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Lions QB Matthew Stafford wants to avoid the injury curse

Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford has NFL’s third-best passer ­rating 110.7. | Jim Mone~AP

Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford has the NFL’s third-best passer ­rating at 110.7. | Jim Mone~AP

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Updated: September 30, 2011 12:39AM

Matthew Stafford and the Lions face a moment of truth today in Dallas.

Stafford is one of the best young quarterbacks in the NFL when he’s healthy, but he hasn’t been able to stay healthy. In fact, he has never played four consecutive NFL games without getting injured.

Stafford has been Aaron Rodgers-like outstanding in his third NFL season with passer ratings of 118.9, 106.1 and 108.8 in victories over the Buccaneers (27-20), Chiefs (48-3) and Vikings (26-3). His 110.7 overall rating is third in the NFL behind Rodgers (120.9) and the Patriots’ Tom Brady (113.8). He’s averaging 326 passing yards per game and completing 66.7 percent of his passes with nine touchdowns and two interceptions. And no injuries.

So far.

Stafford will try to make it through four whole games without suffering a significant injury, but it might not be so easy.

After not getting sacked in his first two games, Stafford survived a Jared Allen/Brian Robison onslaught last week against the Vikings (five sacks).

Now he faces the Cowboys, who lead the NFL with 14 sacks, including five by the always-dangerous DeMarcus Ware.

Stafford has been injured in both of his starts against the Bears (a sack by Adewale Ogunleye in 2009; a hit by Julius Peppers in 2010). He’ll get his chance to beat them next week. But he has to get there first.

Time: Noon.

Line: Cowboys by 1.

Total: 461/2.

Records (overall/ATS): Lions 3-0/2-0-1; Cowboys 2-1/1-1-1.

Pick: Cowboys 24, Lions 13.

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