NFL Football Betting:  Detroit Lions at Dallas Cowboys&h=253&w=372&zc=1

The Detroit Lions are trying to play their way into the postseason. The Dallas Cowboys are already there–in fact, they’ve already clinched home field advantage throughout the postseason. The two teams will face off on Monday Night Football on the Cowboys’ home field. The Lions need to win next week more than this week. Here’s their situation–they’re 9-5-0 one game ahead of the Green Bay Packers at 9-6-0. The Lions will host the Packers at Ford Field next weekend in a ‘win and they’re in’ type of game. The Lions need to win this game only to improve their wild card chances. Even if they lose this game they’ll be in the same situation next weekend. Detroit lost to Green Bay at Lambeau Field earlier in the season in a game in which they outplayed the Packers but lost in overtime.

Dallas is already locked in to their playoff position and it’s a good one–at 12-2 they’ve clinched the best record in the NFC which will give them home field advantage throughout the playoffs. Not only does Dallas not need this game (or next week’s game) they have a number of options. One scenario–they might start Tony Romo here which will allow them to keep Dak Prescott healthy heading into the playoffs and to ‘showcase’ Romo in hopes they can trade him in the offseason. They’ve made clear that Prescott is the ‘quarterback of the future’ in Dallas and Romo makes too much money to keep around as a backup.

The Cowboys have a very good reason to not play Prescott or running back Ezekiel Elliott but they’ve not made clear whether they’ll play or not. Dallas also has a banged up defensive line and they might want to rest starters on that side of the ball as well. At this point, however, the game is being priced as if ‘all hands will be on deck’ for the Cowboys. That could also be the case as head coach Jason Garrett has suggested that he doesn’t want the team to lose their edge which suggests that the starters might play.

Detroit needs this game, Dallas doesn’t and has a good deal of motivation to rest their starters.