Simulations Narrowly Favor Lions Over Cowboys

Calvin Johnson was a headache to the Cowboys in most simulations.

All of the simulations featured each week have predicted that the Lions will narrowly defeat the Cowboys at noon on Sunday. According to these simulations, the Cowboys will be able to keep the Lions’ rushing game in check but will have trouble stopping Matthew Stafford, Calvin Johnson, and the rest of the Detroit passing game.

AccuScore: Detroit 25.1, Dallas 24.9

The AccuScore predictions resulted in a Dallas win 51% of the time, but the average score favored the Lions by a couple hundredths of a point.

AccuScore is forecasting a close game with the Detroit Lions winning 49% of simulations, and the Dallas Cowboys 51% of simulations. In close games, turnover margin is especially important. The Detroit Lions commit fewer turnovers in 57% of simulations and they go on to win 64% when they take care of the ball. The Dallas Cowboys wins 71% of the simulations in which they commit fewer turnovers. Matthew Stafford is averaging 261 passing yards per sim. If he can have a great game with better than average passing yards and at least a 2 to 1 TD to INT ratio (37% chance) then he helps his team win 58%. Felix Jones is averaging 61 rushing yards per sim. If he can have a great game with better than average rushing yards and at least a 1 rushing TD (22% chance) then he helps his team win 69%.

What If Sports: Detroit 19, Dallas 18

The Lions-Cowboys game was selected as the game of the week, as Detroit won 51.7% of the games.

For the Lions, a vaunted passing attack has masked the severe limitations of their running game. While he’s hauled in 15 receptions for 182 yards and a score in the early-going, Jahvid Best has been unable to do much damage in the ground game, with a meager 2.9 average on 49 carries. If Detroit plans on concocting any postseason itinerary, this deficiency will need to be alleviated ASAP. Stafford has been impressive in spreading the pigskin around to Johnson, Best, Nate Burleson and Brandon Pettigrew, but without a dynamic offensive attack, the Lions will be unable to take the next step.

The Cowboys can relate to Detroit’s concern. Felix Jones had a breakout game against the Redskins, but the lack of an adequate backup has translated into a measly 78 yards per game in the rushing attack, which ranks 27th in the league. With Romo not at 100 percent, Dallas will need to lean on their backfield for the next few weeks.

So who wins this clash of NFC conference upstarts? According to the WhatIfSports.com award-winning simulation engine, the Lions come out on top 52.3 percent of the time by an average margin of 20-19.

Madden: Detroit 27, Dallas 24

In ESPN’s Madden simulation, Detroit came from behind to beat the Cowboys.

When the NFL schedule was first released, few were pointing to the Lions-Cowboys game as a marquee match-up. Oh what a difference three weeks can make, as this is the most anticipated game of the week for many, and according to the sim, it doesn’t disappoint. Trailing 24-20 with under two minutes left on the clock, Matthew Stafford drives the Lions downfield, then delivers a 37-yard touchdown with only 1:16 left on the clock to give Detroit the 27-24 victory.

Tecmo Super Bowl 2012: Detroit 20, Dallas 14

Ugly game for the Cowboys in Tecmo Super Bowl 2012. Dallas turned the ball over twice in the red zone but still held a 14-7 late in the game. However, Detroit tied the game at 14 before winning in overtime.