All eyes will be on Lions CB Chris Houston during the first defensive drive Sunday. Houston struggled last week and allowed two TDs, including an 82-yarder to A.J. Green on the Bengals opening drive. (Daniel Mears / Detroit News)
Keys to the game
Pressure the quarterback
The Lions are 4-0 when they sack the opposing quarterback multiple times. The Cowboys are 0-3 when Tony Romo is sacked three or more times. So if the Lions can bring Romo down a few times, they should win.
Cover, cover, cover
All eyes will be on CB Chris Houston during the first defensive drive. Houston struggled last week and allowed two TDs, including an 82-yarder to A.J. Green on the Bengals opening drive. Houston and the rest of the Lions cornerbacks will have a tough task containing Dallas WR Dez Bryant, who has 42 catches for 569 yards and six TDs.
Johnson being Megatron
Lions coach Jim Schwartz said it best when he explained Calvin Johnson was Megatron last week — nine catches for 155 yards and two TDs in the loss to the Bengals, including a 50-yard score he caught between three defenders. If Johnson plays like that, the offense should thrive.
When the Lions win the turnover battle, they’re 4-0 — 0-3 when it’s a wash or in the opponent’s favor. Cowboys QB Tony Romo has protected the ball well (five INTs, one lost fumble), but he’s proven to be turnover prone.
Healthy offensive tackles
We probably won’t know who will start at left and right tackle for the Lions, but they would certainly benefit from having both starters stay healthy. If Riley Reiff (hamstring), Jason Fox (knee) and Corey Hilliard (knee) are available, Reiff and Fox would likely start, but if two are out, rookie LaAdrian Waddle would get the nod. Behind him, though, is Barry Richardson, whom the Lions signed this week.
Know the foe
Like A.J. Green last week, Cowboys WR Dez Bryant has a case for being the second-best wideout in the NFL. Bryant has 42 catches for 569 yards and six TDs. When these teams met in 2011, Bryant had three catches for 37 yards and two TDs.
Romo’s other weapons
While WR Dez Bryant appropriately draws the most attention, third-round pick Terrance Williams has taken advantage of some openings recently. In four games since taking over the No. 2 receiver spot for the injured Miles Austin, Williams has three TDs and is averaging 80 yards. TE Jason Witten is always dangerous.
When the Cowboys lost to the Broncos Week 5, it looked like their defense would hold them back all season. The past two games, the Cowboys allowed 16 points to the Redskins and three to the Eagles. Although the Cowboys rank 29th in yards allowed, they are tied for fourth in takeaways (15) and seventh in sacks (20).
Both teams had some bad luck with injuries recently, and health will be key. The Lions desperately need a couple of offensive tackles to be healthy, and the Cowboys are holding their breath RB DeMarco Murray and DE DeMarcus Ware will be available.
The Cowboys have had at least 75 yards in penalties the past three games, and with Ford Field rocking, it’ll be hard to avoid a few false starts. The Lions have been recently disciplined of late with 65 penalty yards against the Browns being their most in four weeks.