Lions vs. Cowboys Week 11 Scouting Report: Dak Prescott challenge
It’s starting to sound like a broken record, but it’s a refrain that many teams would gladly embrace as kicking situations continue to crumble across the NFL. Matt Prater is the most reliable performer on the Lions, and he crushed another 50-plus yard field goal this past Sunday.
Prater handled kickoffs as well in last week’s loss due to punter Sam Martin‘s abdomen injury. Martin should be back to full strength this Sunday. Martin will be a free agent at season’s end, so his play bears close observation for the duration of 2019.
The Lions got off to a rocky start on special teams this season, but have rebounded nicely. So much so, that they currently rank second in the NFL in overall special teams rankings according to Football Outsiders’ advanced metrics. This is thanks in large part to Dee Virgin and Jalen Reeves-Maybin, who continue to be key contributors in the third phase, particularly on coverage units.
The Lions continue to get middling production on punt returns, though Jamal Agnew does rank fifth in kickoff return average. For the Cowboys, the return game has been forgettable this year; they rank in the bottom third in kickoff and punt return average, including dead last on kickoffs.
Kicker Brett Maher has had a polarizing season for the Cowboys, missing six of his 20 field goal attempts. He does, however, have one of the strongest legs in the NFL. This year, he became the first kicker in NFL history with three career kicks of at least 60 yards when he hit a 63-yarder against the Philadelphia Eagles last month. That kick was just a yard short of Prater’s NFL record set in 2013.