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Lions/Cowboys highlighted by several intriguing storylines

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There are plenty of intriguing talking points going into Sunday's playoff game between the Detroit Lions and Dallas Cowboys.

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

If everything had gone according to plan on Sunday, we'd currently be talking about how the Detroit Lions are NFC North champions and how they finally ended their Lambeau Field losing streak. We'd also be talking about how they have a first-round bye and are set to finally host a playoff game at Ford Field. What's more, there would be lots of intrigue about who their opponent might be in the divisional round.

Unfortunately, we're not talking about any of those things since the Lions weren't victorious in Green Bay. Instead, they now have a date with the Dallas Cowboys in the wild-card round of the playoffs, and at least from a storylines standpoint, this isn't a bad consolation prize, as noted by Daniel Jeremiah and Justin Rogers. Just look at some of the talking points that exist going into Sunday's playoff game:

Dallas coordinators face their former team - The Cowboys' passing-game coordinator is Scott Linehan, who previously served as the Lions' offensive coordinator, and their defensive coordinator is Rod Marinelli, who previously served as Detroit's head coach. Linehan in particular has to be looking forward to Sunday's matchup considering he drew a lot of criticism in his final couple of years in Detroit, and in hindsight, a lot of it was probably unwarranted given all of the struggles the Lions have had on offense this season.

Matthew Stafford faces his hometown team - As you're probably well aware by now, Stafford grew up in the Dallas area. He's had some memorable games against his hometown team (see below), and he'll have a chance for another one at AT&T Stadium on Sunday.

Comeback, Part 3? - In 2011, the Lions rallied from a 27-3 deficit on the road against Dallas to win 34-30. Calvin Johnson had two big touchdown catches in that game, including one over three defenders. Fast forward to 2013 and the Lions had another amazing comeback, this time at home. In that game, Stafford led the Lions down the field in the final minute and scored the winning touchdown on a surprise quarterback sneak. Oh, and Megatron had 14 catches for 329 yards and a touchdown in that game.

Calvin Johnson vs. Dez Bryant - Speaking of Megatron, Bryant made some headlines before that 2013 game by saying that he can do whatever Johnson can do. Bryant has certainly proven since then that he's among the NFL's top receivers, but it will be interesting to see which player has the better performance this time around on such a big stage.

Strength vs. strength - The Cowboys have the NFL's second-best run offense with an average of 147.1 yards per game, and they're led by a beastly offensive line and running back DeMarco Murray, who won the 2014 rushing title by an astounding 484 yards. The Lions, meanwhile, have the NFL's best run defense by a wide margin. On average, they allow only 69.3 yards per game on the ground, which is 10.5 yards fewer than the next-best team. This is a classic matchup of strength vs. strength.

Cowboys' home "woes" - There has been a lot of talk about how the Cowboys don't have a true home-field advantage at AT&T Stadium. For a playoff game, you have to imagine their crowd will be pretty jacked up, but it's quite interesting that the Cowboys went 8-0 on the road and only 4-4 at home this season. In that regard, Sunday's game at least kind of seems winnable for the Lions. Then again...

Life without Ndamukong Suh - Unless he wins his appeal, Suh is going to be suspended for Sunday's game, giving the Lions a glimpse of their possible future. Suh is headed for free agency after this season, and it's looking more and more likely that he won't be re-signed. With this in mind, the Lions are about to get a look at what life without Suh is like on defense.

The Lions' last playoff win - Finally, it's worth noting that the Lions' one and only playoff win since 1957 came against the Cowboys in the 1991 season. That game was at home rather than on the road, but either way, the Lions will have a chance to win another playoff game against Dallas on Sunday.