The Detroit Lions now stand at 3-5-1 and host the 5-4 Dallas Cowboys this week. The Lion Lowdown writers offer their predictions for this week’s game.
Bruce Walker (@smoke25):
Let’s get this out of the way right now. Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford has been ruled out for the game against the Dallas Cowboys. I wrote last week’s article before Stafford’s late scratch and paid the price. That’s what I get for turning in my homework early!
Having said that, I liked several things about the way Jeff Driskel played last week. He showed the ability to be elusive in the pocket. When protection broke down, he showed that he has the wheels to gain a much-needed first down. Perhaps they can build on those talents. This week, it will also help that he will be playing at home.
It was a little bit frustrating to watch the deep game disappear though. It seemed like the downfield passing game simply vanished for large periods of time. Last week during the Chicago Bears game, it seemed like the Lions were channeling Jim Bob Cooter. A third down and eight would call for a three-yard pass that would gain 4 yards then result in a punt.
The Lion’s defense actually looked pretty good for most of the first half last week. You do have to keep in mind that it was against the Bears. This week, Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott are coming to town, and they pose a much more formidable challenge than does Mitchell Trubisky.
Oh, and remember, Mitch only threw three touchdown passes last week.
On a good note, it looks promising that Ty Johnson will be back as running back after having cleared concussion protocol. There was a distinct and noticeable difference in the production of the offense after he left last week.
I’ve also noticed how the Lions seemed to start fast every week. In the two games that I’ve personally attended, the players seem to have amazing energy at the beginning of the game. That energy fades as the game progresses, though. Sometimes as early as the second quarter. I’m not sure what that means. I’m certainly not saying that the team gives up. I am saying that I see a noticeable difference in the amount of energy displayed on the field, especially by the defense.
When all is said and done, the Dallas Cowboys will present a bigger challenge than the Stafford-less Lions and their 30th ranked defense will be able to overcome.
Detroit Lions 17 — Dallas Cowboys 31
James Gullett (@gullett_james):
Driskel showed last week that he is at least a capable backup. Off short notice against the Bears, he wasn’t even told he would start until a few hours before kickoff. With Stafford sitting out of practice, Driskel finally had a chance to get reps with the Lions’ first team for a full week.
The Lions may actually have a chance to win this week, albeit a slim one.
I got to see Driskel perform at a decent level last week against a top-10 defense. Before, I would say we were toast but Driskel impressed me a little bit.
With a laundry list of injuries, I don’t think the Lions will bring home the victory unless the Cowboys just forget to show up and are their own worst enemy — which has happened this year.
Pending on how many of the questionable players can actually suit up for Detroit, I think the Cowboys will win by two scores.
Detroit Lions 17 — Dallas Cowboys 31
Logan Lamorandier (@LLamorandier):
For the second week in a row, the Lions will once again be without Matthew Stafford. Driskel looked alright for a backup quarterback, but he still has some kinks to work out of his game.
Before Stafford went down, the Lions had one team strength that was keeping them in games — the passing attack. Outside of throwing the football, the Lions are well below average in many statistical categories on both sides of the ball.
The Cowboys have the NFL’s topped ranked offense while the Lions have the 30th total defense. I’m not sure I’ve seen much, if any, film this year on the Lions defense that would suggest they could slow the Cowboys down. Dallas is a run-first team and Detroit has struggled all season against it.
I would like to say the Lions have a real chance, but I can’t imagine a scenario where the Lions win without a complete meltdown by the Cowboys. It is the NFL, so it could happen, but don’t count on it.
Detroit Lions 16 — Dallas Cowboys 31Follow here: