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FRISCO, Texas --  The 10-5 Dallas Cowboys' final regular season home game of the 2023 season is about as loaded of a night as any this season. They host the 11-4 Detroit Lions, the NFC North champions, in prime time Saturday night with Hall of Fame head coach Jimmy Johnson finally being inducted into the team's Ring of Honor at halftime. 

The Cowboys are a perfect 7-0 at home this season and on a 15-game home winning streak overall, the longest active streak in the NFL and the second-longest in team history. The New York Jets, New England Patriots, Los Angeles Rams, New York Giants, Washington Commanders, Seattle Seahawks and Philadelphia Eagles have all entered AT&T Stadium in search of victory, but every visitor has left disappointed. The offense has been a driving force in the success, as Dallas is the first team in NFL history to score at least 30 points in each of its first seven home games of a season.  However, head coach Mike McCarthy said Tuesday the Lions will be its toughest home opponent of the year. 

"We've been able to get into a rhythm early and been able to just keep our foot on the gas," McCarthy said. "The crowds have been great. Defensively, we've played well. I think [the Detroit Lions] will be our biggest challenge of the year in my personal opinion. Some may differ as far as Philadelphia or the past games, but just based on what we've seen on video at the end of last week and yesterday, this is going to be a heck of a game. ... The reality of it is because it's the next one. I do respect what I've seen on film. I'm impressed with the program that they've built up there. Obviously it starts with (head coach) Dan (Campbell). ... I just think Dan has done a heck of a job. I think it's going to be a hell of a contest Saturday night."

At home, the Cowboys lead the NFL in scoring offense (39.9 points per game), turnover margin (+10), third-down conversion rate (53.6%), point differential (+171) and time of possession (35:11). Dallas' +171 point-differential this season is the third-highest for a team that has been outscored on the road (-4) in NFL history. The only teams that were more dominant than the 2023 Cowboys to also be outscored on the road both played just about 100 years ago: the 1924 Frankford Yellow Jackets (+217 overall point differential, -13 on the road) and the 1921 Buffalo All-Americans (+182 overall point differential, -2 on the road). 

Cowboys by location this season








PPG allowed



Point differential



Total YPG



Total YPG allowed



Turnover margin



Third-down percentage



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*Top five in NFL

Fortunately for the Cowboys, they are playing in their familiar, friendly, domed confines Saturday as they search to become the only team in the NFL to be perfect at home this season. 

"To be honest with you, in my experience in the league, it's something that's generally understood," McCarthy said of the goal to win all of the team's home games. "I learned it in Kansas City (as an offensive assistant), back in those years (1993-1998), just an incredible home team. The old adage is if you win all your home games and split on the road, you'll have a healthy seed in the playoffs. I think that's a pretty realistic goal to have because when you have a great home field advantage, and I think home field advantage is a little different than it was 30 years ago. I think the ability of no huddle, the communication and the silent count, all those things have improved much that home field advantage isn't quite what it used to be. But there are definitely benefits of it. We'd be thrilled to keep winning at home."

Here's everything you need to know about what's set to be a thrilling clash between two NFC title contenders.

How to watch 

Date: Saturday, Dec. 30 | Time: 8:15 p.m. ET
Location: AT&T Stadium (Arlington, Texas)
TV: ABC/ESPN | Stream: fubo (try for free
Follow: CBS Sports App   
Odds: Cowboys -5.5; O/U 52 (via SportsLine consensus)

When the Lions have the ball

Jahmyr Gibbs
DET • RB • #26
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Lions head coach Dan Campbell began his tenure in Detroit by saying his team was going to "kick you in the teeth, and when you punch us back, we're going to smile at you. When you knock us down, we're going to get up. On the way up, we're going to bite a kneecap off."

Offensively, Detroit has taken on its head coach's smashmouth mentality with its multi-faceted run game. Its 141.1 rushing yards per game rank as the third-most in the entire NFL, and it has the personnel to wear any opponent down. Up front, the Lions are loaded. Pro Bowl left tackle Penei Sewell is Pro Football Focus' highest-graded offensive lineman in the entire NFL (92.5 offensive grade) as well as the best run-blocking offensive lineman in the league (93.8 run-blocking grade). Pro Bowl center Frank Ragnow is PFF's highest-graded center in the league (89.0 offensive grade), while guard Graham Glasgow is the fifth-best run-blocker among offensive guards (85.5 PFF run-blocking grade).

The running backs they block for, rookie Jahmyr Gibbs -- the 12th overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft -- and veteran David Montgomery, are, in McCarthy's eyes, the best running back duo Dallas has faced in 2023. It can become the first duo in NFL history to each have 1,000 rushing yards and 10 rushing touchdowns in a season. Montgomery is up to 910 yards and 11 rush touchdowns on the year, while Gibbs has totaled 872 rushing yards and nine rushing touchdowns in 2023. The rookie, who leads the NFL in yards per carry this season (5.7), has erupted down the stretch with 10 touchdowns from scrimmage in the past nine games. Handling those two will be a challenge for a Cowboys front that is missing starting defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins for the third game in a row. 

