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Mailbag: The Biggest Factor Against Detroit?

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Seems to me this game Sunday is as must-win a game as it gets at this point in the season. Despite their record, I see a lot of talent on this Lions team. From what you’ve seen from Detroit, what is the biggest key or matchup to getting a win up there? Thanks.- MATTHEW K / PLANO, TX

Bryan: This game is not about the Lions but the Cowboys instead. Dallas is the more talented team across the board, but if they don’t play like it, it doesn’t matter. They can’t start slow, miss tackles and commit penalties. Focus on playing a complete game and go win it, regardless what the Lions do. 

Rob: The Lions are averaging under 100 rushing yards per game and don’t have their starter Kerryon Johnson (injured reserve). But if the Cowboys don’t stop the run they’ll be on their heels again, even if Matthew Stafford doesn’t play. Backup quarterback Jeff Driskel also has mobility, either on designed runs or scrambles. When the Cowboys have stopped the run, typically they’re in good shape.

What is your gut feeling about this team at this point in the season? Do you think they can actually put everything together to make a stretch run and make an impact in the playoffs? Or do you think they are destined to miss the playoffs?- JASON YEARY / CARY, NC

Bryan: They’re fortunate that the Eagles have had their struggles, too, or we wouldn’t be talking about the playoffs. This club has the talent to compete against anyone in the league but the problem is they haven’t on a consistent basis. What bothers me the most is they haven’t defeated anyone that’s likely to be in the playoffs, and that doesn’t bode well at all for their future going forward. 

Rob: I still believe this is a playoff team. The Philly game shows they’re capable of being a dominant team against good competition. Consistency is the key in all three phases. When they play fairly consistent in all three areas, they’re talented to enough to beat anyone in the league. That’s got to happen, though, because I don’t think the Eagles are going anywhere in this division race.

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