Megatron hopes to make an impact this week in Dallas
It’s a great week to be a Detroit sports fan. Not only are the Lions unbeaten (yes, the Lions), but the Tigers begin their quest for a World Series title tonight in New York. The city of Detroit is buzzing, and will continue to do so through this weekend, a weekend where the Lions will beat the Cowboys and the Tigers will do the same to the Yankees.
There is no hotter team in the NFL right now than the Lions, and this Sunday they travel to Dallas to try and extend their winning streak to four games. Last week, it took 23 second half points and three more in overtime for the Lions to complete a thrilling comeback win in Minnesota. A week of practice has come and gone, but the Lions will arrive in Dallas with some of the same momentum that filled the Metrodome during their 20 point comeback.
Now the team travels to Cowboy Stadium to face their toughest challenge yet: a 2-1 Cowboys team that has turned it around after their well-documented week one collapse. Since then, the ‘Boys have recorded two straight wins, and quarterback Tony Romo has redeemed himself. Romo heard the critics loud and clear after he and the Cowboys blew a 14 point fourth quarter lead against the Jets, but he has rebounded remarkably. The Jets game has been forgotten now that Romo has led his squad to an overtime win in San Francisco and a tough, come from behind win against the Redskins.
The wins have not come easy for Romo, who fractured a rib and punctured a lung during the San Francisco game. He has been able to play through the injury, but don’t think that defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham hasn’t taken note of a hobbled Romo. The Cowboys quarterback was visibly in pain last Sunday, and you can bet that the Lions will bring lots of pressure to try and get inside Romo’s head. I hear having a punctured lung and Ndamukong Suh in your face creates errant throws, and Cunningham knows it.
The defensive game plan will be aggressive, and the offensive game plan should match. With cornerback Orlando Scandrick out, offensive coordinator Scott Linehan will look to exploit that through the air with Calvin Johnson and emerging star Titus Young. In a game that could quickly become a shootout, expect the Lions to exploit a suspect Dallas secondary which is allowing over 220 yards per game through the air, and they have not faced a quarterback nearly as explosive as Matthew Stafford.
Stafford has been nothing shy of spectacular this year, amassing 978 passing yards and nine touchdown passes through three games. The hottest NFL quarterback is a huge reason why the Lions have fared as well as they have so far. Watch for the Lions to air it out early and often, and put the game in the hands of their playmaking quarterback.
No doubt, this game will provide 60 minutes of entertainment. Points could pile up quick for both teams, as both offenses can strike quickly. The difference maker this week will be injuries, and the Lions are the healthy squad. The injuries are piling up for the Cowboys, who will be without wide receiver Miles Austin on top of the injuries to Scandrick and Romo. The Lions, on the other hand, will travel to Dallas healthy and with something to prove: they go into the game a 1.5 point underdog. Jim Schwartz will tell his players that, and they will be fired up and ready to play Sunday.
Keep your eyes on Dallas this week- Calvin Johnson will earn his nickname with an appearance or two on the biggest Megatron ever built.