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Lions vs. Cowboys: Jason Garrett Must Avoid The Letdown

Calvin and Dez - WR battle for Sunday
Calvin and Dez - WR battle for Sunday

This is your Jason Garrett update: The Dallas Cowboys will be playing the Detroit Lions at Cowboys Stadium at 1 PM EST (12 PM CST) on Sunday.

Yes, we must turn the page on the shocker of last Sunday, and realize that in the NFL you're only as good as your last game. The Cowboys were real good in their last game, but they have no credibility yet. Only great Sundays stacked upon great Sundays will prove anything. (You just can't avoid Jason Garrett-speak). So the Cowboys come back home for a week of practices that will determine if this team is really changing, or was the coaching-change hoopla really behind last week's improved effort.

Is there such thing as a trap-game for a 2-7 team? Probably not, but the Cowboys better not get caught thinking about their big win, or a Thanksgiving Day game against the defending world champs. This week, the Cowboys get a Detroit Lions team that is better than previous editions, but is still struggling with a 2-7 record. Not exactly the Glamour Bowl. 2-7 vs. 2-7. But this game is huge for the Dallas Cowboys. Jason Garrett wants to establish his culture, his process, with these Cowboys. That's always easier to do when you win. The players need this to build upon whatever confidence they took out of the Giants game. Lose to the Lions at home, and you're basically back to where we were this time last week. A dispirited team that is having a nightmare season.

The Giants game will appear as a fluke, an expulsion of energy that was more of a last gasp than a recurring event. Dallas was a patient on life-support, now they're breathing on their own, but it's labored breathing. You definitely don't want a setback now. This is where we'll truly see what Jason Garrett is all about. Last week's opponent was much tougher, but there was no problem getting the players attention after the coaching change - it was much easier to get them focused for the moment. Can he replicate it again, without the lure of a big-time opponent in the wake of a coaching change?

The Lions are a team that is playing better football, but they're also having trouble turning that into wins. Last week, they lost to the previously-winless Buffalo Bills. They're without Matthew Stafford and have gone back to Shaun Hill as their quarterback. So they come into the game without their number one quarterback, just like Dallas. They still have Calvin Johnson, and they've added a running back in Jahvid Best, plus Ndamukong Suh. But with their loss last week on the road, they've now lost 25 straight road games. Wow.

Notes on the game...

SERIES

 

LIONS

COWBOYS

SERIES LEADER

 

11-9

STREAKS

 

4 of past 5

COACHES VS. OPP.

Schwartz: 0-0

Garrett: 0-0

LAST WEEK

L 14-12 at Bills

W 33-20 at Giants

LAST GAME

12/9/07: Cowboys 28 at Lions 27.  Dallas scores 14 points in 4th quarter, including 16-yard TD reception by TE Jason Witten with 18 seconds remaining. 

LAST GAME AT SITE

12/31/06: Lions 39, Cowboys 31.  Detroit QB Jon Kitna completes 28 of 42 passes (66.7 pct.) for 306 yards & 4 TDs.  WR Roy Williams adds 104 rec. yards & 2 TDs for Lions.

BROADCAST

FOX (12:00 PM CT): Kenny Albert, Daryl Johnston, Tony Siragusa (Field reporter).  SIRIUS: 155 (Det.), 127 (Dal.).  XM: 104 (Dal.). 

STATS

PASSING

Sh. Hill: 156-258-1,632-10-8-78.8

Kitna: 82-134-1,076-7-7-82.2

RUSHING

Best (R): 124-380-3.1-4

Jones: 87-353-4.1-0

RECEIVING

C. Johnson: 49-679-13.9-9 (T1L)

Austin: 47-725 (3C)-15.4-3

OFFENSE

336.2

366.8

TAKE/GIVE

+3

-7

DEFENSE

353.2

354.0

SACKS

Suh (R): 6.5

Ware: 8 (T3C)

INTs

A. Smith: 5 (T2L)

7 tied: 1

PUNTING

Harris: 44.7

McBriar: 47.6 (1C)

KICKING

Hanson: 55 (19/19 PAT; 12/14 FG)

Buehler: 54 (21/22 PAT; 11/15 FG)

NOTES

LIONS:  Have scored TDs on 17 of 25 red zone possessions (68%), best in NFC…In only start vs. Dal. (11/23/08 with SF), QB SHAUN HILL passed for 303 yards with 2 TDs & 100.9 rating.  Had 323 pass yards last week…RB JAHVID BEST leads NFL rookies with 740 scrimmage yards (380 rush, 360 rec.).  Ties for 3rd among NFL rookies with 5 total TDs (4 rush, 1 rec.)…WR CALVIN JOHNSON had 10 catches for 128 yards & TD vs. Bills.  Has 8 rec. TDs in past 6.  Has 26 rec. TDs since start of 2008, 3rd most in NFL.  TE BRANDON PETTIGREW ties for 2nd among NFL TEs with 42 catches & has rec. TD in 3 of past 5.  KR-PR STEFAN LOGAN ranks 3rd in NFL with 28.8 KR avg. & is 3rd with 13.6 PR avg.  Only player to rank in top 5 in both.  WR NATE BURLESON had 6 catches for 89 yards in last meeting (11/1/09 with Sea.)…DT NDAMUKONG SUH leads NFL rookies with 6.5 sacks.  DE CLIFF AVRIL has 3 sacks in his past 2.  CB ALPHONSO SMITH has INT in 5 of past 7, incl. 42-yard INT-TD

COWBOYS:  QB JON KITNA played 3 seasons in Det. (2006-08).  Has 2 of only 3 4,000-yard seasons in team history.  Had 327 yards, 3 TDs & 124.1 rating last week…RB FELIX JONES had 136 scrimmage yards vs. NYG, incl. 71-yard rec. TD.  Incl. playoffs, has 9 career TDs (7 rush, 1 rec., 1 KR) & averages 49.8 yards per TD (448 yards).  RB MARION BARBER aims for 4th in row vs. Det. with rush TD.  Has rushed for 5 TDs in 3 career meetings…WR-PR DEZ BRYANT had 3 catches for career-high 104 yards (34.7 avg.) & TD last week.  Has 41 catches & needs 6 to pass HOFer BOB HAYES (46) for most by Cowboys rookie.  Has 7 total TDs (5 rec. 2 PR), most among NFL rookies.  WR MILES AUSTIN has 29 catches for 463 yards (115.8 per game) & TD in past 4 at home.  Had TD last week.  TE JASON WITTEN had career-high 15 catches for 138 yards & TD in last meeting…LB DE MARCUS WARE tied career-high with 3 sacks in last home game vs. Det.  Has 64.5 sacks since 2006, most in NFL.  CB BRYAN MC CANN had 101-yard INT-TD last week, 2nd rookie in SB era with 100+ yard INT-TD (LOUIS DELMAS). 

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