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The forth and final Wildcard Playoff game will take place Sunday afternoon in Jerry World. The Detroit Lions are taking on the Dallas Cowboys. Dallas is projected to win, and if they do, they’ll be traveling to Green Bay next weekend. If Detroit can pull the upset, they will take on the defending Super Bowl Champions. Dallas finished the season strong, winning four in a row and six of their last seven. The team really shook the notion that they couldn’t win in December. The Lions finished the season with a loss to Green Bay that would determine the NFC North winner, but won their previous four games.

The Dallas Cowboys have had a great season and it starts with the quarterback, Tony Romo. He has arguably his best season. Romo only threw for 3,705 yards, his lowest total in four years. On the contrast, he has completed 69.9% of his passes. Not only is that the highest completion percentage of his career, it also led the league this season. The Eastern Illinois University graduate threw for 34 touchdowns this season, his highest total since 2007. To go along with those 34 TD passes, he’s thrown 9 interceptions, which is his lowest total in four seasons. The biggest reason Romo has been successful this season is because he no longer has to carry the offense entirely on his shoulders. 

 

Matthew Stafford was the first overall pick in the 2009 NFL Draft from the University of Georgia. He has shown a ton of potential but has never lived up to it. Stafford has had a mediocre season, even for him, but this is his opportunity. He threw for 4,257 yards, his lowest total since 2010. Stafford also attempted and completed his fewest passes since 2010. The Lions just have not called on Matthew Stafford as much as they have in the past.

 

The biggest difference between this Cowboys team and the past couple of seasons is very simple: DeMarco Murray. He led the NFL in rushing this season accumulating 1,845 yards. It was one of the most spectacular seasons by a running back in recent years. He also rushed for a league high 13 touchdown. Murray topped 100 yards 12 times this season. It will be very interesting to see if Murray is still able to rush with such ease against the best run defense in the league.
Detroit’s defense is giving up a measly 69 yards per game. The only time the Lions have allowed a running back to exceed 100 running yards was last week against the Green Bay Packers. Lions’ defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh will play a huge role in the game. He is one of the best run stoppers in the league. Detroit is very lucky that Suh’s suspension was overturned because Murray would’ve run all over the field if Suh weren’t playing.

 

This matchup is intriguing at the wide receiver position. Two of the best receivers will be on the field in Dallas. Cowboys’ star wide out Dez Bryant has had a great season. He totaled 1,320 yards on 88 receptions. Bryant has caught 16 touchdown passes, more than any other player in the league. He cannot be guarded by just a cornerback; the Lions will need to figure out a way to get extra help to stop him.


On the other hand, Detroit has one of the best wide receiving cores in the league. Calvin Johnson has been considered the best receiver in the league for a couple seasons now. Johnson’s season has been riddled with injuries but that hasn’t stopped him. Calvin Johnson surpassed 1,000 receiving yards for the fifth straight season. Since multiple defenders need to cover him, it leaves Golden Tate III open. Tate is in the midst of his best season. He exceeded 1,000 yards receiving for the first time in his career. He finished 7th in the league with 1,331 yards. Tate will need to have a big game for Detroit to even stand a chance. 

My prediction: Tony Romo will have a good game, throwing for 250 yards and 3 touchdowns. Murray will be held under 100 yards, but will score a touchdown. Matthew Stafford will throw for over 300 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. Dez Bryant will have two touchdowns. Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate will each have a touchdown reception as well with Johnson exceeding 100 receiving yards. The final score will be 34-20.

Football