Detroit Lions at Dallas Cowboys (-8, 48.5 o/u)
Today (4:40 p.m. Eastern on FOX), the Detroit Lions will visit AT&T Stadium to face the Dallas Cowboys in the weekend’s final wild-card game.
The matchup will pit Detroit’s top-ranked run defense against the league’s leading rusher, DeMarco Murray, and a stellar Dallas offensive line. Simply put, this game will be won in the trenches.
“If you look at the numbers, they’ll tell you that they run the ball obviously as well as anybody in the league and you look at it statistically for us, we’re right up there at the top in the rankings in terms of stopping the run,” Detroit coach Jim Caldwell said. “So all in all, I think it’s going to be a real good battle.”
The presence of Detroit’s All-Pro defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh will assuredly be felt. The league initially suspended Suh for Sunday’s game after he stepped on Aaron Rodgers’ foot last week, but Suh won an appeal, making him immediately available.
“I’m just pleased with the decision and glad I have the opportunity — I can go against Dallas and help my teammates win the game,” said the Nebraska product. “I think that’s most important.”
Murray’s 1,845 rushing yards led the league by a wide margin and were good enough to set a new franchise record. Dallas’ ground game has also enabled quarterback Tony Romo to be extremely efficient through the air, especially when targeting wide receiver Dez Bryant.
Bryant and Romo hooked up for 16 touchdowns on the season, and the Cowboys will look to take advantage of Bryant’s abilities on the outside.
Of course, Detroit has its own all-world receiver in Calvin Johnson, who was one of two Lions receivers (along with Golden Tate) to reach 1,000 yards on the season. But Johnson and his own QB, Matt Stafford, did not look to be on the same page down the stretch, and they’ll need to remedy that in order to have a chance at the upset tonight.
Dallas is currently an eight-point favorite for the game, with the over/under at 48.5.
(Photo credit: Mike Morbeck (flickr) . Photo has been cropped.)