DallasCowboys.com Staff Writers Share Gut Feeling For Cowboys-Lions Game

The Cowboys are in the playoffs for the first time in five years. That's also the last time the Cowboys had a playoff game at AT&T Stadium, which certainly will be rocking when the Lions come to town.

The Cowboys are 12-4, facing a Detroit squad that finished 11-5. The Cowboys have the NFL's leading rusher in DeMarco Murray, while the Lions have the league's best run defense, and have yet to have an opposing running back rush for over 100 yards.

There are tons of storylines for this one, ranging from Dallas-native Matthew Stafford returning home in the playoffs, former Lions coaches Rod Marinelli and Scott Linehan now calling the plays for the Cowboys, Ndamukong Suh's suspension that was overturned with his appeal and how Brandon Carr responds after struggling to stop Detroit's Calvin Johnson last season.

The stage has been set. The buildup has been intense. And now, it's time to play.

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Here are the gut feelings for staff writers Nick Eatman, Bryan Broaddus and David Helman.

Bryan Broaddus: I believe for the Cowboys to win this game on Sunday they are going to have to have offensive balance. If they become one-dimensional, I feel like they will have problems moving the ball. The Lions will do their best to limit the Cowboys from running the ball, but in the end, much like the Seattle game, they will be successful attacking the Lions on the ground. As a team, they'll be able to rush for 170 yards in a 30 -28 victory and move on to play the Green Bay Packers next week at Lambeau Field.

David Helman: The consensus opinion among fans and media is that the Cowboys are going to win this game without much fuss, and I'm just not sure I can agree. This Detroit team looks like a bad matchup for what Dallas likes to do. The Lions can stop the run, they can rush the passer and their offense has big-play threats. That's a three-part recipe for success. Having said all of that, I can't bring myself to bet against the hot streak the Cowboys have been on since December started. It's going to be tough sledding for DeMarco Murray, but I think the Cowboys can grind out a decent rushing day. I think Tony Romo is going to get sacked twice, but he'll take advantage of the Detroit secondary for several big plays – and they won't all be to Dez Bryant. Defensively, I think the Cowboys know they have to take Calvin Johnson out of this game, and they'll be able to limit him. That puts the pressure on Golden Tate and the Detroit running backs to win this game. I think they'll fall short. Cowboys win a close game – something like 28-24.

Nick Eatman: How could you pick against the Cowboys right now? I know every team in the playoffs is a good team. I know the Cowboys are lacking experience in the postseason. But the simple fact the Cowboys are the hottest team in the NFL, especially on offense, I just don't know how you can pick against that right now. The one stat that I just don't think is getting enough attention is the fact the Cowboys have scored their four highest point totals of the year – all in December. This team is averaging 41.2 points per game in the last four outings. I know Detroit is a tough defense and will be really strong against the run. But I think Tony Romo figures out how to hurt that Lions secondary and Murray will have a good game, maybe not great, but good enough. Jason Garrett said this week his favorite part about Murray is the way he gets "dirty runs" and it'll be vital he gets those types of runs this week. I really think Cole Beasley will be a huge factor. On defense, the Cowboys will continue their interception streak with two more on Matthew Stafford and the Cowboys win a game that won't be as close as the final score. I'll say Cowboys win 27-23.

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