Predictions: Detroit Lions at Dallas Cowboys

Detroit News

Nolan Bianchi: The Lions can set a powerful tone for the rest of their season by leaving Dallas with a win and strong defensive performance on Sunday. But whether it’s Dak Prescott or Cooper Rush at quarterback for the Cowboys this weekend, it’s just hard to see the Lions going on the road and having a better defensive showing in the game than their opponent. Detroit’s defense hasn’t shown an ability to force opposing offenses into mistakes the way Dallas’ has — not to mention, the Lions’ offense has proven to be regularly turnover-prone — and ultimately, that’s going to make the difference in this game. Pick: Cowboys, 30-20

John Niyo: Dak is back for Dallas, but the more important question is whether Detroit’s offense from the first month of the season will return. A bye week should help, and so would D’Andre Swift, obviously. But I think there’s a decent chance the Lions’ biggest strength can shorten this game. An effective rushing attack can take some of the pressure off Jared Goff, and maybe even buy him some time with play-action possibilities. Dan Quinn’s group was better against the run in its last two outings, but Dallas still ranks in the bottom half of the league in defensive run efficiency, so there’s some wiggle room here for the underdog. Pick: Cowboys, 28-24

Justin Rogers: The Lions should be a little healthier coming out of their bye, but maybe not in as good of shape as some would have hoped. The impending returns of running back D’Andre Swift and defensive lineman John Cominsky should both have a positive impact, but it’s difficult to suggest it will close the gap enough against a Cowboys team that’s playing at a high level and getting a big boost of their own with the anticipated return of quarterback Dak Prescott. Detroit’s best chance is to avoid third-and-long situations, where Dallas’ dominant pass rush can pressure quarterback Jared Goff into a back-breaking mistake. That means the Lions will have to run the ball well; a reasonable ask given they’re averaging 5.4 yards per carry coming into the contest. But defensively, it’s tough to put faith in the Lions getting enough stops to pull the upset. Pick: Cowboys 30, Lions 23

Bob Wojnowski: We’ll see if Dan Campbell and his staff dug up any answers during the bye. It won’t be easy, because the Cowboys dug up starting quarterback Dak Prescott, expected to return after missing five games because of a hand injury. The Cowboys kept winning without him, but not necessarily because of backup Cooper Rush. It’s their fearsome defense, led by Micah Parsons and DeMarcus Lawrence, which leads the league in sacks. The Lions were shut out in their last game, and this doesn’t qualify as a get-well opponent. Jared Goff has to handle the pressure, and it’ll help if receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown is back to full strength. The Lions will hang around, as they usually do, but the rejuvenated Ezekiel Elliott will blast through their weak run defense for 100-plus yards. Pick: Cowboys 28-20

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