10 QUESTIONS WITH TWENTYMAN: How do Lions stop Cowboys' rushing attack?

During the regular season Tim Twentyman will answer 10 good questions from his Twitter account @ttwentyman in a feature we call "10 Questions with Twentyman."

20man: I do not see that being the case, at least for the time being.

The Lions really like the dual attack of Johnson and LeGarrette Blount, and Matt Patricia seems to prefer a running back by committee approach over burning a rookie out on 20-25 carries a game.

Johnson and Blount each had 16 carries last week vs. New England and are separated by just one carry through three games.

I expect more of the same moving forward.

20man: That's a good observation and certainly a big part of the game plan this week.

Prescott can hurt the Lions in a couple unconventional ways. First, he and Ezekiel Elliott ran the read option very effectively against the New York Giants. He ran the ball seven times for 45 yards in that win. For whatever reason, the Cowboys didn't run as much read option last week in the loss to Seattle. I'd expect to see it this week. The Lions need to be disciplined in stopping the quarterback element of the option.

Second, Prescott has a strong arm and the ability to extend plays with his legs. That's always dangerous for a secondary when a play breaks down and the quarterback gets out of the pocket and has speedy receivers that can make big plays down the field in those scramble situations. There can be no missteps. The Lions have to be disciplined with their eyes in those situations.

20man: I believe he's the real deal, and I say that because the guy works hard and he's humble. When those two things factor into the size, speed and ability part of it, it's a good recipe for success.

Golladay really understands how to use his size and frame to his advantage, which is somewhat rare for a player as young as him. What I think defensive backs are quickly figuring out is that he's deceptively fast with those long strides. He's been able to run away from defenders.

I think Golladay has the right skillset and mindset to be a good receiver in this league for a long time.

20man: The Lions played with a lead for the first time in the second half this season. That helped the balance.

Last week was the most physically dominant performance I've seen by the offensive line since I've been covering the team starting in 2009. They dominated that line of scrimmage, not only in the run game, but also protecting the passer.

Johnson's longest run last week was 15 yards, so that 101-yard total wasn't the product of a long run. It was a number of chunk runs made possible by gaping holes at times.

The key to the Lions building off the balanced attack last week is to not fall behind on the scoreboard, and for the offensive line to continue to play the kind of physical brand of football upfront they did a week ago.

20man: It may be kind of cliché, but with a run game like Dallas' and a back like Elliott, the Lions need all 11 hands on deck on defense. It really takes a team effort on defense because one guy typically isn't going to bring him down.

The key to limiting the big runs is for the linebackers to fill the right gaps. If they don't make the tackle, at least slow Elliott down. The other big key is for the safeties to tackle well. Missed tackles or bad angles taken by Glover Quin and Quandre Diggs will lead to big runs.

More than anything, the Lions just have to do a good job of rallying to the football on defense and tackling well. Elliott is averaging 5.7 yards per rush through three games, so the Lions have their work cut out for them, for sure.

20man: We should really talk about the Lions' front seven and not just the defensive line because of how active Detroit's linebackers have been the first three weeks of the season.

Tyron Smith is one of the best left tackles in football and right guard Zack Martin is a Pro Bowler. However, Dallas is really missing All-Pro center Travis Frederick, who's been out with Guillain-Barre syndrome. Joe Looney has played well in relief, but taking an All-Pro player out of the middle of the line has a trickle-down effect in terms of the protections and getting everyone on the same page.

Prescott has been sacked 11 times, tied for fifth most in the league. The Lions' 10 sacks are the fourth most in the league.

The Lions give offenses a lot of different looks and personnel combinations. Detroit has shown they have a few linebackers who are good at rushing the quarterback.

It should be a good matchup in the trenches whether the Lions have Ziggy Ansah or not.

20man: You nailed it right on the head when you mentioned the coverage part. Some people don't understand how married the coverage and the rush are when we start to talk about sacking the quarterback.

Those two sacks on Tom Brady last week weren't because of terrific pass-rushing moves, they were hustle plays by Eli Harold staying after it when Brady had absolutely no place to throw the football and had to eat it. We saw that a couple times in San Francisco with Jimmy Garoppolo as well.

Detroit's been pretty good so far this year in the back end of their defense against the pass, and that's allowed the rush a little more time to get home. As long as that continues, the sacks should keep coming as well.

20man: Yeah, that's really been a disappointing aspect of this team through three weeks. Not only the coverage part of it, but also all the penalties negating big returns for them.

It's something special teams coordinator Joe Marciano has to figure out before it costs them a game. It certainly played a factor in the loss to San Francisco.

I don't think it's a personnel issue -- the Lions have good players on those units -- it just has to be executed better.

20man: Very different opponent this week with Dallas. It's the run game and the short passing attack the Lions have to worry about this week.

The Cowboys actually average more yards per rush play (6.0) than yards per pass play (5.7) so far this year. Dallas gets out of their comfort zone when they get behind the chains and have to push the ball down the field.

Tackling is the big key this week, both in the run game and the short passing game.

Jamal Agnew vs. Cole Beasley in the slot is also a key matchup to watch.

20man: The flair is always a popular one.

I say you go big. If the Lions win, he has to spring for tickets to an upcoming Lions game and wear a Lions jersey of your choice.

Whatever you decide to do, if you win the bet, be sure to Tweet me a photo.

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