The Cowboys will look to move to 2-2 when they host the Detroit Lions on Sunday at AT&T Stadium. Here are five things to know about the Lions.
Homecoming for Stafford
The Lions coming to Dallas is always a big deal for Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford. Went to High school at Highland Park and led the Scots to a state title in 2005.
“Just a bunch of tradition,” Stafford said of the school in 2016. “The school puts out a winner every year. Coach [Randy] Allen does a heck of a job of getting those guys prepared and ready to play, and guys go out and play at a high level.
Stafford has thrown for 895 yards, six touchdowns and five interceptions through three games this season. He’s thrown for 988 yards, three touchdowns and four interceptions in three career regular season games against the Cowboys. He threw for 323 yards and one touchdown in the Lions’ 24-20 loss to the Cowboys in the 2015 playoffs. Look for Stafford to put on another show at AT&T Stadium.
Linehan’s old stomping grounds
Cowboys offensive coordinator Scott Linehan has a history with the Lions. Linehan was Detroit’s offensive coordinator from 2009-13. Under Linehan, the Lions were in the top ten in yards from 2011-13.
Linehan is under fire in Dallas — the Cowboys offense has lacked any explosiveness in the passing game and ranks No. 31 in the NFL in points. Some say it’s time for Linehan to give up play-calling duties all together.
“We’re obviously searching for some things that will help us,” Linehan said. “I think we’ve got some good stuff in this week. Maybe just a few more wrinkles to it.
“I think we need that.”
The Lions are under new leadership with head coach Matt Patricia. The former Patriots defensive coordinator took over in the offseason after spending six seasons in New England.
Patricia’s defensive background is already showing in Detroit. The Lions rank No. 7 in the NFL in total defense, but what Cowboys fans should be worried about is Detroit’s passing defense. The Lions allow the least passing yards, with just 152 per game. That does not bode well for a Cowboys offense that ranks 31st in the NFL in passing yards per game.
“As Scott is saying, just us going out there and playing and being ourselves, from the passing game, from the running game, getting comfortable with everything we’re going to do,” Prescott said Thursday.
“Hopefully, we’ll sling it around just as much as he says.
The Cowboys are coming off an ugly loss to Seattle, but the Lions are riding high after a huge win against the Patriots. Detroit avoided an 0-3 start with the 26-10 win against Patricia’s former team.
Stafford threw for 262 yards two touchdowns and one interception while Tom Brady threw for 133 yards, one touchdown and one interception. The Lions defense held the Patriots to just 209 total offensive yards.
Advantage for Cowboys?
The Cowboys hope their offense gets back on track against the Lions. What advantage could Dallas have?
They’re still figuring it out in Matt Patricia’s new scheme, but there’s a lot to like about the team’s secondary. Darius Slay is a legit star at cornerback and Quandre Diggs has really come into his own the past year or so as a versatile nickel/safety hybrid. He has a knack for big hits and big plays, but has really grown from a coverage standpoint.
The back end is tied together by Glover Quin, a cerebral, playmaking safety who has been underappreciated his entire career. He’s hit some rough patches adjusting to the new scheme, but played closer to his normal level last week against the Patriots.
As for the weakness, the team has really struggled stopping the run, especially outside the tackles. That seems problematic against the Cowboys.
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