4 Detroit Lions who must be on top of their games Week 7 vs. the Dallas Cowboys
1. QB Jared Goff
Goff can make this list most any week, as a crucial component of any success the Lions have. But he went into the bye week off a real dud against the Patriots (19-for-35 for 229 yards with an interception), which has taken some shine off what he did in the first four games this season.
Quite simply, Goff has to function better under pressure than he did against New England. He hasn’t proven he can function well under pressure in terms of movement savvy during his career, so against Dallas the better functioning under duress will be rooted in pre-snap recognition and good decision-making off of that. Cowboys’ ball-hawking cornerback Trevon Diggs in particular will be waiting for any misfires in his direction from Goff.
In fluky fashion in two close games, two of Goff’s interceptions this season have been returned for touchdowns. And the Patriots returned a sack-fumble for a score in Week 5. He has to play a clean turnover game against the Cowboys, even if he faces a lot of pressure and takes a few sacks. Negative plays will be bad enough/part of the equation against a tough Dallas defense. But Goff cannot allow any negative plays to become disastrous plays with bad decisions or sloppy ball security. If he’s off-kilter and making mistakes all over the place, it could quickly become a very long day for the Lions.