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Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford (9) celebrates scoring on a 1-yard touchdown run against the Dallas Cowboys in the fourth quarter of an NFL football game in Detroit, Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013. (AP Photo/Rick Osentoski)

 

This is a big time game on Monday night football for the Detroit Lions. With the Buccaneers loss on Saturday, a Lions win in this game will clinch a wild card berth, with next week’s game against the Packers deciding the NFC North. The Cowboys are the number one seed and NFC East champions, so the question here will be how the Cowboys will play this game? You would think with still two games left in the season it is too soon for the Cowboys to shut it down.

Detroit Lions- The Lions have been a pleasant surprise this season. QB Matthew Stafford has had his best season this year, but a hand injury has seemed to hamper him the last couple of games. Can the Lions finish the season strong?

Dallas Cowboys- Another surprise team this season led by Rookies Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott and a dominating offensive line. The Cowboys have to be the Super Bowl favorite coming out of the NFC; the big question is can a team with a rookie QB and running back survive in the playoffs?

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Keys to the game

Cowboys WR Cole Beasley vs. Lions CB Asa Jackson. Darius Slay is expected to miss Monday’s game with a hamstring injury, and Nevin Lawson should draw Dez Bryant in coverage. While the Lawson-Bryant matchup appears to favor the Cowboys on paper, the real weak spot in the Lions’ defense is at the slot cornerback position, where Jackson was repeatedly burned by the Giants last week. Beasley leads the Cowboys with 68 catches and 759 yards, and he could be in for a big day against a player who was on the Baltimore Ravens’ practice squad two weeks ago.

Lions DT A’Shawn Robinson v.s Cowboys, run game. Robinson needs to win the battle with Cowboys center Travis Frederick if the Lions have any chance of containing Ezekiel Elliott.

 

PICK

I think the Cowboys are the better team, and the only way I go with the Lions here would be that the Lions need this win more than the Cowboys do. I think Stafford will have a big game, and I also believe the Cowboys offense is going to have a big game also. I will go with the Cowboys in somewhat of a shoot-out. Cowboys 30  Lions 24.