Josh: What do you think the Lions will be looking to do on defense to make sure that the Dallas offense won’t get rolling on Sunday? Do you think it’s possible to stop a guy like Dez Bryant?
Zac: The Lions defense starts with their ability to get to the opposing quarterback with just their front four. Kyle Vanden Bosch has been a nice addition on the edge. Corey Williams and Ndamukong Suh can dominate inside. The Lions may be without their other starting defensive end, Cliff Avril, so their depth comes into play. Turk McBride and Lawrence Jackson have done a nice job when given their opportunities. Sammie Hill rotates in at defensive tackle and has also played well.
Defensive line is the one area where the Lions actually have quality depth and it is the key to their defense. Chris Houston and Alphonso Smith have exceeded expectations but I worry about Bryant’s combination of speed and physicality. That is why it all comes down to getting in Kitna’s face and forcing bad throws.
Many people thought that Dez Bryant represented Jerry Jones’ re-do of passing on Randy Moss more than a decade ago. What is your take on that opinion and can Bryant be as good as Moss?
Josh: Well, I will say that Dez Bryant is the best rookie wide receiver since Randy Moss. He has been unbelievable for Dallas this season and he keeps getting better. He’s one of the front-runners for Offensive Rookie of the Year along with Sam Bradford. He has made his impact felt in every game whether it be on offense or special teams. He really is a special player and the Cowboys fans are ecstatic about his future.
Do I think he can be as good as Moss? In terms of production, yes, but they aren’t the same kind of receiver. Moss is a vertical guy and Bryant is a tough, physical receiver he can run through defensive backs, but he can also go deep. He is a more complete receiver than Moss. Bryant doesn’t seem to be a diva like Moss either. He has been eager to learn this season and constantly is giving his all during plays… something that Moss can’t say he does.
Bryant has definitely made a huge impact in Dallas and in Detroit you guys know a little something about impact rookies. How happy is everyone with Ndamukong Suh? His potential seems unlimited and I’m sure there is a lot of buzz around his play.
Zac: He is already a fan favorite and the Ford Field crowds look for any opportunity to yell, “SUUUUUUUH!!!!” We all knew that he wouldn’t come in and dominate the NFL like he did in the Big XII championship game last year but I don’t think anyone expected him to look this close. He out-tackled the entire Lions linebacking corps against the Eagles, he batted a ball out of the air and intercepted in against the Rams, and he scooped up a fumble and scored a touchdown against the Redskins — all this while putting together a double-digit sack pace as a rookie. Not bad at a position that usually requires a bit of seasoning before making a real impact. Yeah, we’re excited.
Alright Josh, time for game predictions. Who you got?
Josh: This game is going to say a lot about Dallas. The players are going to go out and try to prove that last week was not a fluke. Expect the defense to be fresh throughout the game since Coach P has been using a 20 player rotation. This will really work into their favor as they look to keep the Lions in check and force turnovers. Both Kitna and Williams will probably be looking to make statement games against Detroit, and as long as the Cowboys can keep that running game going like they did against the Giants it should open up the passing game even more.
I expect Dallas to make another statement and extend the Lions road game losing streak. Cowboys: 31, Lions: 17.
How do you see the game playing out?
Zac: The Lions defense is underrated, they will need to keep the Lions in the game since their running game has been so anemic. Ultimately, the Lions have too many issues for me to be able to count on them for a win. I gave them the benefit of the doubt last week going into Buffalo and they let me down. If they came out with that kind of performance for a 25th straight road loss, why would this road game end any differently? Cowboys 23, Lions 16