Familiar referee to work Cowboys-Lions

For the second time this season, 12-year referee Pete Morelli will work a Cowboys game with him calling the Detroit Lions wildcard game Sunday.

Dallas had Morelli in their 20-17 overtime victory against Houston on Oct. 5 in AT&T Stadium. However, the Texans had fewer penalties than the Cowboys: 5/35 to 7/56. Since 2003, the Cowboys are 8-5 when Morelli referees their games and has had fewer penalties than their opponents 5/13 times.

Sunday will be the third time this season Detroit will have had Morelli officiate one of their games. Earlier this season, the Lions beat Atlanta 22-21 on a last-second field goal in London on Oct. 26. Two weeks ago, Detroit prevailed 16-14 over Minnesota at Ford Field. Detroit is a paltry 3-9 under Morelli and has won the penalty battle just 4/12 times.

Against his contemporaries, Morelli’s home team winning percentage was .600, tied for fifth-highest in the league. Yet in terms of home teams having fewer penalties, Morelli’s percentage was .500, tied for sixth-lowest in the NFL.

The Cowboys are a perfect 2/2 on challenges with Morelli under the hood. Their opponents are 2/4, and Replay Assistant has won 2/11 challenges with five of those decisions benefiting Dallas.

Detroit is 3/5 on challenges with Morelli and their opponents are 2/7. Replay Assistant has overturned 3/5 calls with three of those decisions benefiting the Lions.

Morelli will be officiating his 10th playoff game since 2004. Home teams have a 5-4 record and have had fewer penalties 4/9 times