Detroit Lions at Dallas Cowboys: A Monday Night Party!

Cowboy fans are expecting a big game out of WR Dez Bryant on Monday night. Photo Courtesy: Matt Pearce
Cowboy fans are expecting a big game out of WR Dez Bryant on Monday night.
Photo Courtesy: Matt Pearce
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By Zach Walker

Game Info
Detroit Lions vs Dallas Cowboys
Monday – December 26 – 7:30 pm
AT&T Stadium – Arlington – Texas

Records Before the Game
Detroit Lion (9-5, 3-4 Away)
Dallas Cowboys (12-2, 6-1 Home)

Who do the Cowboys need to shut down?
Lions’ Defensive Tackles – To be completely honest, I don’t fear a whole lot of this Lions’ team. Stafford and his passing attack is a handful, but as I’ll point out, the Cowboys’ can counter that. The most dangerous and for the Lions’ at this point in the season, healthiest bunch of players must be the defensive tackles. The Lions don’t have Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley anymore, but they’ve supplemented well. They brought Tyrunn Walker from the Saints, and he’s a big guy in the center, then they brought in Haloti Ngata, the former All-Pro from of the Ravens, and he can still squeeze some juice from those veteran pores. In this year’s draft, they picked up A’Shawn Robinson to grow into a dynamic tackle. Robinson hasn’t flourished quite yet, but he will. These guys all have the ability to give the pair of Pro Bowlers in the middle of the Cowboys’ O-Line a really healthy fight. And Pro Bowl voters, where’s the love for big Ron Leary, the man gets no love. Shame. Earned it.

Who on the Cowboys, needs to step up?
DE David Irving – I’m not jumping on the instant reaction bandwagon for David Irving’s performance against the Buccaneers, because before training camp started in my preview, I said Irving would be a diamond in the rough. He’s shown flashes of game-breaking ability in two games this season, and has been a consistent threat when healthy and on the field. I’m saying he needs to step up because I want to see him string some successes together. The Lions’ offensive line is extremely young on the left side, with left tackle (Taylor Decker) and left guard (Graham Glasgow) being rookies. Match that with the center Travis Swanson being on the injury report, and the Cowboys’ defensive line should look to make Matthew Stafford’s visit home a very unwelcome embrace. Big props to Maliek Collins, he had a great game against the Bucs, epic rip move late in the fourth quarter.

Which group will give the Cowboys trouble?
The Lions’ pass catchers – Matthew Stafford was screwed when Calvin Johnson retired. Or so everyone thought. Forced to evolve his game, Matt Stafford truly has flourished under the coaching of Jim Bob Cooter, he’s utilizing the whole field, Stafford’s improvisation skills and ability to change his arm angle to complete the pass to the receiver that he desires. Losing Calvin, forced the Lions to make some moves in the offseason. They had Golden Tate, who has emerged as a solid number one receiver. The Lions brought in Marvin Jones to be the second option. The tight end Eric Ebron is coming into his own, then the Lions brought in an ace to sleeve for intense situations. I wanted the Cowboys to bring in Anquan Boldin, if for anything, to teach Dez Bryant how to attack on every play. The combination of these players, with the gunslinging Stafford can be a match made for Monday Night fireworks.

Which group will give the Lions trouble?
The Cowboys’ rushing attack – As much as it is a really easy choice to say that the Cowboys’ via Ezekiel Elliott will be able to run the ball on the Lions, but this isn’t blind, fan-driven assumption. The Giants were able to crack off 114 yards on the Lions. Though, it was a really caramel-y 114 earned yards, the Giants are truly an awful rushing team, so eclipsing the century mark for them is an achievement. If the Lions allowed the Giants to win the game, when they held those Giants to under 200 yards passing, this game doesn’t look like it’s going to be particularly friendly for the Lions.

What will it take for the Cowboys to win?
Really, I think this game could end up looking like that Colts game from 2014, where it was a late season threat from another postseason team, then it turns out to be a wash. The Lions SHOULD be resting Darius Slay, their best corner for precaution and for greener pastures of the playoffs, and that means the Lions will be down to the bottom of their bucket for corners.

Dallas 34 – Detroit 17