IRVING, Texas – Major news broke regarding the Cowboys' weekend wildcard matchup against Detroit on Monday, as the NFL announced it had suspended All-Pro defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh for the game.
Suh caused controversy during Detroit's 30-20 loss to Green Bay on Sunday – a loss which slated them to play Dallas in the postseason. After pressuring Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, Suh stepped on the quarterback's leg, which had been injured earlier in the game.
A statement released by the NFL deemed: "Suh engaged in a non-football act which placed his opponent, Rodgers, at unnecessary risk of injury – specifically the second step and push off, which could have been avoided."
Suh will appeal the suspension, and that appeal will be heard Tuesday. If the ruling is upheld, the Cowboys will have all week to prepare for a Lions defense that will be without its best player.
Not surprisingly, Cowboys coach Jason Garrett opted to maintain his inward-oriented attitude when asked about the impact of Suh's suspension.
"The biggest thing that we try to do around here is focus on ourselves," he said. "Obviously, when you prepare for a game, there is personnel you prepare for, there is scheme you get prepared for in all three phases. But the biggest thing we try to do is focus on our football team and how we can get better."
It isn't just Suh, though. Detroit looks unlikely to have its other first-round defensive tackle, as Lions coach Jim Caldwell said it looked unlikely Nick Fairley would be able to return from the knee injury that has sidelined him since Week 8.
Those are huge blows to a defense that is ranked No. 2 overall in the NFL – not to mention No. 1 against the run. The Lions are allowing just 69.3 rushing yards per game, and a league-best average of just 3.2 yards per carry.
The Cowboys' vaunted ground game is averaging more than twice that many yards per game, and they're averaging 4.7 yards per carry. If Suh's suspension is upheld, the Lions will have to rely on the trio of C.J. Mosley, Andre Fluellen and Jason Jones to help fill the void.
"We try not to get real enamored with what's going on over there," Garrett repeated. "We understand what their scheme is, we understand what their personnel strengths and weaknesses are and we try to take full advantage of those within the context of what we do, but again we try to focus on ourselves."