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When the Packers play at Dallas tomorrow in Big D (both are 10-1), the outcome could also decide the NFC title in a couple of months. A Green Bay win puts the conference title game, in all probability, at Lambeau Field -- obviously, a huge advantage for the Packers. A Cowboys win means essentially the converse -- the NFC road to the Supe would go through Texas Stadium.

So how does this one look?

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Well, for starters, the Cowboys are 7-point favorites.  The Packers are 9-1-1 against the spread this season but the Cowboys have been no slouches; they're 8-3. The over-under is 51 1/2. Actually, we'll make our pick on this tomorrow but just wanted to set it up.

Weather forecast is good. Highs in the mid-60s, lows in the mid-40s and clear. So figure a starry Texas night in at least the mid-50s at kickoff. In other words, a fast track.

Brett Favre and Tony Romo are both having great years. Imagine an Al Michaels voiceover: Romo is the Wisconsin kid who grew up with Favre as his hero. Favre is making a curtain call as the leading man in a Super Bowl run.

Now, the Xs-and-Os. Some seem to think the chink in the Dallas armor may be its pass defense. I'm not so sure. The Cowboys are ranked 21st in the NFL in passing yards allowed per game. BUT that ranking is deceptive because an average of only six yards separates about 10 teams. More importantly, I think, are that they're plus-1 in interceptions-to-TD passes and have 30 sacks. Plus, they're allowing just 82 rushing yards a game. Of course, against Green Bay, they're looking at what amounts to a run-and-shoot offense with four and five receivers. That's been a difficult adjustment for a lot of Packers' opponents this season.

Offensively, the Cowboys are getting a great season out of Marion Barber -- apparently teammate Terrell Owens calls him Marion the Barbarian. Barber has 715 yards with an impressive 4.9-yard average. On the surface, Green Bay is so-so against the run, giving up 100 yards a game but, again, that's deceptive. Green Bay has given up only four rushing TDs. So, the Packers have been a lot easier to bend than to break. They're giving up just 16 points a game.

My initial take on this game is that despite the hype surrounding the quarterbacks, it will be  more of a defensive struggle than what would appear to be the case. We'll examine it more tomorrow.

Photo credit:  Associated Press

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