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Ndamukong Suh and Lions host the Cowboys at Ford Field in a battle of 4-3 NFC teams
Two teams that are 4-3 in the NFC and more known for offense will go toe-to-toe on Sunday when the Dallas Cowboys matchup with the Detroit Lions at 1 p.m. ET on FOX. Strap in and get ready for this one because the points should come in bunches. What we have here is two of the NFL's most explosive passing attacks, as both rank in the top 10 in points per game and passing yards per contest. In fact, both of these teams average over 26 points per game. Tony Romo has already proven he can keep up in a scoring bonanza-type of game as he threw for 506 yards and five touchdowns when his Cowboys put up 48 points on the Broncos earlier this month. The Lions could use a win as they are in a tight, NFC North battle with the Packers and Bears, while the Cowboys look to create separation in a very weak NFC East. This will be the 25th all-time meeting between the two franchises, with the Cowboys leading the head-to-head series 13-11.
3 Things to Watch
On display for NFL fans will be two of the most statistically productive quarterbacks of 2013 thus far. Matthew Stafford and Tony Romo are tied for second in the NFL with 15 touchdown passes each. Stafford has completed 61.4 percent of his throws for 2,129 yards, which is third-most in the league. Tony Romo is no slouch either as he has completed 68.1 percent of his passes for 2,010. Romo has more passing yards in his first 100 starts than any player in NFL history. Romo and Stafford are third and fourth in the league, respectively, in passing completions. Expect the ball to be thrown all over the field as these two signal-callers combine to average almost 80 passes per game. These quarterbacks should feast off of a Cowboys defense that ranks 30th in the league in passing defense and a Lions defense that comes in just one spot better, 29th.
Can Dez Bryant walk the walk?
Earlier this week Bryant was quoted as saying that he believes he can do anything on the football field that Calvin Johnson can. It's time for Bryant to back his talk up as he faces off against Johnson and the Lions this week. Bryant's claim may not be as far-fetched as many think, as he has been quite impressive this season. His 42 catches trail just Brandon Marshall among NFC receivers and his six touchdown receptions are third in the NFL. The other receiver that is tied with Bryant with six scores is Johnson. The man known as Megatron, despite missing some action this year has 33 catches and is averaging nearly fifteen yards per grab. As mentioned earlier, neither team's secondary has been strong this year. The Lions don't have a top-level cornerback; however, while the Cowboys do have Brandon Carr.
Dallas was without starting running back DeMarco Murray and linebacker DeMarcus Ware last week. Murray appears to be on track to return this week after being held out with a knee sprain. He practiced for the second straight day on Thursday and should be ready to go come Sunday. On the other hand, Ware seems to be much less likely to play. The All-Pro sat out of practice on Thursday as he continues to rest his injured quad. The initial prognosis on the injury said it would take him three to four weeks to recover; however, Ware said he aimed to be back sooner. The Cowboys could really use him to pressure Stafford and keep him from tearing up the Dallas secondary.
Key Player for Detroit: DeAndre Levy, LB
Levy leads the NFL in interceptions. Sitting in the middle of the Lions defense, he could be the recipient of a Tony Romo mistake as the Dallas quarterback has a tendency to force the ball over the middle to tight end Jason Witten from time to time. As big interception could swing what is sure to be an offensive shootout.
Key Player for Dallas: Dwayne Harris, KR/PRA
Harris is second in the NFL in yards per kick return and yards per punt return. He returned a punt 86 yards for a touchdown two weeks ago against the Redskins. Harris will definitely give the Cowboys a leg up when it comes to field position. Both offenses are sure to be clicking so it could be a special teams play that turns the tide in this one.
I like the Detroit Lions in this one. A key factor to consider is that the Lions have given up just nine sacks this season, tied for the lowest in the NFL. The offensive line's ability to keep Matthew Stafford unscathed will prove to be a major advantage in this one. Without De Marcus Ware I don't expect the Cowboys to mount any sort of intimidating pass rush. On the other end, the Lions' fierce defensive line should get in Tony Romo's face early and often. For me, the versatility and explosiveness of Reggie Bush swings this one, as the Lions are masterful at creating mismatches for him with linebackers and safeties.
Detroit 35, Dallas 31