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Yard Stick-Wk4: Cowboys O vs Lions D

Previously, we took a look at the Cowboys' Defense versus the Lions' Offense. In that match-up, we could see how explosive the Lions' passing game can be and how miniature their running game can become.

We also saw how stingy the Cowboys' Defense is against the run and how well they have played against the pass, considering the inconsistency of the Defensive Backs.

In this second, of three part, series, we will be focusing on the Cowboys' Offense taking on the Lions' Defense. We all know how explosive the Cowboys' passing game is and how mediocre the running game has become.

The question is, what can we expect from the Cowboys when playing against the Lion's Defense. Lets find out!

TD by Dez Bryant over Chris Houston

COWBOYS RUN OFFENSE

Cowboys
net Rushing Yards
net Avg/Play
Rushing Plays
vs NYJ
64 2.5 26
vs SF
45 2.0 22
vs WAS
125 4.8 26
Total 234 3.2 74

The Cowboys' Run Offense looks similar to their Run Defense, which is never a good thing. The Cowboys' Defense is allowing an average of 3.0, while the offense is running for an average of 3.2.

The Cowboys are ranked #27 in the league for yards per game (78.0), average per play (3.2) and total rushing yards (234). The Lions are ranked at #26, right above us, in yards per game (78.3) and total rushing yards (235). Not much of a difference, except that they had 1 terrible running game and we had 2 bad running games.

LIONS RUN DEFENSE

Lions
net Rush Yards Allowed
net Avg/Play Allowed
Rush Plays Against
vs TB
56 3.5 16
vs KC
151 5.2 29
vs MIN
132 5.7 23
Total 339 5.0 68

On Monday Night we played, the currently ranked #11 run defense, Washington Redskins. At the time, they were allowing 4.8 yards on average on the ground and that's exactly what we averaged in the game. This week, we faced the currently ranked #21 run defense. The Lions are allowing 5 yards a play and 113 yards a game. That means that the Cowboys are facing the weakest run defense, so far this season, on Sunday.

Outside of the Buccaneers, KC and Minnesota have very good running backs and were able to exploit the Lions' Front-7. Will the Cowboys do the same or will they play like the Buccs?

COWBOYS RUN-O VS LIONS RUN-D

Teams Total net Rushing Yards
Total net Avg/Play
Total Rushing Plays
Cowboys O
234 3.2 74
Lions D
339 5.0 68
Expected 96 4.0 24

Against the Redskins, the Cowboys were expected to run for 84 yards and average 3.5 yards a play. Instead they ran for 125 yards and averaged 4.8 yards a play, which is the Redskins' current average allowed ranked at #26. This is well above expectancy.

This week's opponents, the Lions, are averaging 5.0 yards a play and are ranked #30 in the league! They are currently ranked one slot below the Redskins. They have allowed 4 runs for 20+ and 1 run for 40+ (43 yards). The Redskins have pretty much done the same.

Even though the Cowboys are expected to gain 96 yards for 4 yards a play, it's safe to say that the Cowboys could be looking at another 100-yard gain. I wouldn't be surprise to see 120 yards, put up by the Cowboys, on the ground.

COWBOYS PASS OFFENSE

Cowboys
net Passing Yards
net Avg/Play
Passing Plays
vs NYJ
326 8.2 40
vs SF
427 9.7 44
vs WAS
250 6.8 37
Total 1003 8.3 121

The Cowboys are one of the premier passing teams in the league. With the absence of Miles Austin and an unhealthy Dez Bryant, the Cowboys' passing game slagged off. If not, the Cowboys could have easily been the #2 ranked passing team in the league. Instead, we are ranked #3 behind the Saints by only 11 total yards and 3.3 yards a game.

We are also part of the exclusive 1,000 total yards club, which only three teams are a part of; the Patriots (1313), the Saints (1014) and the Cowboys (1003).

LIONS PASS DEFENSE

Lions
net Pass Yards Allowed
net Avg/Play Allowed
Pass Plays Against
vs TB
259 5.4 48
vs KC
116 4.6 25
vs MIN
189 4.7 40
Total 564 5.0 113

The Lions are allowing 188 yards a game, currently ranked at #4 in the league. This is going to be the Cowboys biggest test, against the pass, this season so far. It's no wonder everyone is talking about the Cowboys' Passing Offense versus the Lions' Passing Defense. It's the ranked 3 offense versus the rank 4 defense.

The Lions are averaging 5.0 yards a play; the same thing their run defense is allowing. They have only allowed 1 pass for 40+ yards (45) and 6 passes for 20+ yards. I'm afraid that if we don't get into the EndZone, we won't be winning this game the same way we defeated the Redskins.

COWBOYS PASS-O VS LIONS PASS-D

Teams Total net Pass Yards
Total net Avg/Play
Total Pass Plays
Cowboys O
1003 8.3 121
Lions D
564 4.7 113
Expected 261
6.7 39

The stats are giving the advantage to the Lions. It tells us that the Cowboys are expected to pass way below their average. Unless Dez gets healthy and Miles can return, the Cowboys are expected to perform as they did against the Redskins. We obviously cannot win this game like that.

We also must take into consideration that the Lions have played 2 teams that are 0-3. The three teams that the Lions have faced are currently ranked as follows in passing yards per game: Tampa Bay Buccaneers (#21 - 223), Minnesota Vikings (#29 - 143) and Kansas City Chiefs (#31 - 130.7).

Equally, we are going to be their toughness challenge yet for their pass defense.

COWBOYS OFFENSE VS LIONS DEFENSE

Teams Total net Yards
Total net Avg/Play
Total Plays
Cowboys O
1237 6.3 195
Lions D
1035 5.7 181
Expected 379
6.0 63

The Cowboys are expected to gain 370 total yards, while the Lions are expected to gain 344 total yards. The Cowboys are also expected to average 6 yards a play and the Lions are expected to average 5.3 yards a play. The stats say the Cowboys will run a total of 63 plays and the Lions will run a total of 64 plays.

In conclusion, I see many similarities between these two teams. Both teams have very good passing offenses and "ok" running offenses. The only difference come in defense. The Lions' Passing Defense is better, but the Cowboys' Run Defense is better. All according to the stats.

Either way, the Cowboys are expected to gain more yards then the Lions. The Jets are ranked #6 in defense in passing yards a game allowed (#6 - 188.7). That's only 0.7 more then the Lions (#4 - 188). We lit up the Jets with Dez and Miles! Yet, the Redskins are ranked #15 (240.3) and we couldn't get in the EndZone without them.

I can't express enough how bad we need Miles Austin and Dez Bryant. These two players are a must for the Lions' game or its going to be a very sad day in Dallas on Sunday.

Another user-created commentary provided by a BTB reader.

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