After falling to division rivals Philadelphia Eagles, the Dallas Cowboys return home for an early kickoff showdown with the Detroit Lions. Coming into the game 4-2, the expectations for a win are high for Dallas, especially with the return of quarterback Dak Prescott to the starting lineup.
The Cowboys had a four-game winning streak going into last Sunday that officially ended with a 26-17 loss to the Eagles. Cooper Rush turned the ball over for the first time all season as he threw three interceptions in the loss. Offensively, Dallas struggled to move the ball in the first half but got some confidence back in the third quarter. They were within three points of the Eagles before a third Rush interception doomed any chance of a comeback.
Dallas’ defense struggled to stop much of anything for the Eagles in the first half. Outside of one scoring drive in the second half, the Eagles struggled to move the ball thanks in part to Micah Parsons getting to Jalen Hurts multiple times. The Cowboys did allow 137 rushing yards as it continues to be the weak point of a close-to-elite defense.
Good news came in this week for the Cowboys as it became official that Dak Prescott was cleared to play by their medical team. Prescott practiced all week with good responses from his receivers and coaching staff. He was even removed from the Cowboys’ injury list as all signs are pointing towards Prescott starting at quarterback for the first time since week one.
Obviously, Prescott’s return as the starting quarterback is the biggest headline of the weekend for Dallas. There are other parts of the game that fans will have to watch out for in order to see the Cowboys get a win at home against a good offense in Detroit.
What To Watch Out For In Cowboys-Lions Game
Can Dak Prescott Knock The Rust Off?
The number one question will be whether Dak Prescott can go into the game and not lose a beat after missing five straight games due to the thumb injury. Prescott did not fair so well in the Cowboys’ 19-3 week one loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers throwing for 134 yards and an interception. He missed receivers when they were open and struggled to get comfortable throughout the game.
What makes Prescott different from Cooper Rush at quarterback is his mobility and what he can do with his legs. Rush is more of a pocket quarterback while Prescott can move around and make plays. Prescott is more likely to take chances down the field than Rush would and convert on them.
Playcalling has a lot to do with it also with Dallas Cowboys offensive coordinator Kellen Moore is more willing to throw the football with Prescott than Rush. It could be his knowledge of the offense, but Prescott in the lineup makes the offense more competent in throwing the football leading the Cowboys to points.
In order for Prescott to perform well for the Cowboys, he will have to lean heavily on CeeDee Lamb, Michael Gallup, and Noah Brown to make big plays in the passing game. Luckily for Prescott, Ezekiel Elliot and Tony Pollard have stepped up in his absence which will give coach Moore more confidence to run the ball. If the Cowboys can take some shots down the field and make big plays, they can catch the Lions’ weak pass defense off guard.
How Will The Cowboys’ Defense Fair Against Detroit?
In a defense that has been in the top ten in most team statistics all season, the Cowboys rush defense has been the biggest weakness of the team. Through six games, they have allowed 120.7 rush yards per game which are ranked 19th in the NFL. The bad news for them is that the Detroit offense is ranked seventh in the league in rush yards per game.
Detroit is led by De’Andre Swift and Jamal Williams in the backfield with each rushing for over 230 yards this season. The running game has opened up the passing game for quarterback Jared Goff who has thrown for 1,355 yards in five games. This is an explosive offense in Detroit that has been great outside of their last loss to the New England Patriots 29-0 before their bye week last week.
Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn will have to gameplan for an offense that can move the ball in different ways. The key is upfront and what defensive linemen like Micah Parsons and DeMarcus Lawrence can do to put pressure on Goff in the pocket. That pressure on the quarterback has led to the secondary making big plays. Trevon Diggs and Donovan Wilson highlight a secondary that held the Eagles to 155 passing yards last week.