Here are five things to watch while the Detroit Lions take on the Dallas Cowboys. They aren’t necessarily keys to the game but they should help tell the story as we watch it unfold.
1. Tony Romo’s Face
The quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys is hurt, have you heard? Only if you’re a football fan and you’re breathing. Romo was visibly wincing during their Monday Night Football game against the Redskins as they put him on the turf a number of times. The Redskins dialed up the blitzes to get to Romo, something the Lions typically don’t do. Romo was able to avoid a number of sacks and make plays down the field against the blitzing pressure but the Lions will look to bring the pressure while keeping some extra bodies in the defensive backfield. The Lions will be in for a good day if they make Romo wince during the play and frown after it.
2. The First Quarter
The way the Lions started the game at Tampa was impressive while the start to the game in Minnesota was anything but. The first quarter should tell us a lot about how the rest of the game will go. I really don’t want to have to hope for another complete turnaround after halftime. I’m looking for the Lions offense to come out aggressive and prepared to deal with the rush of DeMarcus Ware.
The NFL is a touchdowns league but the Cowboys managed to win on six field goals a week ago. That might work against Rex Grossman but it won’t work against the Lions offense. That being said, the Lions need to make sure they punch their chances into the end zone rather than settling for three. This game has a chance to be one of the higher scoring games of the week if the offenses start finding the end zone. Holding and opponent to a field goal might be considered a win for the defense.
4. Catches by Running Backs
With both defenses looking to bring pressure, watch for each offense to get the ball in their running backs hands through the swing and screen passes. The Lions found some success with that in the second half against the Vikings and the Cowboys could cause some trouble if they can get Felix Jones in the open field.
5. Calvin Johnson
For the simple fact that he is a lot of fun to watch and it is obvious that Matthew Stafford starts looking for him whenever a touchdown pass is a possibility. He has two touchdown grabs in each of the first three games, can he make it four? And if so, how will Cris Carter denigrate the accomplishment?