In coach Bill Parcells' third season, the Cowboys are tied with
the New York Giants for first place in the NFC East. Detroit is
tied with Minnesota for second in the NFC North, two games
Since a 2-2 start, the Cowboys have won four of their last five
games. They enter this contest seeking their first three-game
winning streak of the season.
Last Monday night, the Cowboys were thoroughly outplayed before
scoring two touchdowns 21 seconds apart late in the fourth
quarter in a rousing 21-20 victory at Philadelphia. Safety Roy
Williams provided the winning points with a 46-yard interception
return for a touchdown with 2:43 remaining.
Making his return to the starting lineup, Joey Harrington
completed 21-of-31 passes for 231 yards and three touchdowns as
the Lions posted a 29-21 victory over Arizona last week.
The third overall pick in 2002, Harrington had been relegated to
the bench by coach Steve Mariucci, who elected to go with
veteran Jeff Garcia. But with Garcia not fully recovered from a
broken leg, Harrington has started the last two games.
Lions wide receiver Roy Williams, who starred at the University
of Texas, will face the Cowboys for the first time. A native of
Odessa, Texas, Williams had seven catches for 117 yards and
three touchowns in the win over Arizona.
The Cowboys posted a 31-21 victory over the Lions here last
season. Vinny Testaverde passed for three touchdowns and ran for
another score to pace the Cowboys.
Matchup to watch: Lions wide receiver Roy Williams against right
cornerback Anthony Henry, who missed the Monday game against
Philadelphia due to injury, or Aaron Glenn.
Series: Dallas leads, 9-8.
Next week: Detroit hosts Atlanta, November 24
Dallas hosts Denver, November 24
Detroit head coach Steve Mariucci reiterated that Jeff Garcia is the starting quarterback, despite Joey Harrington's strong performance last week. However, that doesn't mean that Garcia will start this week. He is still recovering from his leg injury and Mariucci isn't expected to make a decision until later this week. Look for the Lions to come out running the ball regardless of who is under center. With its defense decimated with injuries, Detroit needs to keep the Dallas offense on the sidelines as much as possible.
The Cowboys will counter by spreading the field and attacking downfield early, in the hopes of jumping out to an early lead that forces the Lions to turn into a one-dimensional passing attack. Once it has stretched the field, Dallas will then look to control the tempo and wear down Detroit's front seven with a strong commitment to the running game.