Detroit (9-5) at Dallas (12-2)
When: Monday, December 26th 2016
Where: AT&T Stadium, Arlington, TX
Time: 8:30 ET | TV: ESPN
The Dallas Cowboys will host the Detroit Lions on Monday night at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas to conclude Week 16 of the NFL season. The Cowboys clinched home field advantage throughout the playoffs without taking the field this week when the New York Giants lost to the Philadelphia Eagles on Thursday night. Now the question remains – will Dallas rest quarterback Dak Prescott to give Tony Romo some much needed action heading into the postseason. The rookie Prescott has led Dallas to a 12-0 record against teams not named the Giants, as he’s replaced the injured Romo. Fellow Rookie Ezekiel Elliott could also be in line for some rest, leading the league with 1,551 rushing yards – more than 300 ahead of runner-up DeMarco Murray. Elliott needs 258 yards rushing in the final two games to break the NFL rookie record held by Eric Dickerson (1,808) in 1983. Dallas shouldn’t have a problem stopping the Lions rushing attack as the Cowboys are tops in the league allowing just over 80 yards a game on the ground. The secondary has been an issue, ranking 28th against the pass, but linebacker Randy Gregory, back from serving two drug-related suspensions, is expected to make his season debut against Detroit.. The Cowboys will close out the season next week in Philadelphia.
As far as a NFC North Division title goes, the Lions have nothing to play for tonight, but they still have to worry about getting a Wild Card spot in case they lose next week. With Green Bay winning yesterday, the Lions and Packers are playing for the division crown next Sunday night no matter what Detroit does in Dallas. Detroit is coming off its lowest offensive output of the season in a 17-6 loss to the New York Giants last weekend, which snapped a five-game winning streak. The Lions have one of the league’s least productive ground games, ranking 30th overall at 81.7 yards per game, and could again be without leading rusher Theo Riddick (wrist), who also is third on the team with 53 receptions as well. Quarterback Matt Stafford is enjoying another fine season with 22 touchdowns to eight interceptions and has found a new favorite target since Calvin Johnson retired. Golden Tate has reeled in 79 catches this season and is just 58 yards away from his second career 1,000 yard campaign. 14-year veteran Anquan Bolden is on pace for his lowest yardage output of his career, but could reach double-digit touchdowns for only the second time as he’s becoming a great redzone target. Detroit’s defense has been great against the run (98.9 yards allowed), but cornerback Darius Slay (hamstring) could miss Monday’s game.
Detroit clearly has more on the line than Dallas, so expect them to be a lot more motivated in this one. The last three meetings between these teams have been decided by a combined nine points, with the Lions winning two of them.
Pick: Lions +6.5