How you feeling? Cowboys vs. Lions

October, 2, 2011
10/02/11
10:40
AM ET
As you get ready for today's game against the Detroit Lions at Cowboys Stadium, here's one reason for Dallas Cowboys fans to feel good and one reason for concern:

Feeling good: Making the Lions' offense one-dimensional

The Lions haven't run the ball well this season, but they've made up for it by using top running back Jahvid Best as a receiver out of the backfield and, in last week's case, running screens to the tight end as well. But the way Cowboys inside linebacker Sean Lee has been playing, Dallas should be able to handle the Detroit screen game and force quarterback Matthew Stafford into longer drop-backs and looks down the field. And that plays right into what the Cowboys really want to do on defense, which is get after the passer with DeMarcus Ware and deliver hits that rattle Stafford into mistakes. The Lions are still dangerous downfield with star receiver Calvin Johnson, but if the downfield passing game is all that's available to Stafford, that could benefit Dallas as the game moves along.

Cause for concern: Ndamukong Suh and the Detroit defensive front

Suh is the Lions' second-year monster at defensive tackle, and the centerpiece of what's quickly become a fearsome Detroit defensive line. That line will be keyed on getting to gimpy Dallas quarterback Tony Romo and shaking him up. The Lions can be run on -- they're allowing 113 rush yards per game and 5.0 yards per rush -- but Felix Jones is banged-up too, and if the Cowboys can't attack the middle of that defensive line with the run, they could find Romo in trouble early. Protecting Romo is a big key to success for Dallas right now, as riddled with injuries as they are on offense, and there are some strength mismatches up front with the Cowboys' offensive linemen against Suh and Co.

Dan Graziano

ESPN New York Giants reporter

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