"I think that's a fair assessment," McCarthy said Wednesday when asked if Gibbs and Montgomery are the best running back duo the team has faced this season. "I've been very impressed with the multiplicity of the run game, but also, have to be real impressed with the run blocking unit. The ability of both backs to be productive. I mean, they are over 2,000 yards (combined from scrimmage). Yeah, I would agree with that."

David Montgomery
DET • RB • #5
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Cowboys All-Pro edge rusher Micah Parsons likens them to how Dallas used to split up the usage between former running back Ezekiel Elliott and current Dallas starter Tony Pollard in years past. 

"It's similar to what we had last year with Zeke and TP where they got Montgomery to do the duos (inside runs) and put some wear and tear on the defense and then you got this electric guy Gibbs that's going to come in and do the stretches and tosses and a lot of the passing-game situations. Very similar, I'd say, to what we had last year with that 1-2 punch they have. They do a lot of dynamic things when it comes to play actions and (tight end Sam) LaPorta getting involved and things like that."

Sam LaPorta, the Lions' second-round rookie, is on pace to break former Philadelphia Eagles All-Pro tight end Keith Jackson's rookie catches record of 81 given he has 74 catches for 776 receiving yards and nine touchdowns this season. LaPorta is also just the third tight end in NFL history with over 700 yards and seven receiving touchdowns as a rookie, joining Hall of Famers Mike Ditka (1961) and John Mackey (1963). The run game with Gibbs and Montgomery sets up play-action throws for quarterback Jared Goff, whose 115.8 passer rating on play-action is the fourth-best in the NFL among qualified quarterbacks, to connect with LaPorta over the seam in the middle field of the field along with receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown, whose 106 catches are tired for the third-most in the NFL this season.

Jared Goff
DET • QB • #16
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However, they'll have to figure out an approach to slow down Parsons, who leads the league in quarterback pressures (97), quarterback pressure rate (23%) and pass rush win rate (37.6%). The battle between the Lions' stout offensive line and Parsons, defensive end Dante Fowler Jr. (19.6% quarterback pressure rate, third-best in NFL) and the Cowboys' NFL-best pass rush (46.5% quarterback pressure rate, best in NFL) could decide the outcome Saturday night. 

"The same that goes for every offensive line I go against, I'm coming," Parsons said. "I'll see you Saturday. It's going to be a great matchup. I'm always looking forward to a top matchup. The same way I did with (Eagles All-Pro right tackle) Lane (Johnson). It'll be the same thing with Penei (Sewell) and whoever else I went against this year. It's always fun and more challenging, but it's good-on-good. You always get better from it."

When the Cowboys have the ball

On the flip side, the Detroit Lions defense, which is allowing 7.6 yards per pass attempt (eighth-most in the NFL), will grapple with attempting to slow down Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott, who leads the NFL with 30 passing touchdowns, and wide receiver CeeDee Lamb, who leads the league with 109 catches, three away from breaking Michael Irvin's franchise single-season record of 111 set back in 1995

Dak Prescott this season 


Comp Pct



Pass Yards/Att



Pass YPG259.58th
Pass TD301st




Passer Rating 






On this side ball, it could come down to the health of eight-time Pro Bowl left tackle Tyron Smith. Smith, 33, is questionable for Saturday with a back injury that held him out of Week 16 against the Dolphins, but Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones said he's hopeful about Smith's prognosis entering the weekend. 

"I feel good about it," Jones said Friday on 105.3 FM The Fan in Dallas, via The Athletic. "They're feeling good about it across the board: trainers, coaches, Tyron. They're all feeling good about it."  

Prescott calls his blindside protector's presence on the field  "vital." Smith's 89.9 Pro Football Focus pass-blocking grade is the highest among all NFL offensive lineman this season among those who have played at least 100 offensive snaps. He has yet to allow a sack this season. 

"It's vital," Prescott said of Smith's importance to maintaining the timing and rhythm in the passing game. "I think you can go back and look over my eight years here. I'm probably a better player and we're probably a better offense when that guy's out there. He's a Hall of Famer, one of the best to do this and been one of the best to do this since he stepped in the league. Credit to those guys that step in, Chuma (Edoga) coming in, doing his job. But it's hard to replace a guy like that. So the confidence that he brings not only for myself but for the group is huge."

Smith would be an ideal deterrent against Lions defensive end Aidan Hutchinson, whose 87 quarterback pressures ranks as the third-most in the league behind Parsons' 97 and Nick Bosa's 88. 

"Love his tempo," McCarthy said of Hutchinson. "Obviously his length (standing at 6-foot-7, 268 pounds). Has a great, great motor and finish. Hell of a spin move. I think he's in complete command of the defense. You can see his comfort. I think that really reflects in how they move him around. You'll see him inside sometimes. He'll play both sides. Obviously a very versatile player."


For whatever reason, the Cowboys' offense looks faster on their home turf. Whether it's their ability to get a phenomenal night of sleep being in their own beds or the roar of the home crowd, Dallas always comes out firing on all cylinders at AT&T Stadium. Dallas has scored first in all seven of its home games, allowing its vaunted pass rush to pin its ears back and harass the opposing quarterback. 

Prescott and Lamb continue their dynamic level of play against a secondary that ranks in the bottom half of the NFL in multiple metrics, and Parsons and company fluster Goff just enough to get the takeaway or two required to knock off the best the NFC North division has to offer.

Score: Cowboys 35, Lions 27