To be completely realistic, it's more than likely that the Dallas Cowboys are going to be locked into the third seed in the NFC after this weekend's action. The question is, who should the Cowboys be hoping to play? Maybe a rematch against the Arizona Cardinals, who the Cowboys lost to in the lone game that Tony Romo missed this year? How about the team who loses the NFC North between the Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers? Well, there is likely going to be a popular choice when all is said and done, but as always, you should be open to opinions. Let's look at the pros and cons of playing all three teams below.
Pros/Cons For The Cardinals
Pros: First off, let's state the obvious facts. The Cowboys are looking at a potential revenge game against the Cardinals. Tack on the fact that they are in the midst of a brutal offensive spot where they've lost both their starter, their back-up and now their third-string quarterback all to injuries. They're also without starting running back Andre Ellington. It's a great matchup for Dallas, and I think that most fans would hope to see this game as the Cowboys' first home playoff game. The other pros? The Cardinals rank 30th in the league in opponents' passing yards per game, which could set up a big day for Tony Romo.
Cons: We simply can't overlook the fact that the Cardinals have an incredibly talented defense, and they may be able to prepare well for the Cowboys in a rematch of their 28-17 win in Dallas earlier in the year. The Cardinals rank eighth in opponents' rushing yards per game allowed at 102.2, which means that we could see DeMarco Murray in a tough matchup.
Pros/Cons For The Lions
Pros: The Detroit Lions aren't the best running team in the league, they rank 27th in yards per game at 87.4 on the ground. If the Cowboys can slow down the Lions' run game and force them to pass, it'll make life a whole lot easier for the defense. Sure, they'll have to face Calvin Johnson if they take on the Lions, but Matthew Stafford is definitely prone to making a mistake or two and turn the ball over - especially on the road.
Cons: The Lions are 13th in opposing passing yards per game, and FIRST in rushing yards allowed per game against opponents at just 63.8 yards per game. It's simply a brutal matchup, and the Lions are the toughest defensive matchup out of these three teams. Detroit just shuts teams down at times, and in their last four games heading into Green Bay, they've given up 17 points twice and 14 points twice.
Pros/Cons For The Packers
Pros: The positive part of taking on the Packers is that they give up an average of 120.5 yards per game on the ground to opponents. This means that DeMarco Murray could be in for a big day, which should help open things up for Romo, Dez Bryant, Jason Witten and the other options in the passing game. The Packers' offense has slowed down a bit in their previous two games, as they've scored just 13 and 20 points, showing that it is possible to slow them down.
Cons: The Packers are one of the strongest offensive teams in the NFL, as they rank seventh in passing yards per game and 11th in rushing yards per game. It's going to be a tough game for the Cowboys' defense if they get matched up, and no one really can say that they want to face Aaron Rodgers, regardless of whether it's at home or on the road. As one of the most dangerous teams in the playoffs, the Packers are scary, and they're just a team who you'll want to avoid early.
The choice is the Arizona Cardinals. While there could be a case made for taking on the Lions as the Cowboys' offense is firing on all cylinders currently, I think that the lack of quarterback options, as well as Ellington being unavailable, make this team the top choice for the Cowboys' first round opponent. Let's not forget the revenge aspect of things, because the Cowboys would be just a bit hungrier, with Romo