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Lions vs. Cowboys 2016, NFL picks and predictions: Dallas is the clear favorite

The Cowboys should be able to take care of business at home against Detroit.

NFL: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Dallas Cowboys Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Lions (9-5) will travel to Dallas for a Monday Night Football showdown against the Cowboys (12-2). Dallas has already clinched the first seed and a first-round bye. However, a win for Detroit would inch the team one game closer to winning the NFC North.

In Week 15, the Cowboys defeated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 26-20, in Dallas. Quarterback Dak Prescott had an efficient game. He completed 32 of 36 pass attempts for 279 yards. He got the ball out of his hands quickly and kept drives alive.

While the rookie quarterback performed well, Ezekiel Elliott is the one who stole the show. He ran for a career-high 159 yards and a touchdown. The rookie running back out of Ohio State used his speed to break off long runs, and he used his size and strength to plow over defenders to pick up tough yards.

As usual, Dallas’ offensive line created rushing lanes for Elliott and didn't allow defenders to consistently get pressure on Prescott. Elliott is first in the league in rushing yards with 1,551 yards and tied for second in rushing touchdowns with 13. Prescott has 3,418 passing yards to go along with 20 touchdowns and four interceptions.

While almost everyone has been talking about how good Dallas’ offense is, its defense is solid as well. The Cowboys only give up 18.4 points per game, and they are stingy against the run. However, Dallas’ defensive backs have a habit of surrendering big plays.

Detroit, on the other hand, is coming off of a 17-6 loss against the New York Giants in Week 15. Quarterback Matthew Stafford made some good throws, but he couldn't lead the Lions into the end zone.

Stafford threw for 273 yards and an interception. The veteran quarterback is playing with a glove on his throwing hand because of a dislocated finger. Stafford has shown in the past that he doesn't play well while wearing a glove, but you can not place all of the blame on the quarterback. Detroit only ran for 56 yards against the Giants. The Lions need more balance on offense.

Detroit’s 14th-ranked defense has been playing well this season and kept the team competitive in games.

The experts don’t think the Cowboys will have much trouble at home against the Lions. At ESPN, Dallas is a unanimous favorite while the CBS Sports panel favors the home team 7-1.

Here at SB Nation, it’s a similar story. Only Thomas George is picking the Lions in an upset.

SB Nation’s Lions vs. Cowboys picks

Game RVB Stephen White Thomas George Jeanna Thomas Adam Stites Louis Bien Joel Thorman Fooch OddsShark Computer
Game RVB Stephen White Thomas George Jeanna Thomas Adam Stites Louis Bien Joel Thorman Fooch OddsShark Computer

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