The Dallas Cowboys (12-4) are rolling into the playoffs after dismantling the Washington Redskins in the last game of the regular season. Tony Romo threw for 299 yards and two touchdowns. The two touchdowns were to Dez Bryant who had 99 yards on four receptions. DeMarco Murray had another 100 yard rushing performance. The Cowboys are playing with a confidence that has not been seen in “Big D” since the mid-nineties. Tony Romo finally looks ready to lead this squad deep into the playoffs.
The Detroit Lions (11-5) are coming off a crushing defeat by division rival Green Bay. In week 17, the Lions lost the chance to clinch a first round bye and the division title. Instead, the Packers led by MVP candidate Aaron Rodgers came away with the victory and a first round bye. Detroit must rebound quickly if they are going to pull off the upset in Dallas.
Cowboys Vs Lions Wild Card Weekend
Here are the odds from Betonline.ag
Lions +6.5 (-105)
Cowboys -6.5 (-115)
Cowboys: This is the defining moment for Jason Garrett as the Cowboys head coach. Dallas has not made the playoffs since 2009. The Cowboys have become accustomed to late season collapses, but this year could prove different. Dallas this season has relied on a solid ground game behind a stout offensive-line to carry them to this point. Going into the playoffs, the Cowboys opponents are going to focus on stopping the run. Dallas must not get away from the ground game. DeMarco Murray and the entire offense must protect the football. Turnover differential is always a key statistic for every game, but in the playoffs, it is even more vital. On the defensive side of the football, Dallas needs to limit the big plays. The Cowboys cannot let Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate take over the game. Dallas will need to limit Detroit’s big play potential and force them to put long drives together.
Lions: Not since the early nineties has Detroit won a playoff game. The Lion’s defense this season is fierce and with Ndominic Suh avoiding suspension, the Dallas offense will have its hands full protecting Romo from this vicious pass-rush. The Lions defense will come into the game with a lot of confidence, but the offense has struggled. Mathew Stafford has all the talent in the world and two dynamic weapons at receiver. Despite the offensive fire-power, the Lions have failed to put up big offensive numbers. Their offensive weakness has forced the defense to carry this team. Detroit has played several close games this season and, if they are to beat Dallas, they will need to win the fourth quarter. Against the Packers, the Lions could not outplay Green Bay in the final minutes and it cost them the game. Their biggest issue last week was third down conversion. Detroit was 4-11 on third downs while Green Bay was 8-13. Detroit needs to win the battle of third-downs on offense and defense.
Dallas has everything going for them going into this game. Dallas will need to set the tone early by throwing the ball down field. Last week, Dallas only ran on 3-20 first downs. Expect Dallas to avoid running into the teeth of Detroit’s defensive-line. Time of possession will be critical in this game. Dallas needs to control the clock and force Detroit to sustain itself on long offensive drives. If Detroit’s defense gets stuck on the field for too long, then Dallas will have the advantage and expect them to go to a run-heavy style. Detroit will need to stretch the field with its two receivers. The offense has struggled all season but now is the time to not hold anything back. Last week, Calvin Johnson only had 39 yards receiving. If Detroit is going to pull off the upset, then they will need multiple receivers over 100 yards receiving. This will be a close game that will come down to the fourth quarter. The Cowboys have not wilted under the pressure yet, but on the road with everything to gain, the Lions are a better bet to not choke.
Detroit Lions 30 Dallas Cowboys 28