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Lions vs. Cowboys preview: Dallas playing like a ‘bottom 10’ defense right now

While the Dallas Cowboys have a reputation as one of the best defenses in football, Cowboys writer RJ Ochoa believes they aren’t playing up to that standard as of late.

Dallas Cowboys v Buffalo Bills Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images

The Detroit Lions have to turn the page quickly from their NFC North championship celebration to a big primetime game in Dallas. The Cowboys may be on a two-game losing streak, but they’re undoubtedly one of the most talented teams in the NFL. And considering they’re on the verge of losing out on the division to the Philadelphia Eagles, they are far more desperate than Detroit.

On the surface, this looks like it could be a very tough matchup for Detroit. The Cowboys boast one of the best passing games in football, and Dak Prescott is in the middle of a career season. That could mean trouble for a Lions pass defense that has been largely trending in the wrong direction over the past couple of months.

But the other side of the ball could provide a solution to that. The Lions boast a top-three running game by just about every metric, and the Cowboys have shown they are beatable if you out-physical them on the ground.

In this week’s First Byte podcast, we welcomed Blogging the Boys editor in chief RJ Ochoa to break down this matchup, and he admitted the Lions running game scares him this week.

“The Cowboys, they’re a tough team, but they’re not a physical team,” Ochoa said.

“It’s just not their strong suit” he continued later. “They build themselves to be fast and play against the pass and ‘nickel is the new base’ type of thought. That leaves you vulnerable to teams who can put up a lead and control the game in that sense.”

Combine that with a pass rush that is really only defined by Micah Parsons right now, and Ochoa doesn’t believe that the Cowboys defense is playing like the top-10 unit that their season-long statistics suggest right now.

“While they are a top defense however you want to look at it from a season-long perspective, they are a bottom-10 group right now over the last month,” Ochoa said. “They can be had. They’re not getting after the quarterback as consistently.”

Later adding:

“I do not have a lot of faith in them right now is kinda where I’m at with this Cowboys defense,” Ochoa said. “I have some faith in the star power in Micah Parsons and those things holding true, but as a group, they’re really treading water right now at this moment.

Other topics on this week’s podcast, with timestamps:

  • (4:40) What has been the secret to the Cowboys’ incredible streak in home games?
  • (9:00) How is the offense different with Mike McCarthy leading it over Kellen Moore?
  • (11:45) Why are the Cowboys struggling to run the ball?
  • (14:00) CeeDee Lamb: how is he so good?
  • (16:30) TE Jake Ferguson’s breakout season
  • (20:30) Will LT Tyron Smith play, and if not, how big of a deal is it?
  • (25:00) Where on the field is Micah Parsons most dangerous
  • (27:00) Recent Cowboys defensive struggles
  • (32:00) Cowboys secondary: strengths and weaknesses
  • (34:30) Other pass rushing threats outside of Parsons
  • (36:00) PREDICTIONS!

Listen to the entire episode below, or find us on any of your podcasting platforms.

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