Every week during the season, we’ll scout out the Cowboys next opponent. This week, that opponent is the Detroit Lions.
The Opponent: The Detroit Lions, aka Matt Millen is no longer here to ensure they suck.
The Line: Cowboys by 1. So, so close to being a home underdog. Instead, the Cowboys get the favorite treatment against one of the NFL's hottest clubs. Not good.
Last Game: A rousing 26-23 overtime win against Minnesota which featured the Lions coming back from a staggering 20-0 halftime deficit. You don't need me to tell you that the old Lions don't come out of a 20-0 hole. These new and improved Lions are very confident and verrrrry scary.
The Coach: Jim Schwartz, who I still think looks like Thom Yorke, minus the stupid dance moves.
The Offense: QB Matt Stafford took some brutal hits last week in the first half against Minnesota, but persevered and destroyed the Vikings' pass defense in the second half. So concerns about his fragility going into the season may have been a touch overstated. Tackle Gosder Cherilus has been benched by Schwartz in two straight games, so there are still protection issues Rob Ryan will be more than happy to exploit. If the Cowboys can't get to Stafford, he has any number of options available to him down the field, particularly WR Calvin Johnson, who came back from a quiet first half on Sunday to catch two touchdowns passes and the long bomb that sealed the deal in overtime. Johnson can out-muscle anyone for the ball at any time, so the Cowboys will have to find a way to keep Stafford from chucking it up for Megatron all game long. Perhaps by cutting Johnson's brakes or something.
The Defense: Adrian Peterson shredded this defense a week ago, but the Vikings coaching staff oddly chose to de-emphasize him in the second half, which played a huge role in Detroit's comeback. Don't expect Jason Garrett to be that dumb. He'll run the ball plenty against Detroit. THEN he'll get stupid and call for a 2-yard pass to Witten on 3rd and 9.
Key Matchup: Cherlius or Corey Hilliard vs. DeMarcus Ware. Ryan will have Ware come off that right edge a lot to take advantage of the Lions' weak spot. If he can get to Stafford often and put him on the ground, then maybe the Cowboys can stop the Lions from rolling to 4-0. It won't be easy.