it'll be the eighth time the franchises face off in the postseason.
Interview Highlights: Bob Sturm
The playoff history between these teams in the playoffs during the '90s:
"It was very one-sided, in the sense that Dallas was this machine, this dynasty. Green Bay was this little upstart crew that thought they could become contenders as well. They had to figure out a way to take care of the champions. They never actually did, but they were able to succeed Dallas as champion from '95 - when the Cowboys won - then the Packers won in '96. But they never actually beat them head-to-head in the playoffs."
The 2014 Cowboys-Packers postseason game isn't a good memory for Dallas:
"No -- their first playoff trip to Green Bay since the Ice Bowl. So, when you talk about these two franchises, you talk about massive amounts of history. In 2014, Dallas had a wonderful team, but they were not good enough to get the home field advantage. Dallas went up there, it was a back-and-forth affair. Controversial ending, both teams feel like they had the full rights to that game. We only wonder if the Dez Bryant call is made differently with four minutes to go, would Green Bay then have scored again, or would Dallas have moved on to the NFC Championship game? It's wild speculation. Fans won't let it go, but Sunday they shall have their revenge at home. "
If the Cowboys rookie combo of quarterback Dak Prescott and running back Ezekiel Elliott can keep exceeding expectations in the postseason:
"I think they can, but I think the entire NFL world is wondering if they will. There is less doubt about Ezekiel Elliott because running backs generally, if they're good, they're going to be good in any setting. The question will always be quarterback wise. Can a rookie quarterback do something no rookie quarterback has ever done before, which is win a Super Bowl? Dak Prescott appears to have nerves of steel. However, everyone is going to be focused on how does he act immediately to start his playoff run. Because I'll tell you, unlike these other sports, where they play best of seven over two weeks, in football -- it's three hours. It's one day, you really don't have a chance to recover from a slow start or a mistake here or there. There is immense pressure on this kid. He looks like he can handle it, but obviously, that's going to be the test that everyone's going to be watching for."
The Cowboys beat the Packers 30-16 back in October in Wisconsin. What makes this game different?
"I would say, a number of things. No Dez Bryant (Cowboys receiver) played in that game, but Jordy Nelson, Packers receiver, did. You're going to take the Packers' best pass catcher away and add the best Cowboys pass catcher, so that's important. Home field is important. Health and rest is important. Green Bay had to play last week against the Giants, and are probably pretty beat up. The Cowboys were watching that game on television on their couches where you seldom get injured. However, there's nothing easy about winning in the playoffs."
Sturm is from Wisconsin, but has lived in North Texas for a while. So is it weird to cover the Packers-Cowboys game?
"It's very weird. I would love to avoid it, however, it happens from time-to-time. I'm definitely a fan, but I'm also a football journalist, so I'm able to separate the two. But when the two teams play, it makes for an awkward week."
"My prediction is the Cowboys are the best team I've seen play all season in the NFC. I think home-field advantage is going to set them up for a Super Bowl run. While I would not necessarily take my predictions to the bank, I would say I expect the Cowboys to win narrowly on Sunday."
Bob Sturm is on Twitter @SportsSturm.