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Cowboys vs. Lions: Writer predictions for Dak Prescott’s return

Expectations are sky high, but will the Cowboys come through?

Dallas Cowboys v Philadelphia Eagles Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

In many ways, the Cowboys are starting their season all over again this week. After going 4-2, they’re getting Dak Prescott back on the field as the Lions come into Dallas. And for the second time this year, the Cowboys are favored to win.

That’s for good reason, too, as the Lions are 1-4 and coming out of their bye week after being shut out 29-0 by the Patriots the week prior. But Detroit has one of the most explosive offenses in the league and hadn’t lost by more than a touchdown prior to the Patriots game. They’re the type of team that makes for a perfect trap game, but do our writers think the Cowboys can avoid falling for it?

When Detroit has the ball

Control the trenches

With the exception of the Patriots game, Detroit has been an offensive juggernaut this season and it’s all been built around their elite offensive line. The Lions have a diverse and highly efficient running game, which will be buoyed by the expected return of D’Andre Swift. And their pass game has been perfectly married to the run game, getting Jared Goff off to a hot start.

The Patriots were able to bottle up the offense largely because of how they controlled the line of scrimmage. The run game was bottled up and they managed to pressure Goff into the kind of back-breaking mistakes that got him shipped out of Los Angeles. The Cowboys have flashed that kind of potential in the defensive front, highlighted by Micah Parsons, but they struggled to do it against the Eagles a week ago. They’ll need to correct that if they have hopes of limiting this offense.

When Dallas has the ball

Get Dak in a rhythm

There’s no way around it: this Lions defense is bad. It’s reminiscent of the 2020 Cowboys, and they get beat in every way. Their most talented pieces (Aidan Hutchinson, Malcolm Rodriguez, and Alim McNeill, for example) are their youngest players, which makes them susceptible to getting beat. And they’ve been beat plenty this year.

That makes this a perfect week for Dak Prescott to return, although you can expect these Lions to have made some adjustments during the bye week. Still, there will be plenty of opportunities for Prescott to make a triumphant return, but the Cowboys need to get him in a rhythm early. There’s bound to be some rust for Prescott, but the Cowboys can help him shake it off quickly.

Now onto the predictions from your BTB writers...

Tom Ryle (3-3):

The return of Dak is very important, but I think we are being way to optimistic if we expect him to go out and throw for 400 yards and 4 touchdowns in his first game back. I’m predicting the running game is going to be very important against a quite porous Lions defense, and Dak will not have to put on a cape.

Look for Zeke and Tony to be competing to be the first to 100 yards in this game while the pass attack is more like 250 yds and a tuddy. That will be enough if the Dallas defense can contain a very productive Detroit offense.

I think things will come together for the Cowboys and they get a 30-20 win.

Tony Catalina (2-4):

We’ve been waiting to to say these two words for over a month a half now, but now the wait is over and we can finally say “Dak’s back”. Rush did an admirable job of keeping the season on track, thanks to their defense and just enough timely offense to find themselves right in the thick of things as they get their star QB back. The Cowboys will be too much for this Lions team and I think Dak’s welcome back will be a good one.

Dallas wins 28-16.

Matt Holleran (2-4):

This is the most confident I’ve been about a Cowboys game in quite some time. Dallas is simply on another level than the Detroit Lions, and they are going to show it on Sunday. Dak Prescott tosses two touchdown passes in his return and Dallas rushes for over 150 yards as a team. The Cowboys defense takes the football away twice and holds the Lions under 14 points. Simply put, this is going to be a butt-kicking.

Give me the Cowboys, 27-10.

Brandon Loree (4-2):

No. 4 is back. We thank Cooper Rush for his services, but it’s time to buckle up. The Lions are coming off their bye week and will be well-rested. Their offense is the highest-scoring offense in the league, which can test the Dallas defense. Running back Deandre Swift should be healthy for the game, but it’s yet to be determined.

The Cowboys need to beat this team. If they fall to 4-3, it will start to put pressure on the team before the bye. I think they get it done in style. The offense comes back to life, and Dak Prescott throws for two touchdowns and runs for one.

Dallas wins 31-21.

Matthew Arizzi (3-3):

While I think people are overlooking this game completely, I do believe it is the Cowboys to lose. The return of Dak Prescott definitely bodes well for a stagnant offense and it’ll be his first reps with Michael Gallup this season. The Lions are coming off a bye week and before that, a horrendous loss to the Patriots. They’ll be ready and rested, not to be written off.

The Lions offense has scored in bunches this season, but the Cowboys defense should be able to do what they are accustomed to doing. Goff’s only been sacked three times through the last two games, so getting to him might be troublesome. He has, however; turned the ball over once in each of the last three games though, which should be a key to victory that was exploited during the Eagles loss: the turnover battle. If the Cowboys play clean offensive ball, they should win this game and we’ll side with Prescott and them doing such.

Cowboys 24, Lions 17.

Mike Poland (4-1):

This is a great game for Dak to return. Lions defense rank last in points allowed and last in rush yards allowed. The Cowboys offensive line should handle what the Lions defensive line offers. The Lions offense has WR St.Brown coming back from injury and RB Swift, both resting off a bye. But the Cowboys defense will want to rebound hard from last week.

Cowboys 33-20 Lions.

Brian Martin (4-2):

With Dak back I expect this to be a get right game for the Dallas Cowboys. The Detroit Lions defense is giving up 167.6 yards per game on the ground and 261 yards per game through the air. And, even if No. 4 is a little bit rusty, I fully expect Kellen Moore to open the playbook and be more aggressive offensively against the Lions porous defense.

Cowboys win, 30-13.

RJ Ochoa (3-3):

I recognize that people are a little bit down on the Cowboys after last week’s loss, but there is a really fun energy surrounding this week. It feels like the season is starting all over again what with Dak Prescott slated to return at quarterback. Two games at home before the bye, this feels like the Falcons game last year when the Cowboys re-found themselves offensively.

Give me Dallas by 20.

David Howman (4-2):

Prior to the start of the season, I picked this game as an upset win for a Lions team known for being rowdy. But then the season started and the Cowboys have proven to be much more resilient than I anticipated, while the Lions have looked much worse on defense than anyone expected them to be.

I still don’t feel comfortable in this one, and I fully expect Detroit to come out strong after having a bye week to digest their loss to the Patriots. But the Cowboys are getting Dak Prescott back with a really bad defense to welcome him. I can see this game turning into a bit of a shootout, but the Cowboys just have more talent and that tends to win out in the end, especially against these Lions.

Cowboys win, 38-30.

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