The Dallas Cowboys will travel to Ford Field on Sunday in hopes of coming away with a much-needed win against the struggling Detroit Lions.
This year’s Dallas Cowboys team is maddeningly frustrating to watch. Despite boasting one of the league’s best offenses and defenses, they find themselves just past the midway point of the season with a 5-4 record and in desperate need of a win to stay atop the NFC East.
Thankfully, they’ll get some help from the schedule this week as they face a struggling 3-5-1 Detroit Lions with a woefully bad defense and possible backup quarterback. Lions’ quarterback Matthew Stafford’s health aside, the big advantage the Cowboys have on Sunday is their offense.
According to the NFL’s statistics, the Cowboys enter Week 10 leading the league in offensive yards per game (437.4). The team’s 27.9 points per game is sixth-best.
They face a defense that USA Today points out has been historically bad over the past four games. Through nine games, the Lions defense ranks has given up 402.1 yards per game while surrendering 26.3 points per game, which puts them 28th and 24th in the league rankings, respectively.
Keep in mind, these rankings come after the a relatively strong start to the season for the Lions. Statistically speaking, on paper, the Cowboys offense should have a field day on Sunday — especially with how bad Detroit’s defense has played over the past few weeks.
The Lions defense is allowing over 270 passing yards per game and has surrendered 19 passing touchdowns this season. NFL Inside Edge (via USA Today), reveals that the Lions have allowed a league worst QB rating of 128.7 since Week 7 — 13.3 rating points worse than the next team, the Oakland Raiders.
The numbers are certainly in quarterback Dak Prescott‘s favor. While the fourth-year quarterback has a 2:1 touchdown to interception ratio on the season, the Lions defense has only intercepted three balls all year. I don’t see this narrative changing on Sunday, especially since Dak is coming into the game playing some of his best ball all season.
In the past two games, Prescott has thrown for over 650 yards and six touchdowns. Despite having lost to Minnesota last Sunday, he put up one of his best statistical performances all season.
If it’s not the passing game, the Cowboys should be able to lean on running back Ezekiel Elliott. Despite a forgettable game last week in which he rushed for just 47 yards, Elliott remains a vital cog in the Cowboys offense.
Like Dak, Zeke should also have his way against the league’s 26th-worst rush defense. Yes, the Cowboys offensive line is dealing with some injuries, but so is the Lions defensive line. Even with some injuries up front, I give the edge to Elliott and the Cowboys.
One could look at the Dallas Cowboys’ 5-4 record this year and call the team inconsistent. But if there is anything consistent about this Cowboys team it’s that they typically take care of business against inferior opponents (save for the New York Jets). The offense may struggle against teams with winning records, but they certainly have no problem taking care of business against the ones that are bad. And make no mistake, the Detroit Lions defense is about as bad as it comes.