The Detroit Lions have a chance to clinch a playoff spot this week when they take on the Dallas Cowboys on Monday Night Football.
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The Cowboys have ridden the stunning success of their two start rookies, quarterback Dak Prescott and running back Ezekiel Elliott, to the best record in the NFC and home-field advantage clinched throughout the playoffs.
Prescott has been nothing short of a revelation for Dallas after being thrown into the starting role after Tony Romo went down with injury. He has completed 67.7% of his passes while throwing for 20 touchdowns and only four interceptions this season and was named to the Pro Bowl. Four different Dallas receivers have 500 or more receiving yards this season, led by Cole Beasley, who has stepped into a bigger role due to Dez Bryant‘s injury struggles. Elliott leads the NFL far and away with 1551 rushing yards. He has rushed for 13 touchdowns this season, averaged five yards per carry and was named to the Pro Bowl along with his quarterback.
On the other side of the ball, the Cowboys boast the NFL’s best rush defense, led by linebacker Sean Lee and his 140 tackles, which rank second in the league. Dallas’ pass defense is less formidable, ranking near the bottom of the league in interceptions and near the middle of the pack in passing yards allowed.
The Lions suffered their worst defeat of the season last week, 19-6 to the New York Giants. The Lions ground game was anemic, picking up only 56 yards on 19 carries as a team, and Matthew Stafford could not make up for it, completing 61.2% of his passes for 273 yards and an interception. Defensively, the Lions continued to bend but not break, giving up 300 yards but surrendering 20 or fewer points for the eighth consecutive game.