The iconic Monday Night Football is still an exclusive event for the National Football League.
The game is all by itself.
This year, it falls on an intriguing night, the day after Christmas, and has an attention-getting lineup.
The Dallas Cowboys (12-2) will the host Detroit Lions (9-5) at AT&T Stadium in front of a nationally-televised audience. Kickoff is 7:30 p.m. Stadium entrances open at 5:30 p.m.
Historically, MNF has been good to the Cowboys.
The Cowboys will be making their 78th appearance on MNF. The majority of the games were played on ABC MNF from 1970 to 2005 before moving to ESPN in 2006. Dallas is 44-33 all-time on MNF.
As for the here and now, the Lions have been dazzling the league with their fourth-quarter comebacks.
In eight of the team’s nine wins, the Lions have trailed in the fourth quarter and still won. It’s an NFL record for most wins in a season after trailing in the fourth quarter. The previous mark was seven by the 2009 Indianapolis Colts.
Oddly, the Lions did not have any players voted to the Pro Bowl this week. They had four players named as alternates in quarterback Matthew Stafford, cornerback Darius Slay, kicker Matt Prater and punter Sam Martin.
The Cowboys have clinched the NFC East title and the No. 1 seed in the playoffs. They are 12-2 for the fifth time in franchise history. The other seasons were 1968, 1977, 1983 and 2007.
“We’re focused on playing the best game we can play on Monday night,” said Cowboys coach Jason Garrett, who intimated that he will not be resting starters. “We anticipate everyone being in the same roles.”
The Cowboys have won six consecutive games at AT&T Stadium, the longest win streak in the building since it opened in 2009.
“We have the best fans in the world. The amount of support that we get from the Dallas Cowboys fans across the country and across the world is remarkable to us,” Garrett said. “They make a true impact on the game, particularly in certain situations. It really changes the game.”
Dallas had five players named to the Pro Bowl team, rookie quarterback Dak Prescott, rookie running back Ezekiel Elliott and veteran offensive linemen Tyron Smith, Travis Frederick and Zack Martin.
Elliott leads the NFL in rushing with 1,551 yards. He has gained 130 or more yards five times, tying Mike Anderson (2000) and Pro Football Hall of Famer Eric Dickerson (1983) for the most such games by a rookie in NFL history. He has had 11 games this season with at least 90 rushing yards, tying Dickerson and George Rogers (1981) for the most games with 90 or more rushing yards by a rookie in NFL history.
Prescott’s 88.9 completion percentage in last week’s win over Tampa Bay was the second-highest in a single game in NFL history with a minimum of 30 attempts. He has thrown 20 touchdowns with four interceptions.
Opp. Scoring average
Dallas Cowboys regular-season schedule
Giants 20, Cowboys 19
Cowboys 27, Redskins 23
Cowboys 31, Bears 17
Cowboys 24, 49ers 17
Cowboys 28, Bengals 14
Cowboys 30, Packers 16
Cowboys 29, Eagles 23, OT
Cowboys 35, Browns 10
Cowboys 35, Steelers 30
Cowboys 27, Ravens 17
Cowboys 31, Redskins 26
Cowboys 17, Vikings 15
NY Giants 10, Cowboys 7
Cowboys 26, Bucs 20