The Lions hit the road for their Week 4 battle against the Dallas Cowboys, hoping to maintain the momentum they found during a shocking upset of the New England Patriots in Week 3.
Detroit played well on both ends of the ball for the duration of their Sunday night victory. The run game was apparent, the passing game was successful, the secondary and linebackers limited passing yards from Brady and everything just seemed to mesh in the Lions’ first victory of the season.
The Cowboys possess the same 1-2 record as the Lions as we near the first quarter mark of the season. Despite recent struggles, Dallas will look to find their groove offensively behind Ezekiel Elliott and Dak Prescott.
The wide receiver and tight end groups have yet to develop into serious threats, but we’ve seen this Cowboys team play very well in the past with mostly the same roster.
Offensively, the Lions will need another strong showing from rookie running back, Kerryon Johnson. Johnson was able to become the Lions’ first 100-yard performer since Reggie Bush did so on Thanksgiving Day in 2013. Johnson possesses excellent vision and burst speed. With already one big game this season. I am sure there’s plenty more to come from such a young and talented back. His has the ability to constantly churn the legs and fight for extra yards. Plus, he showcases an impressive ability to redirect his angle to secure positive yardage.
Defensively, Eli Harold is looking very impressive early on this season. The Lions acquired Harold prior to the season from the San Francisco 49ers and he has proven himself as an elite member of the team’s new defense thus far. Against the Patriots, Harold recorded three tackles, two sacks, two tackles for a loss and two quarterback hits. Throughout his time for the Lions, Harold has five tackles and three sacks. The 24-year-old linebacker took no time at all to showcase his skills for in Matt Patricia’s defense. The Lions defense is near the top of the league in sacks and that number will continue to rise.
The Lions’ dark horse will be Marvin Jones. The speedy wideout was able to embarrass the Patriots secondary with a beautiful over the shoulder catch in the third quarter that led to a touchdown. Jones was able to burst past Gilmore and create enough separation for Stafford to make a beautiful pass. In my opinion, I believe Jones is an underestimated receiver with a lot of skill which has been shown during his time in Detroit.
The Lions have one the best pass defense in the NFL. That means that the Cowboys need a big game from running back Ezekiel Elliott. Elliott is the co-leader in the NFL in rushing yards and will potentially have a field day against the Lions. The Lions have had problems this season stopping the run and gave up back-to-back 100-yard games. The Cowboys currently have one of the best offensive lines when it comes to the stretch zone run. Elliott is a strong runner back who has consistently been a threat for the Cowboys offense.
Defensively, the Cowboys need rookie linebacker Leighton Vander Esch to make big plays against the Lions. Vander Esch recorded eight solo tackles and one tackle for loss against the Seahawks last weekend. If the Cowboys need to make plays offensively they will need the defense to apply heavy pressure on Stafford.
The Cowboys’ dark horse will have to be quarterback Dak Prescott. Prescott has yet to record a 200-yard game this season. His struggles are mostly due to having failed to develop chemistry with his wide receiver group. The offense has flashed signs of potential, though, the team is definitely hurting without Witten and Bryant. However, this Dallas team will find its offensive momentum soon enough, and when they do, look out.
Prediction: Lions 28 – Cowboys 17
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