Lions Den: Lions Travel To Dallas

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The NFC North-leading Detroit Lions (9-5) will head to AT&T Stadium to take on the Dallas Cowboys (12-2) at 8:30 p.m.

The Lions are coming off of a close loss to the New York Giants, while the Dallas Cowboys are coming off of a close win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford should be able to find open receivers against a generous Cowboys secondary. Heading into Monday night’s showdown the Cowboys rank 28th in passing yards allowed per game. Stafford is still nursing a finger injury, but that didn’t stop him from throwing for 273 yards last week against the Giants.

The Lions will have a hard time finding room to run the ball in this game. Dallas comes into the game ranked first overall in terms of rushing yards allowed per game and Detroit is one of the worst rushing teams in the league. Combine that with the fact that Detroit’s backfield is banged up, and you have a recipe for disaster.

Marvin Jones, Golden Tate and Anquan Boldin will be key for the Lions on Monday night. Tate has become Stafford’s favorite receiver over the past few weeks, and that connection should have success again. Tate finished last week’s game against the Giants with eight catches for 122 yards. Jones provides Stafford with a deep threat, while Bodin gives the Lions a big red zone target. The trio will need to be on top of their game if they want to pull out a win in Dallas.

Dallas’ offense is led by rookie quarterback Dak Prescott, but he isn’t your everyday rookie quarterback. Prescott has played his way into MVP consideration and could cement his place in that race with a good showing against an improving Lions defense. Prescott finished last week’s game with 279 passing yards, completing 32 of 36 passes. He also added 20 yards rushing and a touchdown.

Prescott isn’t the only MVP candidate on this Cowboys team, as running back Ezekiel Elliott has put together an impressive rookie campaign as well. Elliott finished last week’s game with 23 carries, 159 yards and a touchdown. He is already over 1,500 yards this season and should give the Lions all sorts of problems.

The Cowboys’ impressive run game will open up the passing game. Dallas receivers such as Dez Bryant, Terrance Williams and Cole Beasley should be able to find openings in the Detroit secondary. Bryant is by far the team’s best receiver, but Beasley could have more success against the Lions because he runs shorter routes, which the Lions are content with giving up. However, Bryant does have big play ability, and shouldn’t be taken lightly.

Keys to the game

  • The biggest key to this game will be Detroit’s ability to stop Dallas’ running game. Elliott and that offensive line have done major damage this season and if they get going early, Detroit will be in trouble.
  • Stafford will need to be effective throwing the ball on Monday night. The Lions will struggle to run the ball, leaving a lot of pressure on Stafford and the receivers.
  • Turnovers will be a big key in this game. Detroit needs to get pressure on Prescott and force him into bad throws if they want a chance to win this game.

Prediction

The Lions do have a lot to play for, while the Cowboys don’t, but I still think Dallas is the better overall team. The Dallas run game will give Detroit problems and that will ultimately be the downfall of the Lions.

Cowboys 27, Detroit 24.