Week 11 Preview: Dallas in Detroit
The (5-4) Dallas Cowboys head into Ford Field to face the (3-5-1) Detroit Lions in what feels like a must-win game for Dallas. Dak Prescott is coming off what is possibly a top-three performance of his career. Throwing for 397 yards and three touchdowns while posting a QBR of 101.4 against what is considered one of the best defenses in the NFL. The Cowboys’ season has been one of ups and downs as they grasp to their NFC East lead with a half-game over the Philadelphia Eagles. Look for Dallas to attempt to buck the trend, as Detroit has two of their three wins against NFC East teams.
Unexpectedly, Matthew Stafford was inactive for week 10. His status this week isn’t looking promising either for Matt Patricia and the Detroit Lions. Stafford was held out of Thursday’s practice for the second consecutive day. Matt Patricia then confirmed on Friday that Matthew Stafford will not play on Sunday against Dallas. Jeff Driskel didn’t field well last week as he completed a subpar 58.6% of his throws while tossing one touchdown to one interception. While under constant pressure, the Florida product was sacked twice and took 8 quarterback hits. Watch for Dallas to blitz Demarcus Lawrence and company early and often.
These two teams couldn’t be more opposite from one another when it comes to the ground game. Not known for their rushing attack, the Lions need to lean on their ground game as the Cowboys have surrendered 100-plus rushing yards in six of their nine games. With a young duo in Ty Johnson and J.D. McKissic, the Lions picked up nearly 100 yards and averaged 3.6 YPC against a stout Bears defense in week 10.
On the opposite sideline, Dallas has one of the league’s best rushers in Ezekiel Elliott. That being said, Zeke seems to be a shell of himself this year as he ranks eighth in rushing, although he does boast a healthy 4.4 yards per carry. Look for Elliott to make his presence felt against one of the league’s most porous defenses known as the Detroit Lions.
First Quarter Woes
Dallas has struggled this year to put up points in the first quarter as opposing teams are outscoring them 55-37. Despite boasting the number one offense in the league, Dallas only averages 4.1 points in their nine games this year in the first quarter. Establishing the run will be crucial in Dallas finding their rhythm for the game and remainder of the year. With a half-game lead over the Eagles, Dallas is eager to show they are the best team in the division. The Philadelphia Eagles will take on New England at home Sunday Afternoon.
Dallas heads to the Motor City as a 3.5-point road favorite. Dak Prescott and company are 4-1 against teams that enter Week 11 with a sub-.500 record. I expect Dallas’ defense to pressure Driskel early and often. Dallas is a good team that beats up on bad opponents. Dallas’ four losses come by an average of 4.5 points to teams with a combined record of 24-14. I see Dallas coming out the gate swinging as their first-quarter play has been under fire all season long. Elliott usually doesn’t but up poor outings back-to-back, he will get his touches early and often while going over the 100-yard mark. With Zeke running the ball effectively, expect Dak Prescott and Amari Cooper to continue their sure-fire connection as Dallas runs away with this game 34-17. Watch Dallas in Detroit at 1 p.m. ET on FOX.
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