The second NFC Wildcard game this weekend has the NFC Norths second place Detroit Lions, at 11 and 5, traveling to Arlington, Texas to take on the NFC East champion Dallas Cowboys at 12 and 4. The game should match up the two teams strengths. The Dallas Cowboys feature the NFL's second ranked ground attack behind the running of the NFL's leading running back DeMarco Murray. On the other side of the ball the Detroit Lions feature the NFL's best rushing defense which received a bit of a reprieve this week when Ndamukong Suh had his one game suspension for stepping on the Packers Aaron Rodgers reduced to a fine, allowing him to play in this weeks playoff game.
The Lions come in to this game limiting opponents to a leauge leading 69.3 yards per game on the ground. With Suh getting his get out of jail free card, Detroit's defensive front looks to be as dominant as usual but will face a tough task going up against Dallas' Murray who rushed for a Cowboys record 1,845 yards this season. Detroit's defense has also recorded a league's best 133 tackles for a loss this season. Dallas' defense is nowhere near as stout as that of the Lions but has played surprisingly well this season behind the tutelage of new defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli. Dallas' defense lacks depth and overall talent but rarely makes obvious mistakes that take them out of or cost them games.
Lions starting quarterback Matthew Stafford makes his second appearance in the playoffs but his first since 2011 where the Lions lost to the Saints. Stafford is coming off a season that saw him post the 21st best passer rating of 85.7, passing for 4,257 yards and 22 touchdowns while also throwing 12 interceptions. Cowboys starting quarterback Tony Romo is coming off of a career year in which he posted the leagues best passer rating at 113.2, passing for 3,705 yards and 34 touchdowns to only 9 interceptions. Romo will be returning to the playoffs for the first time in 5 seasons. The Cowboys are 1 and 3 in playoff games with Romo behind center.
- TV: FOX
- TIME: Sunday, January 4th, 4:40 PM EST
- LOCATION: AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas
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