In his 15th year as the Packers’ starting quarterback, Aaron Rodgers finally has hit rock bottom. Green Bay has lost five in a row and Rodgers, after a three-interception fiasco in a defeat at Detroit, is stuck with some of the worst numbers of his career. But maybe this is not the bottom, and maybe it can get worse than this. Rodgers is a home underdog this week and Mike McCarthy will be on the opposite sideline. McCarthy was fired as Green Bay’s coach late in the 2018 season, and Rodgers was happy to see him go.
In his return to Lambeau Field, McCarthy leads a resurgent Cowboys team that is a legitimate Super Bowl contender. The Packers, meanwhile, are beat up with injuries and have fallen out of the NFC North race. Outside linebacker Rashan Gary, the emotional leader of the defense, suffered a season-ending knee injury in the 15-9 loss to the Lions. Rookie wide receiver Romeo Doubs (ankle) is likely out this week and running back Aaron Jones (ankle) is questionable.
Dallas is a healthy team coming out of a bye week, and quarterback Dak Prescott was back to full strength, passing for 250 yards and two touchdowns in a 49-29 victory over the Bears in Week 8. The Cowboys expect running back Ezekiel Elliott to return after two weeks off, but Elliott’s presence makes no impact on the point spread. In Elliott’s absence against Chicago, Tony Pollard carried the ball 14 times for 131 yards and three touchdowns. Dallas has the NFL’s third-ranked scoring defense (16.6 ppg), and Green Bay ranks 27th in scoring offense (17.1 ppg).
Usually calm and cool, Rodgers lost control of his emotions in Detroit and showed fits of frustration. He missed open receivers and made several mistakes in one of the ugliest outings of his career. The Packers are beyond the point of bounce-back spots and get-right games. Rodgers getting points at home normally would be attractive to most bettors, but this is an abnormal situation because Green Bay is a mess and the 5-point line reflects it. This game will tell if Rodgers and the Packers are a lost cause in 2022.