Last week, the Green Bay Packers’ two, inexperienced cornerbacks — Damarioius Randall and LaDarius Gunter — stepped up in a big way.
Their exceptional performances against a potent New York Giants’ passing attack was one of the primary reasons the Packers prevailed.
Today, the Packers’ two young, inexperienced inside linebackers — Jake Ryan and Blake Martinez — will have to play every bit as well against the Dallas Cowboys as Gunter and Randall did last week for the Packers to move on to the NGC Championship game against Atlanta.
Everyone in Rodger Goodell’s NFL kingdom knows the Cowboys will pound the rock today, using rookie phenom Ezekiel Elliott early and often – or just like the last time the Packers and ‘Boys met during the regular season when Elliott ran roughshod with 157 yards on 28 carries — a bulging 5.6 yards per carry average.
It’ll be imperative for the Packers not to let that occur again. And it’ll be essential that Messrs. Ryan and Martinez don’t allow Elliott to break off any big runs – just like the New York Giants did in their pair of victories over the Cowboys this season.
In the Giants’ 20-19 victory over the Cowboys on Sept. 11, Elliott managed a mere 51 yards on 20 carries with one touchdown. In the Giants’ 10-7 triumph over the Cowboys on Dec. 11, Elliott, my choice for the NFL MVP award, carried the ball 24 times for 107s and no touchdowns.
If the Packers can keep Elliott in check, like the Giants did, they will rack up their eighth straight win and move within one game of the Super Bowl.
PREDICTION: Packers 23, Cowboys 20