Skip to main content

Cowboys Roundup: McCarthy on Lions: 'Biggest challenge of the year'

After clinching their first NFC North title the Detroit Lions now turn their focus towards playoff seeding, starting with a road trip to Dallas to take on the 10-5 Cowboys.

Last time out: Detroit clinched the NFC North with their 30-24 win over the Vikings. Running back Jahmyr Gibbs averaged 5.3 yards a carry for 80 yards and caught four passes for 20 yards to add to his two touchdowns. Quarterback Jared Goff found wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown 12 times for 106 yards and a touchdown. The Lions' offense moved the ball methodically, almost doubling the Vikings' time of possession, 38:22 to 21:38.

The Vikings utilized a one-dimensional attack gaining 373 yards through the air after being held to just 17 on the ground. The Lions' secondary found ways to make big plays, registering four interceptions from Kerby Joseph (2), Ifeatu Melifonwu (1) and Brian Branch (1).

Dallas was just edged out by the Dolphins last week, 22-20. Miami kicker Jason Sanders hit five field goals including a game winner. Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott went 20 of 32 for 253 yards, two touchdowns and a 107.9 passer rating. Prescott's one blemish came after he fumbled on the first possession of the game on first-and-goal. Wide receiver CeeDee Lamb was the favorite target, catching six passes for 118 yards.

The Cowboys' defense sacked Tua Tagovailoa four times and held the Dolphins to just one-for-four in the redzone. However, they were unable to create a turnover or keep Miami out of Sanders' field goal range.

Comparison: The Cowboys are a red-hot team when they play at home, as they currently hold a 15-game win-streak at AT&T stadium. The Lions are a formidable team on the road with a 6-2 record, but they will have their hands full on Saturday.

Matchups: It will be a battle at the line of scrimmage. Detroit's offensive line has been one of the best, allowing just 29 sacks and pushing the run game to 141 yards per game. They will be tasked with slowing down the talented Micah Parsons. The Dallas linebacker has 13 sacks on the season which is tied for seventh in the league. How the Lions deal with Parsons will certainly be one to watch.

In their last meeting: A 21-0 second-half performance from the Cowboys solidified their 24-6 victory. Dallas forced five turnovers - three fumbles and two interceptions - in that 2022 contest.

The overall series: The Cowboys have taken the last five games between the two teams and lead the series 18-12.

Matchup odds: Dallas is a heavy favorite according to ESPN Analytics. They are given a 70.1 percent chance to win.

View photos of the starters for the Dallas Cowboys.

Here are 5 Cowboys storylines to follow heading into Saturday's matchup:

1. McCarthy on Lions: 'Biggest challenge of the year'

Head coach Mike McCarthy previews the Week 17 contest against the Lions and opens up on the team's mindset in their return to AT&T Stadium after a two-game road skid … READ MORE

2. Dak Prescott sees opportunity to correct course before playoffs

Quarterback Dak Prescott discusses the team's frustrations after dropping the last two games but is confident the team can fix their shortcomings before the playoffs ... READ MORE

3. CeeDee not stat-focused: 'Obsessed with winning'

CeeDee Lamb is on the verge of breaking the Cowboy's all-time record for most receptions in a single season but is more focused on what it takes to win in Week 17 ... READ MORE

4. Micah on no-calls: 'There's not another rusher like me in the league'

It's been almost 10 games since Parsons attracted a holding call and the star linebacker believes the unique speed in his pass rush may be making it harder for officials to call ... READ MORE

5. Nick at Nite: These few things happen in Dallas losses

The Cowboys have lost five games this season and in those five games there are a few common themes such as a lack of rushing yards and losing the turnover battle ... READ MORE