There are two guys playing for the Lions that are going to be quite a handful for the Cowboys. Calvin Johnson is probably the best wide receiver in the NFL. And Ndamukong Suh is a force to be reckoned with in the middle of the defensive line for the Lions. The Cowboys don’t have a good answer for either of those guys if you try to take them on with one guy. So the Cowboys won’t try to stop these two with just one man. You can bet that Suh will be double teamed on the majority of plays throughout the game. And Calvin Johnson will surely get extra safety attention on most plays.
The good news is that the Cowboys have a few guys that will cause big problems for the Lions. Demarcus Ware has to be the biggest fear for the Lions. They will try to double him when they can but now that Rob Ryan is moving him all over the field that becomes much more difficult to do. And I have to throw in Sean Lee on the defensive side of the ball. He seems to be all over the field this year and I don’t know if there is any good way to contain him. If you try to focus too much on Lee and Ware then someone else in the defense is going to be left unblocked and make some big plays.
And on offense it is hard to stop Jason Witten and Tony Romo. It helped last week that both guys were playing with hurt ribs. But Witten seems to be feeling better this week and Romo is getting better every day. While the pressure the Lions will bring at Romo is certainly a concern you also have to remember that what makes Romo so good is that he can escape pressure and then make a big play. So, in a way, Romo will neutralize the front four of the Lions that everyone keeps talking about.
I think there are two keys to victory this week. Dez Bryant has to make plays to open up the offense and the defense has to contain Calvin Johnson. I know Dez still isn’t going to be 100% for the game but there is a noticeable difference in the way the defense plays when Dez is on the field versus when he is off the field. Opposing defenses just aren’t worried about Ogletree, Holley, and Robinson. But Dez puts fear into the defense and keeps them honest.
Notice I didn’t say that the Cowboys need to stop Calvin Johnson. That isn’t going to happen. He is just too good. What the Cowboys need to do is prevent Johnson from going crazy for 10 catches for 150 yards and 3 touchdowns. To me if they can keep him to numbers like 5 catches for 80 yards and a touchdown I would consider that a success.
It is going to take a total team effort to win this game. Last week special teams and the defense allowed the offense to have an off game. This week all three phases need to play well. I think the offense will be improved enough to allow the Cowboys to win. I predict a win for the Cowboys 26-21.