4:15 PM ET, November 15, 2009
Lambeau Field, Green Bay, WI
Romo returns to the state where he grew up, searching for his 14th straight November win -- and fifth in a row overall for Dallas -- when the Cowboys take on the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on Sunday.
Dallas (6-2) has seen promising seasons the last three years turn into lost opportunities because of its 5-8 December record in that span. Romo has a quarterback rating of at least 93.0 in every month except December, when he has a 71.9 rating with 14 touchdowns and 19 interceptions.
"I'm not sure every player as they start don't have those ghosts so to speak to overcome," owner Jerry Jones said. "It's just another challenge."
There's no doubt that November is when Romo is at his best with 37 touchdowns, 10 interceptions and a 115.9 rating in 17 games. He went 21 of 34 for 307 yards, one score and one interception to open this month as Dallas won 20-16 at Philadelphia last Sunday night to take a one-game lead in the NFC East.
"We executed," Romo said. "I think the coaches put together a good plan. You just have to keep fighting and getting better."
This is the second straight year Romo, who grew up in Burlington, Wis., is playing at Green Bay (4-4) after he guided Dallas to a 27-16 win last Sept. 21. Miles Austin had two receptions for 115 yards, including a 52-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter.
That was Austin's first career TD catch, and he's emerged as the Cowboys' biggest receiving threat. Austin has six touchdowns and 531 yards during Dallas' four-game win streak.
While Austin had the go-ahead 49-yard score last weekend, Roy Williams had five catches for 75 yards and Jason Witten had seven for 43. It provided further evidence that the Cowboys' disharmony from the past with Terrell Owens on the team is no longer an issue.
"If you want to talk chemistry or whatever, I think we have that with this team," coach Wade Phillips said. "We're not a big ego team. We're kind of a selfless team. But we'll find out more now with everyone telling them they're great. I think they'll handle it."
The mood is very different for the Packers, who are trying to avoid a third straight loss. Their first three defeats came to division leaders Cincinnati and Minnesota (twice) before a 38-28 road loss to previously winless Tampa Bay last Sunday.
Aaron Rodgers has been sacked a league-high 37 times after getting dropped six times last week. Rodgers threw three interceptions in Tampa -- one more than he had in his first seven games.
"We're disappointed and we're 4-4," coach Mike McCarthy said. "We're at the halfway point of our season. I'm very disappointed, but that's our work to this point. I take full responsibility. I'm at the point of this football team. I have all the confidence in this team that we'll get ready and we'll move on and win a big game here at home against Dallas."
Protecting Rodgers will be the main concern against a Dallas pass rush that features Pro Bowl linebacker DeMarcus Ware (five sacks in the last four games) and nose tackle Jay Ratliff (three in last three). Each had one of the Cowboys' five sacks of Rodgers last year.
It will be an even tougher task for Green Bay if right tackle Mark Tauscher can't play. Tauscher sprained his left knee last week, the same knee he badly injured in December.
McCarthy said Tauscher has a "slight" chance of playing against Dallas.
Outside linebacker Aaron Kampman will not play after sustaining a concussion early in last week's game. Coach Mike McCarthy said Friday that Brad Jones would make his first NFL start in place of Kampman, who will miss his first game because of injury since October 2003.
The Cowboys aren't concerned with the Packers' myriad of problems.
"Right now I just think that we have the momentum going for us," Dallas linebacker Keith Brooking said. "We just have to keep things rolling and keep playing well."
Dallas has won 13 of its last 15 against Green Bay. The Cowboys were 0-5 at Lambeau Field before last year's victory.
Cowboys-Packers: 10 observations
After breaking down film of both teams, Scouts Inc. offers 10 things to watch in this week's Cowboys-Packers matchup.
1. Dallas needs to limit Green Bay's explosive plays: The Cowboys have done a great job of forcing opponents to take the quick check-down pass thanks to their explosive pass rush along with a strong blitz package. They are willing to let opponents complete short passes as long as they manage to get there quickly and prevent many yards after the catch. With the likes of receivers Donald Driver and Greg Jennings, the Packers have the ability to score quickly.
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Green Bay Packers
|Avg Points Allowed||18.8||19.9|
Team Averages & NFL Ranks
|TEAM OFFENSE||TEAM||PER GAME AVERAGE|
|TEAM DEFENSE||TEAM||PER GAME AVERAGE|
|Pass Yds Allowed||DAL|
|Rush Yds Allowed||DAL|
Head to Head Matchups (Since 2001)
|Series tied 2-2|
|Sep 21, 2008||DAL 27, @GB 16|
|Nov 29, 2007||DAL 37, GB 27|
|Oct 24, 2004||DAL 20, @GB 41|