The Cowboys are looking to get their offense moving after their second road loss of the season.
The Detroit Lions are looking to build on an impressive victory over defending AFC champ New England last week.
Which team will get back to .500 Sunday at AT&T Stadium? The DallasCowboys.com staff gives their gut feelings for Sunday's noon matchup between the Cowboys (1-2) and Lions (1-2):
Rob Phillips: If the Cowboys average 13.7 points over the remaining 13 games, they won't win much, plain and simple. Three games in, we can debate whether they're equipped to produce consistent offense, but I believe they're capable of more than what we've seen. They've also hurt themselves in the two losses. Drops, sacks, missed throws, fumbles, penalties – it really has been a combination of issues beyond the quarterback, the play-caller, whoever has gotten the outside blame this week. There are things that can be cleaned up, and I expect Dak Prescott and his teammates to be more efficient at home. The Cowboys need Ezekiel Elliott to keep up his rushing momentum and the defense to meet a pretty big challenge from Matt Stafford and the Lions' balanced offense. My gut says Dallas gets this one.
Bryan Broaddus: There has been plenty of focus on the Dallas offense, and rightfully so. But how well their defense plays could be the difference. This is the first game without Sean Lee, and history shows that's never a good thing. I expect this linebacker corps to hold up their end of the bargain. As a unit, this group has performed well, and that goes all the way back to the OTAs and minicamps when guys like Jaylon Smith, Joe Thomas and Justin March-Lillard were moving around the field well. They were able to add guys like Leighton Vander Esch and Chris Covington during training camp, and the extra depth improved them. The Lions are going to try and show balance with Kerryon Johnson running the ball. Johnson is a physical back and can be difficult to bring to the ground. Regardless, I see the Cowboys linebackers playing well in this game and in the games that Lee will miss in the future. This group will not be a liability. Dallas 23 -17.
David Helman: Alright, let's climb back on this roller coaster. Not much about that loss in Seattle gives cause for optimism — but I just kind of have a feeling about this game. The Lions are dead-last in the league against the run, surrendering 149 yards per game. That's got to be welcome news for the Cowboys, because running the ball is the one thing their offense has done well so far this season. On the flip side, Stafford and the Lions' offense racks up a ton of yards, but they aren't great at converting them into points. The Lions are only scoring 24.3 points per game, which is middle of the pack. The Lions are going to hit some plays, but I think the Cowboys can force them to settle for some field goals and hopefully get a takeaway or two. With Elliott grinding out yards, there should be some openings for Prescott to make some plays. Nothing crazy, but just enough to get a win. Something like 27-23.
Lindsay Draper: For three straight weeks, I've picked Dallas to win. I'm 1-2, and those losses looked lifeless. If, if, if, IF the Cowboys eliminate mental mistakes, they can easily run with the Lions on Sunday. But with one of the youngest rosters in the league, the Cowboys' shortcomings seem to reappear in different ways each game. Having the 30th overall offense (also 31st in passing, 31st in points per game) in the league, against Detroit's No. 1 pass defense, I worry about Dallas finding their rhythm. In an ugly loss in Seattle, Elliott cake walked his way to a 100-yard game. We know the passing game must unfold for this offense to click. Scott Linehan alluded to calling some different things this week. But with numbers and recurring film of Seattle in my head, I'm forced to go with a loss on Sunday.
Nick Eatman: When you look back to what this football team has been over the last few years, the Cowboys have usually hovered around that .500 mark. That being said, I see them getting back to 2-2 again. Just when you think you know how things are with a team or even the league, something happens to flip the script. So, if the Lions were 0-3 heading into the game, I might think differently. But since they beat the Patriots like they did, I see them coming down to earth. I like the Cowboys offense finally getting into a rhythm and scoring the most points of the season. I still think the defense will get a touchdown this week … let's go with Jeff Heath. But I think Zeke will have some running lanes and will get off to a good start. More wrinkles with Tavon Austin should be fun to watch and I just think the Cowboys get back in the win column with a 30-21 victory.
Mickey Spagnola: OK, here we go again. Call me stubborn, but I refuse to believe this Cowboys offense is as bad as it has been in the two losses so far this season. That offense was more like what we expected in the victory over the Giants. Even though the Cowboys scored just 20 points, at least it was a step in the right direction. At this point, we aren't sure who the Cowboys are and I'd say the same about Detroit, which at 0-2 was bound to win one soon. Just because they beat New England doesn't mean the Lions are on their way. They did lose their first two games to the Jets and Niners. Again, this Cowboys defense, minus the busted coverages of this past Sunday against Seattle for two of the Seahawks' touchdowns, will hold the Lions to a minimum amount of points so that the Cowboys scoring 23 will be enough to win.