Week 17 MNF Recap

Written by: William Petersen

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Week 17 found its Monday Night Football matchup between the NFC North clinching Detroit Lions paying a visit to the Dallas Cowboys who came into this bout 7-0 at home. This MNF matchup was flexed to Saturday night due to the College Football Playoff Semifinals taking place on New Year's Day which happened to fall on a Monday this year. This primetime matchup produced nothing but fireworks as Cowboys star wide receiver CeeDee Lamb erupted for a career high 13 receptions on 17 targets for 227 yards and a 92 yard touchdown catch that capped off a career night for the Oklahoma product. With his 227 receiving yards, Lamb now has the second most receiving yards by a Dallas player since 1970. Lamb’s eye popping night was fueled by another productive home showing from Dak Prescott who finished 26/38 for 345 yards, 2 touchdowns, and an interception. The Lions gave the Cowboys a run for their money, driving 9 plays for 75 yards with less than two minutes to give the Lions a shot to go for two, to win the game but came up short after a wild sequence of events. After three attempts at the two point conversion, Dallas would catch a break after James Mitchell failed to haul in a flat route pass and the Cowboys would win 20-19 in a primetime thriller.

The Detroit Lions lost a tough primetime game after winning the NFC North for the first time in their franchise’s history just a week before. Many questions surrounded the Lions first two point conversion attempt as lineman Taylor Decker successfully caught a pass that would have given the Lions a one point lead with 23 seconds left but was called back after the refs said Decker did not report as eligible. After the game many Lions players deliberated that Decker did in fact try to report to the referees but was unsuccessful. This referee group that was in charge of this game has now been stripped of their duty to call any of the playoff games this season and this instance is one of many on a laundry list of poor NFL officiating throughout this season. Jared Goff had trouble navigating the Cowboys secondary, finishing 19/34 for 271 yards, a touchdown, and two interceptions. The Lions two headed monster of David Montgomery and Jahmyr Gibbs combined for 108 rushing yards and one touchdown from Montgomery in an effort that would not be enough for a Lions squad who has been one of the best teams on the ground all season. Amon-Ra St.Brown continues to be the WR1 of Dan Campbell’s dreams, finishing for 6 receptions for 90 yards and a late touchdown that showed how Campbell’s team will always fight until the final whistle. The Lions will probably be sitting some major starters as they have already clinched a playoff spot but will be facing a Minnesota Vikings squad that has a chance to make the playoffs if the Seahawks, Saints, and Packers all lose in week 18 and they beat the Lions in Ford Field. I expect the Vikings to give the Lions some trouble early, but even if the Lions are missing players, I do not think the Vikings with Jared Hall can beat a tough Detroit football club.

Dallas now moves to 8-0 at home on a season that is looking like one of a deep playoff run if the Cowboys can win the NFC East with a win against the Commanders on the road and an Eagles loss to the New York Giants in week 18. If both the Eagles and Cowboys win in week 18, the Cowboys will win the NFC East due to having one more conference win (9) than the Eagles (8). Dak Prescott continues to shine at home and the Cowboys continue to ride the coattails of CeeDee Lamb and his explosive offensive ability. Dallas’s playoff destiny all depends on if they can play their first game at home due to Prescott’s tendency to struggle in road playoff games. Prescott is 2-4 all time in his playoff career as the Cowboys starting quarterback and has never made it to the NFC Championship. I will not be surprised to see the Cowboys have another early playoff exit if they cannot get at least one home playoff game, but as we have seen all year, this might be a different season for a very strong Cowboys squad.