National Football League
Scoreboard|Stats|Standings|Teams|Players|Player News|Injuries|Transactions

Cowboys-Lions Preview

(AP) -- The receivers with the most touchdown catches in the NFC and the quarterbacks with the most scoring passes in the conference will meet this Sunday in Detroit.

Defensively, the Lions know they will have Ndamukong Suh, while the Dallas Cowboys are less certain of DeMarcus Ware's status.

This star-studded matchup of 4-3 teams has generated plenty of talk this week.

Detroit's Calvin Johnson and Dallas' Dez Bryant each have six TDs to lead all NFC receivers.

The Lions star caught nine passes for 155 yards and two scores in last Sunday's 27-24 loss to Cincinnati, including an amazing 50-yard tying TD grab while surrounded by three Bengals in the fourth quarter.

Bryant had eight receptions for 110 yards but did not reach the end zone in a 17-3 win at Philadelphia the same day. He made even more noise Monday in an interview with 103.3 FM ESPN in Dallas when he was asked about Johnson.

"I believe I can do whatever he can do," Bryant said. "I think it's just a pride thing. When it comes to football, just being on the field, it's a mind-set and having a mentality. I honestly believe when I'm there, I'll be feeling like there's nothing I can't do."

Lions receiver Nate Burleson didn't agree.

"Listen, I like Dez, I think he's one of the best receivers in the game right now, very talented, fast, big, strong," Burleson said. "He possesses all the tools to possibly be as good as Calvin. But he's not Calvin Johnson. No way, no how. Sorry, Dez. Keep it real."

Johnson leads the NFL with 1,689 receiving yards since Week 10 of last season, and Bryant has emerged with a league-best 16 TDs in that span.

Tony Romo and Matthew Stafford have each thrown 15 touchdowns, matching San Diego's Philip Rivers for the second-highest total in the NFL behind Peyton Manning's 25.

The only previous time these quarterbacks met came on Oct. 2, 2011, when Detroit rallied from a 24-point second-half deficit for a 34-30 victory at Dallas. The Lions scored the game's final 17 points, with Johnson catching a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns from Stafford - who completed 21 of 43 passes for 240 yards.

Bryant also had two TD catches among eight receptions for 96 yards in a game that was remembered for Romo throwing three interceptions - two that were returned for touchdowns in the third quarter to kick-start Detroit's comeback.

Romo finished 34 of 47 for 331 yards.

"There were a lot of good things in that game, obviously we didn't finish that game the way we wanted to throughout our football team, we turned the ball over on offense and that's something hopefully we can learn from," Dallas coach Jason Garrett said.

Whether Stafford and Romo will have enough time to find their favorite targets will depend on how some notably disruptive defensive stars fare.

Suh leads Detroit with 3.5 sacks, and said he is trying to stay focused before he decides whether to meet with Commissioner Roger Goodell during next week's bye to discuss the defensive tackle's discipline-filled season.

"I'm really just focusing on Dallas," he said. "I'm not really concerning myself with that, just yet, until the bye week comes."

Ware's streak of 134 consecutive games ended last Sunday due to a strained right quadriceps, but he has returned to practice this week.

Dallas running back DeMarco Murray also came back to practice this week after he missed the Eagles contest because of a sprained ligament in his left knee.

The Cowboys, who have won consecutive games for the first time this season, were happy with last Sunday's effort from rookie Joseph Randle, who ran 19 times for 65 yards in his first start.

Dallas has four rushing touchdowns over its last three games, while Detroit has none in that span. Reggie Bush is hoping to end that drought for the Lions.

"They're a good team, they're a good defense, they have some good players, DeMarcus Ware, Sean Lee, there are some good young players up front," Bush said. "So this is another good front seven we're going to face, we've got our work cut out for us."

The Lions have done an excellent job of protecting Stafford, who has been sacked nine times - with five coming in an Oct. 6 loss at Green Bay in the lone game Johnson missed due to a right knee injury.

Updated October 23, 2013

126 © 2014 by STATS LLC and Associated Press.
Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited.