The Cowboys’ Biggest Hurdles To Overcome Against The Lions

October 20, 2022

The Dallas Cowboys are licking their wounds while they prepare to face the Detroit Lions at home for this week seven matchup. Although the Lions’ record isn’t pretty, this won’t be as easy of a match-up as it may seem on paper. 

Losing to the Philadelphia Eagles leaves a sour taste in the mouths of the Cowboys and their fanbase. The following week is always important to rebound and get back on the winning track. Now the Detroit Lions are coming down to Dallas as they are well-rested after their bye week. The expectations for the Cowboys are to dominate since the Lions are off to a rough season so far.

The good news is that Dak Prescott is planning to come back to play his first game since his injury occurred in week one. His opponent also has the worst defense in the league statistically as well. 

The bad news, well Prescott looked anything but himself the last time we saw him so to say he’ll be rusty could be an issue. This also might surprise some people, but the Lions have the second-best offense in the NFL based on total stats. 

The public can take those facts how they want but the bottom line is that this week should not be taken lightly since there are still hurdles in the way for Dallas.

The Glaring Weakness

The Cowboys have a weakness on defense and the Eagles exploited that last Sunday. The run game needs to improve dramatically. Philly ran the ball 39 times for 136 yards but only passed 25 times. Jalen Hurts only needed to throw 155 yards on 15 completions to lead his team to a win. 

This is a trend that can’t continue if the Cowboys want to get back on track to winning. The Lions have a very good tandem of running backs between D’Andre Swift and Jamaal Williams. The rushing attack for Detroit currently averages 151.4 yards per game. Swift was nursing a shoulder injury the past couple of weeks but is on track to play against Dallas. 

Expect the Cowboys to load the box in order to stop the run and challenge quarterback Jared Goff to beat the defense through the air. With a fresh arsenal for Goff between Swift, Amon-Ra St. Brown, and TJ Hockenson, this game should not be overlooked despite their poor 1-4 record.

The Anticipated Comeback 

The main storyline in this game is the return of Dak Prescott. The undoubted QB1 for the Cowboys after Cooper Rush had his worst performance as a pro against the Eagles. To Rush’s credit, he lead the Cowboys to a 4-1 record and did a good job holding down the fort while the franchise quarterback was injured. 

The last time Prescott took the field, it was a rough outing against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with a stat line of 14 completions out of 29 attempts for only 134 yards and an interception. It was Prescott’s worst showing in his entire seven-year career. In hindsight through six weeks, this was the worst game for the Cowboys and they’ve improved ever since. 

Prescott didn’t play a snap in the preseason this year, so being rusty could have been an issue in week one. Now he will be six weeks removed from in-game action and thumb surgery. Don’t be surprised to still see rust or have a modest performance from Prescott as Mike McCarthy and Kellen Moore probably won’t want him throwing too much anyways. 

With that being said about low expectations for the returning QB1, this is the perfect game to come back. On the field, as previously stated, the Lions are currently the worst defense in the NFL. According to ESPN, they are allowing a league-high average of 34.0 points and 428.6 yards per game. The Lions simply can’t stop any offenses this year. From quarterbacks Jalen Hurts to Geno Smith and Bailey Zappe, every quarterback is having success versus this defense.

Even with that information, don’t expect Prescott to have a 400-yard passing game with five touchdowns. Hopefully, the Cowboys can get the run game going against this porous Lions defense between Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard to where Prescott won’t be asked to do too much. It would be irresponsible for the Cowboys’ coaching staff to let him throw too much coming off of a serious injury to his throwing hand.