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Lions vs. Cowboys bold prediction: Bye week gives life to defensive line

Detroit Lions v Indianapolis Colts Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images

The Detroit Lions started off the season strong, contending with one of the best teams in the league in the Eagles and dominating the Commanders. Although the defense was far from great, they looked better than expected (and better than the scoreboard would indicate), in large part thanks to the defensive line. They were dominant through the first two weeks and that helped mask the many deficiencies of this team’s secondary.

Then the injury bug struck, as it always does. Aidan Hutchinson suffered a thigh injury that left him looking like a shell of his dominant Week 2 performance, and John Cominsky suffered a wrist injury against the Commanders that has sidelined him since.

The performance since then has been like night and day. The defense has gone from subpar to very, very bad—currently on track to be historically bad. The biggest difference has been the defensive line, which has been moved off the line of scrimmage with ease since the Minnesota game and has done little to help this team. As a result, teams have had their way with the Lions on the ground, while Lions defensive backs have had to cover for longer through the air. It hasn’t been pretty, but will that finally change?

Bold prediction of the week: Rejuvenated defensive line finishes with 3+ sacks on the day

Three sacks against a Dallas Cowboys offensive line is nothing to smirk at, both on the side of Dallas and on the side of Detroit. The Cowboys boast one of the better offensive lines in the league, and making Dak Prescott uncomfortable in his first game back from injury is going to be a major key to success in this game.

On the Lions’ side, three sacks would be monumental considering they’ve only posted seven sacks this season, and five of those came against the Commanders. Four of them were accounted for by Aidan Hutchinson and John Cominsky, both of whom are trending upwards heading into Sunday. Hutchinson wasn’t listed on the injury report Saturday, and having him back at full health would be a huge win. John Cominsky has still been limited by his wrist and is questionable for Sunday, but having him back on the field would be a huge boost.

Cominsky proved through the preseason and first two weeks that he can slide all around the defensive line and is quite agile in pass rush despite being one of the Lions’ larger linemen. He’s a crucial part of the defense’s “NASCAR” package for third-and-long situations, and being better in those circumstances would be a huge step towards getting this defense turned around.

It’s definitely worth noting that Charles Harris, another one of this team’s best pass-rushers, is out Sunday with a groin injury. That makes Cominsky’s potential return even more important, otherwise Sunday could quickly take a wrong turn for the Lions defense. But let’s not forget that Lions second-round pick Josh Paschal is primed to make his NFL debut after being taken off the PUP list on Saturday.

It all starts with getting on the field, though, and hopefully the bye week has brought enough rest and recovery for the Lions defensive line to turn things around Sunday.

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