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Ndamukong Suh, Lions have talent edge on Cowboys

Tuesday's overturn of Ndamukong Suh's suspension ensures that the Detroit Lions will be armed with the three best defenders on the field for Sunday's Wild Card round matchup at the Dallas Cowboys.

Along with reigning first-team All-Pro Suh, the Lions boast one of the NFL's premier linebackers in DeAndre Levy as well as a rising star in pass rusher Ziggy Ansah.

In addition to that trio, the safety duo of Glover Quin and James Ihedigbo has been the league's best for portions of the season.

If Detroit is bringing that much firepower on one side of the ball, a natural follow-up question is whether they have a more talented roster than the NFC East champions.

With Cowboys defensive tackle Henry Meltonout for the season and run-stuffing rookie linebacker Anthony Hitchens nursing an ankle sprain, the Lions have a major edge in the front seven as well as the secondary. Detroit's run defense ranks as the NFL's fifth best over the past 25 years, per Football Outsiders' metrics. Teryl Austin's defense also ranks ninth in opposing passer rating.

Although Dallas counters with one of the most dominant offensive lines of recent memory, NFL rushing leader DeMarco Murray isn't the explosive tackle-breaker that he was en route to breaking records in the first three months of the season.

Murray has averaged a pedestrian 3.9 yards per carry over the last five weeks after topping 4.0 in every game from Weeks 1-11.

The Cowboys still have the backfield advantage even if Joique Bell is a versatile power back and Reggie Bush has finally regained his juice over the past two weeks.

Receiver corps is a push with Calvin Johnson and Dez Bryant canceling each other out and sure-handed playmaker Golden Tate making up for Jason Witten's decisive edge at tight end.

If the above factors seem heavily skewed toward Detroit, they can be offset by shaky pass protection and a scattershot Matthew Stafford.

Stafford boasts one of the NFL's strongest arms, but has simply missed too many throws this season.

The Cowboys, on the other hand, are guided by an MVP candidate in Tony Romo who leads the league in passer rating, completion percentage and yards per attempt.

Jason Garrett's squad should be viewed as the slight favorite by dint of quarterback play, final record, late-season momentum and homefield advantage. Just don't sleep on the level of talent the Lions offer when they play to their potential.

The latest Around The NFL Podcast recaps every Week 17 game and debates the MVP race between Aaron Rodgers and J.J. Watt. Find more Around The NFL content on NFL NOW.

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