Dallas Cowboys: Lions’ Insider Labels Matthew Stafford Streaky


One of the great things about working at The Landry Hat, and the FanSided Sports Network, is our access to different experts and writers. Since our network has a site for every NFL team, I’d thought I’d get some insider information on the upcoming Dallas Cowboys vs. Detroit Lions wild card playoff game from “behind enemy lines”. Therefore, I present these five in-depth questions with a staff writer from our Lions’ site, SideLionReport.com, Braden Shackelford.

1. A lot has been talked about the play of quarterback Matthew Stafford this season. How would you assess it and how do you think he’ll perform on Sunday?

"BS: In one word, streaky. At times he’s looked like a top five quarterback. Other times he’s been plagued with stretches of inaccuracy. There are three factors that are to blame for his struggles: 1) a new coaching staff and in turn a new offensive philosophy 2) A first-year play caller in offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi 3) A below average injury plagued offensive line. Another huge factor that may be overlooked is that Calvin Johnson has been banged up for almost the entire season and has hardly practiced. Johnson is the best weapon in football and his impact or lack there of has been tough for the offense this year.I think for the most part this season, Stafford has done what was asked of him above all which is limit turnovers. Last season Stafford threw 19 interceptions this season 12. He’s also increased his accuracy by almost two percent. While I would describe Stafford’s play as streaky, I also think he’s done a good job overall this season given the above factors."

2. What would you say are the Lions’ biggest strength and weakness as a team?

"BS: Offensively, the Lions can exploded at any moment. Despite their inconsistencies throughout the year they have a tone of big-play ability. On defense, the Lions excel at stopping the run and creating game changing turnovers."

3. Name one unknown Lions’ player whose performance will surprise Cowboys’ fans on Sunday?

"BS: I’ll give you two. On offense, Corey Fuller, second year wide receiver can really stretch a defense. He doesn’t get a ton of snaps, but when he is on the field, you can expect him to run a deep go and for Stafford to hit him if he’s open. On defense, Tahir Whitehead, third year linebacker, has really impressed in Stephen Tulloch‘s absence."

4. Could you weighed in on the whole Ndamukong Suh situation, fair or unfair?

"BS: I’ve watched this incident numerous times and have come to the conclusion that Suh did not have intentions to step on Rodgers. Upon review he was clearly blocked into Rodgers (something that isn’t shown when looking at the play from the Suh’s bottom half). However, his excuse of “My feet were numb” was weak and almost raises more questions than the act itself. The only fault I could find in Suh’s action’s was that his second “step” on Rodgers looked a little too leisurely. I thought he definitely could have taken weight of that foot to avoid stepping on Rodgers with so much weight.Also, Stafford was stepped on in the same game by a Packers’ defensive tackle, in the calf. In fact, he was stepped on so bad that his sock was torn and his leg bled. The point in mentioning this is things like that happen every game, but the fact that Suh has the history he does paired with the status of Rodgers really escalated the situation. In the end I thought it was fair. Suh was technically a first time offender as all acts are wiped clean after 32 games from record and a fine seemed like a fair alternative to an action that was so controversial."

5. Your final score prediction for the Dallas Cowboys vs. Detroit Lions playoff matchup and why?

"BS: This is a coin flip for me. The game will come down to whichever side wins; the Lions run defense or the Cowboys rush offense and the team that turns the ball over the least. With the game being a coin flip in my eyes, I’ll pick the Lions to win, because they have the best run defense in the NFL and are out to prove it after taking a step back last week against Eddy Lacey and the Packers.Lions win 24-20"

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