KICKOFF: Sunday, 4:15 ET
TV: CBS, Dick Stockton, Troy Aikman, Cris Collinsworth, Pam Oliver
SERIES: 26th meeting. The Cowboys lead the series 14-11. The Cowboys and Packers have played only four times at Lambeau Field with Green Bay winning all four meetings. Dallas has won nine of the last 10 meetings. Dallas' eight game win streak from 1991-1996 is the fifth longest streak against an opponent in club history. These teams have met in postseason play six times, including two NFL championship games.
2004 RANKINGS: Cowboys: offense 11th (22nd rush, 8th pass); defense 15th (19th rush, 9th pass). Packers: offense 3rd (18th rush, 2nd pass); defense 21st (25th rush, 15th pass).
KEYS TO THE GAME: This is a scary matchup for the Packers' beleaguered secondary that gets precious little help from the pass rush. The Cowboys run the ball only as much as they have to in order to keep the defense honest. But they move the ball through the air. The biggest hurdle for Dallas is limiting the turnovers and penalties that have thwarted far too many drives. The Packers' best bet is to get RB Ahman Green going early, control the clock against the Cowboys' undersized defensive line and keep Dallas' defense on the field the majority of the game. That could lead to a big fourth quarter for Green if the Cowboys wear down. The more productive Green is, the more QB Brett Favre will be able to take shots downfield against man-to-man coverage.
FAST FACTS: Cowboys: QB Vinny Testaverde has thrown a touchdown pass in eight consecutive games. ... DE Marcellus Wiley has no sacks after averaging 8.0 the past four seasons. Packers: Green's 1,328 carries since 2000 are the fourth-most in the NFL. ... Are 0-3 at home. ... QB Brett Favre is 1-5 vs. Dallas.
Cowboys: CB Terence Newman is not playing up to expectations. A Cowboys season that began with him supposedly being the only sure thing at cornerback has deteriorated into last year's fifth overall pick being the player opponents have targeted most for big plays.
Last Sunday's 24-20 loss against the Steelers only punctuated what has been a season-long problem. Of Pittsburgh's 193 passing yards, 108 on nine receptions, including a five-yard touchdown pass, were completed to players covered by Newman. All totaled, Newman has been beaten for four touchdown passes this season, compared to have only one interception and just two pass deflections in five games.
DE Greg Ellis (ankle) said he will play against Packers. He has not missed practice and was surprised to learn that he was listed as probable on the injury report. He said he shouldn't even be on there.
WR Quincy Morgan has looked good in practice, but coach Bill Parcells said he won't decide until Saturday about whether Morgan will play against the Packers. Morgan was acquired on Tuesday in a trade for Antonio Bryant. If he can't go, look for Dedric Ward to play third receiver and Randal Williams to be active for the first time all year.
WR Terry Glenn said he is looking forward to going back to Green Bay and showing the Packers what they gave up on. Glenn played in Green Bay in 2002 before being traded to Dallas last season. He leads the Cowboys in receptions and yards.
Packers: WR Robert Ferguson (calf-ankle) missed another day of practice Thursday and remained questionable for the Dallas game. If he can't go, Javon Walker would start and Antonio Chatman would be the No. 3 for the second straight week.
NT Grady Jackson practiced both Wednesday and Thursday but coach Mike Sherman still thinks his return to the lineup is about a week away. "I felt pretty good in there," Jackson said.
S James Whitley, who made some mistakes on special teams, was waived Tuesday. The Lions' Eddie Drummond averaged 30.3 on kickoff returns and 24.0 on punt returns. "It's as bad a breakdowns as I've had in my coaching career," special teams coach John Bonamego said. "I can't remember a day that bad."
RB Ahman Green has a long run of just 25 yards in the first six games. He has gained 10 or more yards on just 11 of his 120 rushes. "I think it's just that teams have been overloading against us," FB Nick Luchey said.
INSIDE THE CAMPS
Cowboys: The Cowboys are simply breaking down in the fourth quarter.
Yes, they have lots of problems.
A poor running game. A suspect secondary. A penchant for penalties.
But the only area where the Cowboys have struggled weekly is the fourth quarter. They have been outscored 45-9 (34-0 in their three losses) in the final 15 minutes this season.
"Well, you know we are 2-3 and that is probably a big reason we're 2-3," quarterback Vinny Testaverde said.
The NFL is a league in which a good portion of the games are decided late and by not a lot. Rare are the games when the fourth quarter is an exercise in mopping up.
So, the team that can not hold its own in the final quarter is not likely to win a lot of games.
"No, I don't think over the long term you can," Cowboys coach Bill Parcells said. "You have to be able to keep them from scoring, obviously. A lot of the games come down to the last few minutes, so you have to be able to hold them off or be able to run the clock out. One of the two. That's what we were trying to do. We were one play from doing it. But we couldn't do it."
That was the case last Sunday against the Steelers. The Cowboys coughed up a 20-10 fourth-quarter lead on their way to a 24-20 loss. It was the first time under Parcells they had lost a game where they led going into the fourth quarter.
The question is why?
"It's simple stuff," defensive tackle La'Roi Glover said, "creating turnovers, not giving the ball back to the offense, just the same stuff we try to do the entire game, stopping the run, eliminating big plays, things of that nature."
Packers: The Packers are worried about their running back situation.
Running backs coach Johnny Roland had a one-word answer at mid-week when asked how he was dealing with it.
"Praying," Roland said.
Ahman Green missed another day of practice Thursday with an Achilles' tendon problem that dates back to training camp. He remained probable but there is growing concern about the injury.
Green has missed practices each of the last two weeks and has had to endure a lot of pain after games.
"He's toughed it and battled his way through it," Roland said. "He's ready to go in the ball game but we have to rest him on Wednesday.
After six games a year ago Green had runs of 60 and 65 yards and had 20 rushes for 10 yards or more. He was averaging 5.3 at the time compared to 4.1 now.
Roland doesn't think the injury has affected Green's breakaway ability.
Meanwhile, prime backup Najeh Davenport isn't 100 percent with a hamstring that dates back to training camp as well. He is practicing but on a limited basis.
"I'm good for 20 yards, a 20-yard burst," Davenport said. "But once you go past 20, I'm not really sure what's going to happen, if I'm going to get caught or pull up."
Cowboys at Packers Snapshot
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