The Detroit Lions will head down to AT&T Stadium to face the Dallas Cowboys this week. Here are five key matchups in order for the Lions to grab a victory:
1. Lions Defensive Backs vs QB Dak Prescott
The Lions rank No. 1 in pass defense and so far this season, the Cowboys have the second lowest yards throwing per game. This matchup heavily favors the Lions not only in numbers but also matchups. The Cowboys do not have receivers you have to watch out for, while the Lions have a few defenders that the Cowboys will have to gameplan against.
2. RB Kerryon Johnson vs LB Leighton Vander Esch
Johnson finally broke the Lions streak of games without a 100-yard rusher last week. This week, I believe he can do it again. As long as the Lions increase Johnson’s touches per game, he has a shot at the 100-yard mark.
The Cowboys defense will be without their leader and key linebacker, Sean Lee. With Lee out, rookie first-round pick Vander Esch will have to fill the void and try to keep Johnson in check.
3. LB Jarrad Davis vs RB Ezekiel Elliot
Davis has had his up and downs so far this year. He will truly be tested in the tackling department this week. Elliot is an elite RB who can run inside, outside, and catch passes out of the backfield. So far this year, Elliot has been the Cowboys second best pass catcher and of course, their leading rusher.
Davis may have the speed to stay up with Elliot, but the question remains, can he bring him down when he is in position? Missed tackles seem to follow Davis wherever he goes.
4. LT Taylor Decker vs DE Demarcus Lawrence
Decker was the only player to make my “did not impress” list last week after allowing a sack as well as committing a couple penalties. Today will be no easy task as he will face the 2017 NFL sack leader in Lawrence. This season, Lawrence has 2.5-sacks in three games. As a team, Dallas is second in sacks in the NFL. While the Lions, on the other hand, lead the NFL with the fewest sacks allowed.
Between Lawrence’s abilities and Deckers struggles, we can hope he keeps Stafford upright for this game.
5. QB Matthew Stafford vs Cowboys Defensive Backs
Stafford has improved week to week, however, he’s about the face his hardest test of the season so far. The Cowboys defense is second in sacks and fifth in passing yards given up. Stafford will have to get the ball away quickly to avoid the pass rush as well as be accurate to avoid the Cowboys secondary.
Although the Cowboys’ pass defense is ranked high, they have not played a very high-level of passing competition so far. Carolina does not have great receivers, the Giants are more of a running team with new RB Saquon Barkley, and even though they do have WR Odell Beckham Jr, QB Eli Manning struggles to get him the ball. Last week, Dallas played the Seahawks who have a poor O-Line and once again no receiving threat to be worried about. In the end, we will find out if Dallas’ defense is for real, or just a product of an easy schedule.Follow here: