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Cowboys @ Lions: Will Cowboys take care of business in road trip to Detroit?

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Which team prevails on Sunday, the 5-4 Cowboys or the 3-5-1 Lions?

NFL: Detroit Lions at Dallas Cowboys Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Personally, I take no pleasure in being correct, my prognostication of a 28-24 loss to the Vikings unfolded perfectly and it still hurts.

It’s a new week as the 5-4 Cowboys travel to take on the 3-5-1 Lions. The main story of this one is the Lions being without quarterback Matthew Stafford. However, the Cowboys faced the Saints without Drew Brees and lost. Dallas also faced the Packers without their WR1 and Aaron Rodgers still walked away victorious. The Cowboys still have a rotten taste in their mouths from a loss to the lowly Jets where they allowed Sam Darnold to carve them up.

We’re still asking ourselves a lot of questions about this Cowboys team, who are they? Where are they going and when will they wake up? The Cowboys certainly have talent littered throughout the roster, when will that talent finally put the mistakes in the past and show they’re ready to contend? It starts with notching their sixth win, if they are so fortunate to do so, on the road, in Detroit.

When the Lions have the ball

Keep Lions off-balance

Detroit cannot find balance on offense and are most definitely one of the worst rushing offenses in the NFL. The Cowboys linebackers and defensive tackles were walloped by the Minnesota Vikings’ running attack led by Dalvin Cook. The Lions do not have the road-graders to replicate the Vikings winning formula from last week. Without Stafford, the Lions offense is in the hands of the former LA Tech quarterback, Jeff Driskel.

Detroit currently has the fifth-ranked passing offense this season but that’s because prior to injury, Stafford averaged 312 passing yards per game (second in NFL). In Driskel’s debut, he completed 27 of 46 attempts for 269 yards, had one touchdown, one interception, and a passer rating of 73.6, obviously well below the previous average. The Lions have to pass but that’s an opportunity for the Cowboys defense, which ranks fifth in passing defense, and sixth in overall team defense. Keep Detroit from finding balance on offense and this game will fall right into place for the Cowboys.

When the Cowboys have the ball

Drop the conservative play-calling & attack a poor Detroit defense.

The Cowboys need to absolve themselves of last week’s sins by beating up on a porous Lions defense. In order to accomplish that, they need to let go of their stubborn conservatism and attack the opponent. Here is where the Lions defense lives right now:

- 26th in Team Total Defense (402 YPG)

- 28th in Pass Defense (272 YPG)

- 27th in Run Defense (130 YPG)

- 24th in Scoring Defense (26.2 PPG)

If you want to establish the run, go for it, but don’t be so predictable that you run the ball on every single first down. Don’t ignore the amazing season Dak Prescott is having, the same goes for the receivers too. Allow the talent to take over and win football games, there is no need for the Cowboys to be so married to one winning formula. Just beat these guys up because that’s what the Cowboys should be expected to do against a struggling team.

Now onto the predictions from our writers...

Michael Strawn

I’ve basically given up predicting what this team will do. I’m gonna guess with Stafford out the defense will be better but then again this unit made Sam Darnold look great, so who knows? Cowboys 24, Lions 16

DannyPhantom

Win big or lose close, that’s the question. The Cowboys are clearly the better team, but will the execution will be there on Sunday? I say it will. Starting with the defense - they will play with a lot of aggression, get pressure on the quarterback, and create turnovers to set the table for a comfortable win. The offense will patiently do it’s thing, including a rebound game for the rushing attack, and it will drive us nuts at times, but that’s how they roll. In the end, the Cowboys leave the motor city victorious and everyone calmly acts as if they knew it was going to happen all along. Cowboys 27, Lions 13.

Matt Holleran

Dallas will get back to their winning ways this weekend against the Jeff Driskel led Detroit Lions. Much like the New York game two weeks ago, the Cowboys will let the Lions hang around in the first half, but pull away in the third and fourth quarter. Ezekiel Elliott will total 150 plus all purpose yards on offense, and DeMarcus Lawrence will be a game-breaker on defense, generating two sacks and a forced fumble. Cowboys 28, Lions 17

David Howman

With the Lions being so bad on defense and missing key players on offense, the Cowboys should run away with this one, but I’m not so sure. I think Dallas has another slow start but pulls away in the fourth quarter to win 35-20

Michael Sisemore

I think the Cowboys come out a little angry after last week’s letdown and they do what is expected against a bad football team. Like most of the Cowboys games this season, expect some hand-wringing in the first-half and an offensive explosion in the second. Cowboys win 31-17.

Tom Ryle

Here is MY prediction (because I made it on Twitter, and I believe in foolish consistency, being a hobgoblin fan and all): I think the big story here is that the Lions will have a wee bit of trouble on offense with Jeff Driskel. Dak will still Dak, being indoors and such, while Zeke has a bit of a rebound. Give me a 31-13 win for the Cowboys. (Have I mentioned I like palindromes?)