Tim: Hopefully for at least some of the game. Of course that might lead to Romo coming in, playing like he was able to when he was at his best, leading the Cowboys to a huge night (and win), and then causing a QB controversy and the typical Dallas dysfunction, just in time for the playoffs. Unfortunately, the Lions wouldn’t be able to cash in on any of this. Awesome! Really though, I think they’ll play Dak and Zeke for at least half of the game. It’d be nice if they’d rest their O-line, too. That would be the real treat.
Dalton: Slay is doubtful for the game, if Green Bay loses should he play to try to clinch this week or should he save himself for Week 17?
Tim: One underrated aspect about playing on Monday night is you know how everything else played out during the week, so you can make decisions like this. I’d like to see Detroit clinch sooner rather than later, so if he can go and slow down Dez Bryant, do it. It’s a tough call, though, because I have a feeling the week 17 game is the one that will matter more.
Dalton: Is the Stafford MVP talk over after the performance he put forth in New York?
Tim: Look, people. Stafford has led many fourth quarter drives that led to wins, it’s true. Would all of those drives be as lauded if it weren’t for Matt Prater blasting deep field goals, though? No. Stafford has also thrown fewer picks this year, at least so far. That’s true as well. And we must remember that his leadership is more effective than ever, because in week one he yelled at receivers to get out of bounds. The clutch drives, decrease in interceptions and vocal leadership are all good things. I will not dispute that. In the words of the angry muppet Stephen A. Smith, though, HOWEVAH, this is not a career year for Matthew Stafford. TO be honest, it’s not even close. In 2011, when the Lions went 10-6, which could actually be a better record than they end up with this year, Stafford threw 41 touchdowns and cleared 5,000 yards. Unfortunately Drew Brees almost go to 5,500 yards and Tom Brady cleared 5,200 yards, so Stafford was an “also ran,” that year. His touchdown to interception ratio wasn’t as high that year as it looks like it will be this year (keywords: looks like - there are two games left), but those are numbers many quarterbacks have never touched, especially the 5,000-yard mark. So by my metrics, which mean two things (jack and shit), I never really thought Stafford was having a “career year” let alone a MVP-caliber season. Now, no quarterback is having a year as good as Brees, Brady or Stafford had in 2011. Looking at teams who will likely make the playoffs, Matt Ryan stands out as a frontrunner for MVP. He has more than 4,300 yards, 32 touchdowns and 7 picks as of the time of this writing. Aaron Rodgers is ahead of Stafford in yardage, too, and like Ryan, has 32 touchdowns and 7 INTs. You know that if there’s a chance to give him the MVP trophy, they’ll do it. I love Matt Stafford and will admit he’s more effective this year, but there’s no chance for MVP, especially given the recent circumstances.
Tim: I was at a family Christmas party last weekend and couldn’t watch the game. Sounded awful from what I heard on the radio. What happened? Was that indicative of who the LIons are?
Dalton: The offense was awful. Do I think it was a product of poor play calling/game plan? First, excellent questions and second, absolutely. I think it was really like every game they have played this year besides New Orleans. They were slow all game but had a chance to take the lead in the 4th. They just couldn't get it done this time.
Tim: Which one of the Cowboys standout rookies do the LIons have a better chance of shutting down? Can the Lions break through Dallas’ offensive line?
Dalton: They have a better chance of shutting down Zeke. The reason I say that is the answer to the second question. No, the Lions can’t break through that O-Line. No team has and there is literally no reason to expect a Lions’ pass rush, which has been non-existent, to be able to get after the QB. At least with the run game we can rely on our linebackers to come and stuff the run.
Tim: I’d like to hear your thoughts on the Cowboys resting starters and if the Lions play Slay. You’re more plugged in to these sorts of topics. What say you?
Dalton: That’s a unique question. I do see the Boys resting Zeke and especially Dak. Jerry Jones would love nothing more than to have Romo come out and light up the Lions. Playing Dallas once every two years and trying to figure out what Jerry Jones will do hurts my brain. I couldn’t imagine being someone that actually covers that team. As for Slay, he should play. If the Lions miss out on the NFC North title, they can still get into the playoffs via Wild Card. If they beat Dallas, then they would hold the tiebreaker over the Tampa Bay Bucs.
Tim: I always feel better about the Lions when they’re playing inside. They’ve stepped up throughout the year and I think they can do it again this week. 20-17 Detroit.
Dalton: 23-17 Dallas. This prediction really changes on the outcome of a Saturday game. If Minnesota beats Green Bay, then I think the Lions will reach deep and clinch the division on the road. But, I think that Green Bay wins and the Lions will have their sights set on Week 17.