3 things to watch for in Detroit Lions-Dallas Cowboys game

Lions may have tough time against Dalla's run game

Head coach Matt Patricia of the Detroit Lions looks on in the third quarter against the New York Jets at Ford Field on September 10, 2018 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

DALLAS, Tex. – Coming off a stunning 26-10 victory over the New England Patriots on Sunday Night Football, the Detroit Lions head southwest and will take on the Dallas Cowboys Sunday at 1 p.m.

While the Cowboys (1-2), like the Lions, have had their fair share of issues, the talent on the team is noticeable. The secondary has been strong and the running game will be their bread and butter.

Here are the matchups to watch in this game:

Ezekiel Elliott vs. Lions' rush defense

There's no denying how great a running back Ezekiel Elliott is.

He has been one of the most productive and versatile running backs in the league since his rookie season in 2016. He was the rushing leader that season (1,631 yards) and also had 32 catches for 363 yards. His production dipped a bit last season due to suspension, but he still finished top 10 in the league in rushing yards (983 rushing yards, seven touchdowns).

He will now face a Lions rushing defense that has allowed 448 rushing yards and three rushing touchdowns in three games. The Lions defense did only give up a combined 87 rushing yards on 18 carries between the Patriots' Sony Michel and James White last weekend, so there was some improvement.

But those guys aren't on the same level as Elliott. The Lions are going to be presented with the best running back they have faced so far this season. If the Lions are able to limit Elliott, they will have a good chance to win.

Will Dak Prescott throw for 200+ yards?

The reason the Lions have a good chance at winning if they limit Elliott on the ground is because the Cowboys' passing game with quarterback Dak Prescott has been bad, to say the least. 

The third-year quarterback from Mississippi State has passed for fewer than 200 yards in five straight games dating back to last year. That will happen when Cowboys owner Jerry Jones decides to let his team's best wide receiver (Dez Bryant) walk away, and when one of the greatest tight ends in NFL history (Jason Witten) retires.

The Cowboys have just one wide receiver, Cole Beasley, with more than 100 yards receiving this year. The Lions, meanwhile, have three (Marvin Jones, Golden Tate and Kenny Golladay) and nearly have a fourth (Theo Riddick, 98 receiving yards).

The Lions' secondary played a huge role in their victory over New England last weekend. If it can hold up for a second straight week, it will be a long afternoon for Prescott and the Cowboys' passing attack.

Which Matthew Stafford are we going to get?

Lions' quarterback Matthew Stafford played, arguably, the worst game of his career on Monday Night Football a few weeks back -- throwing four interceptions, completing less than 60 percent of his passes, and constantly looking confused as the New York Jets seemingly knew what was coming.

Stafford has been better since then -- throwing for three touchdowns and 347 yards against San Francisco in Week 2, and completing 75 percent of his passes for 262 yards and two touchdowns against New England in Week 3. 

You would think Stafford would continue to progress as the season wears on. But the Cowboys present a big challenge, as they own the NFL's fourth-best passing defense, giving up 183 passing yards on average per game. They have also only given up three passing touchdowns through three games. 

Even with guys like Jones, Tate and Golladay to throw to, Stafford will have his hands full throwing against a secondary consisting of players like Chidobe Awuzie and Byron Jones.