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#DALvsDET: Anthony Brown vs Golden Tate a Key Matchup

Dallas Cowboys Corner Back Anthony Brown has been playing really good football this season. He’s been one of the better slot corner backs in the NFL through three weeks, but has a really tough matchup coming as the Dallas Cowboys will face the Detroit Lions and Wide Receiver Golden Tate.

Golden Tate isn’t on the same level of player as Julio Jones, AJ Green, or Antonio Brown, but he’s one of the best slot wide receivers in the NFL. Since 2014, Golden Tate ranks sixth in the NFL in receptions, ninth in receiving yards, and 27th in receiving touchdowns with 20.

The Detroit Lions have a really good wide receiver group in Tate, Marvin Jones, and Kenny Golladay, but Tate is the player that the Dallas Cowboys will need to contain in the passing game. With Marvin Jones and Golladay playing primarily on the outside, Tate has played 71% of his snaps in the slot.

Tate’s 15th in the NFL in receiving yards, with Golladay right behind him at 16th. 72% of Tate’s receiving yardage has come from the slot. In fact, his 186 slot receiving yards from the slot are third in the NFL in 2018 behind only Juju Smith-Schuster and Adam Theilen.

Golden Tate is fifth in the NFL in yards per route run out of the slot at 2.0 while receiving a 23.1% of the targets in the Detroit Lions passing game. Tate is one of the better wide receivers in the NFL, especially when you put him in the slot.

Looking across the line of scrimmage more often than not is going to be Dallas Cowboys Corner Back Anthony Brown.

Anthony Brown has had an up and down start to his career, but is in the midst of a resurgence in his third year. After playing well in 2016 as a rookie, Brown took a step back in his second season and many of us thought that the page had turned on the former sixth round pick.

With a tall — figuratively speaking, because Golden Tate isn’t a big man — task ahead of him this week, Anthony Brown has had his own success as the Dallas Cowboys slot corner back in 2018. Brown ranks fifth in slot snaps per reception, has the third lowest yards per snap allowed, and ranks eighth in the NFL in opposing quarterback rating when targeted at 78.9.

Only two players have allowed fewer receptions in slot coverage than the five that Anthony Brown has allowed; Seattle Seahawks Corner Back Justin Coleman and Arizona Cardinals All-Pro Corner Back Patrick Peterson. Brown though has been target three more times than they have and played 12 and 14 more snaps in the slot than Coleman and Peterson.

Anthony Brown has played really well this season. So well that it’s made us forget all about 2017 third round pick Jourdan Lewis who had a really nice season last year. What happens this week, however will either be Brown’s undoing or will put teams on notice that they aren’t going to be able work the slot areas with much efficiency with Anthony Brown roaming around.

What do you think?

John Williams

Written by John Williams

Dallas Cowboys optimist bringing factual, reasonable takes to Cowboys Nation and the NFL Community. I wasn't always a Cowboys fan, but I got here as quick as I could.

Make sure you check out the Inside The Cowboys Podcast featuring John Williams and other analysts following America's Team.

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