Week In Review

WEEK IN REVIEW: Lions head to Dallas for MNF matchup

The Lions need to put their tough loss in New York behind them fast, because their next challenge is a big one: The NFC East champion Dallas Cowboys on Monday Night Football.

"I think (good teams) all go through stretches of adversity, which they have to be able to overcome," head coach Jim Caldwell said Monday. "They generally display that during the course of the year. I think our team has done that, I think our team has overcome a lot of adversity along the way.

"We have all the makings for it, but the fact of the matter is you've got to do it. That's the real key, there's no magic to it. You've got a little adversity you've got to overcome and fight back, get yourself in position to do something and it depends on how you answer."

The Lions have a chance to answer Monday night in Dallas against a Cowboys team that might be the most complete they've faced all year.

"It's going to take all we have," Caldwell said of beating the Cowboys. "Get ready for it and go down there and do a job. It's a heck of a team."

The focal point of the Cowboys' offense is rookie running back Ezekiel Elliott. Elliott leads the NFL with 1,551 yards and is almost certain to win the rushing title.

"When you talk about him being a complete back, he's very willing and really relishes the opportunity to do things without the ball in his hands," Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett said in a conference call with Detroit media.

"Urban Meyer told us that before the draft. He said, 'He's the best player I've ever coached when he doesn't have the ball in his hands.'

"I think that speaks to the team-oriented mindset that he has. I think he recognizes how good the offensive line plays and how much they help him run the football, and the same thing with the other weapons that we have on offense and how as a team everybody has a job to do on each play.

"He's willing to embrace the job, whatever that might be."

Elliott has the benefit of running behind what many would call the best offensive line in the league.

"It makes my job, I wouldn't say easy, but it makes it a lot better, just being able to have the best line in ball," Elliott said in a conference call with Detroit media. "I thank those guys every day for what they do, and I'm very appreciative of them."

The Lions know they have a tough task on their hands with Elliott and the Cowboys' offensive line, but they feel ready for it.

"We just look forward to the challenge," defensive end Kerry Hyder said. "We hear everyone saying they're the best o-line in the league, so yeah, you want to play against the best. That's why we're in the league. We're playing against the best. I know as a group we're looking forward to the challenge."

The Pro Bowl voting results are in, and the Lions are one of six NFL teams (The only with a winning record) that did not have anyone qualify.

Two Lions were named first alternates (kicker Matt Prater and punter Sam Martin), and two were named second alternates (quarterback Matthew Stafford and cornerback Darius Slay).

None of the players are worried about the voting results, they're thinking about the bigger picture.

"The obvious answer is it's not what we play for," Martin said. "We're playing for the Super Bowl and playoffs. All that stuff is nice, but it's not going to make me or break me."


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