Detroit @ Dallas
Vegas: DAL -3
DomModel: DAL -7.638
Recommendation: DAL -3
-DE Ziggy Ansah (shoulder) was INACTIVE week 3.
-C Travis Frederick (inactive) was INACTIVE weeks 1, 2, and 3.
-S Xavier Woods was INACTIVE weeks 1 and 2 (hamstring), but played almost every snap week 3.
-DE Randy Gregory left week 1 with a concussion and was inactive week 2. He played 27 snaps week 3.
-LB Sean Lee re-injured his hamstring and had to leave his week 3 game. He is expected to miss multiple weeks. He did not practice Wednesday (9/26).
When Detroit has the ball:
The Lions shook off their week 1 embarrassment to the Jets by making the Patriots look silly on Sunday Night Football. Rookie Kerryon Johnson rushed for 100 yards for the first time in the Lions 88 year franchise history. (I’m just kidding, Reggie Bush last did it in 2013.. plus they had that Barry Sanders guy)
Are you back from watching Barry Sanders YouTube highlights? Ok, good, let’s get back to business.
This offense just screams mediocre. Everything about it is average. Their offensive line is average, their quarterback is average, their running game is average. I’ll give them that their wide receiver trio is solid (Tate, Golladay, Jones Jr.), but overall they’re just an average offense. That’s what we should expect. Average.
Welp, it happened. Sean Lee got hurt. With Lee, the question is always a matter of when rather than if. He will be out multiple weeks with a hamstring injury. Typically whenever Lee goes out, we just get a series of these tweets:
So yeah, it’s bad. I’ve written several times that this Dallas front 7 is underrated, and I stand by that. I also think that Lee is the most important player on defense, but let’s not read too much into these splits. Almost all have sample size issues and don’t take into account opponent adjustments.
When I look at the Cowboys Leeless defense, I think the same thing as the Lions offense: mediocre. They still have DE Demarcus Larence off the edge, who was one of the best pass rushers in the league last year. DT Tyrone Crawford is also solid up front, and Xavier Woods and Jeff Heath make for a solid 1-2 punch at safety. Chidobe Awuzie is a respectable corner, and Byron Jones is enjoying a breakout year. There’s talent here even without Lee, but they have holes. Mediocre.
TL;DR Conclusion: This is an even matchup. It should be fun to watch.
When Dallas has the ball:
Even without Travis Frederick, this is still a solid offensive line. On the ground, Dak still has scrambling abilities (54 yards on 9 attempts). Plus, this guy has been raking, as expected.
Woah, is that blue steel? I’m sorry, but I wasn’t going to go a full Dallas blog without a Zeke belly button shot. I’m only human. Also, I’m not sorry.
The biggest problem for the Cowboys offense has been their receivers not getting open. That shouldn’t be surprising since they feature guys named Cole Beasley, Tavon Ausin, and Terrance Williams.
The biggest difference in this game is Detroit’s defense. Everything else is meh, but the Lions suck at defense. This year, they rank 29th in defensive DVOA and 26th in Football Outsider’s predictive DAVE rankings. They looked great against the Patriots, but gave up 48 points to the Jets week 1 and 30 to the 49ers in week 2. They haven’t covered well. They aren’t getting to the passer, and they haven’t stopped the run. Their advanced metrics suggest that they are bad in all phases, so we’re going with that.
TL:DR Conclusion: What’s ultimately happening is the market is likely overreacting to the Lions win in prime time against the Patriots. Dallas only getting 3 points at home effectively means the market sees these two teams at about even, but our model disagrees. Give me the favorite.
That’s it for now, bitches.