In a nutshell, in 1994 the Packers were going for their second straight playoff berth, after going to the playoffs the prior year, beating the Lions, and then losing to Dallas. As they struggled to keep their heads above water in 1994, they caught a huge break (or so it seemed) when Troy Aikman was injured and unavailable for the Thanksgiving day game against the Cowboys. The backup QB, Jason Garrett, played, and of course the Packers lost. And oh, by the way, the Packers did make the playoffs that year, where they again beat the Lions, and then again lost to the Cowboys.
So if it seems that the Packers are getting a gift, in that they are facing a banged-up Cowboy squad, I don't see a gift, I just see a potential trap game. The Packers, struggling as they are, managed to get past the part of the schedule where they lost 3 out of 4 games. They then managed to string together an emotional, hugely important win against the Vikings, and then put on an impressive defensive performance against the Jets, so all it will take is another win against the Cowboys to let the Packers go into the bye week with a 3 game win streak, a 6-3 record, and first place in the division.
Speaking of the Jets game, it was a great win, but an almost unwatchable game for a neutral observer. There are games that are just great defensive struggles, but this was not one of them. There were great individual defensive plays (like the interceptions and the Clay Mattews sack in the closing minutes), but overall the story line of this game was more about mis-fired passes, dropped balls, and turnovers. It reminded me a bit of an overtime Monday night game against the Buccaneers in 1983, when both teams struggled on offense, scoring nothing but field goals, and as I recall it, the game went on and on into overtime before finally the Packers kicked another field goal to win it, 12-9. That game, at least as I remember it, was even more unwatchable than the Jets game.
The Packers obviously know how important this Sunday night game is, and they are not playing well enough to be in a position to take anybody lightly. I think they will avoid the trap, win the game handily, and get a welcome break to get some players healthier before continuing the season in a couple of weeks.