On Sunday night, the Lone Star State will be on full display. The Dallas Cowboys and the Houston Texans only play each other once every four seasons (not counting preseason) and the entire state shows out for it.
The Texans have plenty of star power behind DeAndre Hopkins, JJ Watt, Jadeveon Clowney, Tyrann Mathieu, and second-year Quarterback Deshaun Watson. The Cowboys, while they don’t have as much star power, have probably more quality overall players going up against Houston.
The Cowboys have had a seesaw-type year and sit at 2-2. Despite having a better record than Houston (1-3), the Cowboys are a 3.5 underdog this weekend. Even with being the "underdog," the Cowboys actually have several advantages in this matchup, advantages that could be a nightmare for Houston.
The Texans are definitely the flashier team, but the Cowboys have plenty of strength in areas that have plagued the Texans up to this point. If the Cowboys take control of where they over-match, this could be a long game for Houston.
The Houston Texans have a young offensive line which has struggled this season, despite showing an improved product compared to last season.
The Texans have given up the second most sacks this season (17) and the Cowboys have produced the third most sacks this season (14).
This should be a long night for Watson & Co.
Houston’s Struggling Secondary
For the up-and-down season the Cowboys defensive backfield has had, they are 7th against the pass. The Texans, however, are all the way down the rankings at 27th.
We all know Dallas is going to feed Zeke but Dak Prescott just came off his best game of the season against one of the NFL’s best secondaries in Detroit.
Just imagine what the team can do against the Texans?
Now that the team looks like they’ve rediscovered their identity with running the ball and opening the passing game, Dak Prescott could be in for another good game throwing the ball.
The Texans may possess a top-10 rush defense in the NFL, but it’s not that simple. Numbers may never lie, but they don’t always tell the whole truth either.
The Texans average giving up only 87 rushing yards per game away, while at home they’ve given up 114 yards in their only home game thus far. That one game was against Saquon Barkley, the best running back they’ve faced... so far.
Ezekiel Elliott is by far the best running back the Texans will face this season. Not only is he protected by one of the NFL’s elite offensive lines, but the league's leading rusher is looking to be fed even more against a struggling interior defensive line.
It’s simple: Feed. Him.
The Cowboys face a very flashy team Sunday night, but they posses the higher quality team. Even though both teams have seen their struggles this season, especially on the offensive side of the ball, they both have the skills necessary to take over a game.
If the Cowboys expect to win, they need to attack these weaknesses. They have the tools, now they need to utilize them.
Cowboys Defense Dominates in Crucial Win vs Eagles
Coming into yesterday's battle for NFC East supremacy against the Philadelphia Eagles the Dallas Cowboys defense was looking to regain some swagger. The Green Bay Packers were led by Aaron Jones who had a career day with 182 all-purpose yards and four touchdowns two weeks ago in a 34-24 beatdown of the Cowboys. Last week at Metlife Stadium, the New York Jets got a career day themselves from their former third overall pick in Sam Darnold who threw for 338 yards and two touchdowns in his return from Mononucleosis that kept him out since Week one. The Cowboys were handed their third consecutive loss 24-22 and their season was headed down the drain.
It would be paramount for the Cowboys defensive unit to set a tone and they didn't waste any time doing so. The Eagle's first possession would only last five plays as Jaylon Smith forced a fumble by Tight End Dallas Goedert that was recovered by Maliek Collins. Just two plays into their second drive, Carson Wentz was strip-sacked by All-Pro DeMarcus Lawrence inside the Eagles own 15 which was recovered by Antwaun Woods. Both turnovers led to scores for the Cowboys as they took an early 14-0 lead in the games first six minutes.
After the Eagles scored on a seven-play 87-yard drive with a little over four minutes to go in the first quarter they would only run 12 plays the rest of the first half, and the Cowboys went into the locker room with a commanding 27-7 lead.
The second half would be a continuation of the first 30 minutes of play. After an exchange of field goals in the third quarter, the Eagles were simply out of their misery early in the fourth. Wentz was intercepted by Safety Xavier Woods and he committed his second fumble of the game on the very next drive. In the end, the Cowboys whipped the Eagles from start to finish 37-10 and claimed outright first place in the NFC East.
There were several encouraging signs defensively for the Cowboys vs the Eagles. Maliek Collins matched his season total with five tackles and also recovered a fumble. Both starting defensive ends DeMarcus Lawrence and Robert Quinn each had a sack showing exactly why the Cowboys put this combo together, to terrorize quarterbacks. Cornerback Jourdan Lewis had four tackles and a sack, a great follow up to his four tackle performance with an interception a week earlier, further making his case to be the top guy at nickel corner in this defense. The old veteran Sean Lee didn't go unnoticed either as his seven tackles were tied for of the team lead. He got more snaps due to Leighton Vander Esch's early exit with a neck injury.
You expect an offense like the Eagles to make plays and score points eventually, but the Cowboys defense wasn't having any of it in this contest. In addition to giving up under 300 yards of total offense, they only allowed the Eagles to convert three third downs, go 0 for 2 in the red zone and forced four turnovers. That's a recipe for victory any Sunday.
Now, the Cowboys go into the bye week sitting on top the NFC East throne. This is the perfect time to get guys fully healthy with a clash against the New York Giants on the road awaiting them in two weeks. The Cowboys defense played with their backs to the wall and pulled out a big-time performance when they needed it the most. Consistency is what has kept them from looking like the top seven unit they were in 2018. Was this game the turning point? We shall see, but nonetheless, this showing by them was exactly what the doctor ordered.
Dallas Cowboys Good, Bad, and Ugly From Week 7 Against the Eagles
After three consecutive losses the Dallas Cowboys absolutely needed a good showing in Week 7 in a divisional game against the Philadelphia Eagles. To the surprise of probably everyone, including the Eagles, the Cowboys came out and pretty much dominated from the get-go and left with the victory.
The Dallas Cowboys now sit alone at the top of the NFC East division with the win over the Eagles. If they can hold down their current standing in the division it will not only earn them a playoff spot, but quite possibly let them have home-field advantage as well. It's a good place to sit, but not easily held onto.
Let's not beat around the bush any longer though, let's get to this week's edition of The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly. I hope you enjoy.
There's no need to beat around the bush here. I think the good from Sunday night's game for the Dallas Cowboys was their ability to get out to a fast start against the Philadelphia Eagles. Starting games slowly this year was starting to become their identity as a team, so it was good to see the Cowboys defense get two quick turnovers and the offense turn those turnovers into points.
Getting off to a fast start is a trend I hope the Dallas Cowboys are able to continue from here on out. They've got a tough schedule ahead of them, so getting out ahead of their opponents early on could be the difference in a win or loss down the road. This is a team built to control the clock through the running game and a fast start would definitely allow them to do just that.
In a game that pretty much everything went right for the Dallas Cowboys it wasn't that easy to decide what to go with in this category. That hasn't been the case the past three weeks, but what I decided to go with here is starting to become a reoccurring theme. I thought the bad from Sunday night's game for the Cowboys was all of the penalties.
The Dallas Cowboys are one of the most penalized teams in the NFL. If you've watched any of their games you shouldn't be that surprised. The refs love to let the laundry fly anytime the Cowboys take the field. More times than not Dallas is guilty, but there are also a lot of borderline calls as well. Regardless of where the fault lies the Cowboys absolutely need to clean up this area of their game.
I've said it before and I'll say it again, I absolutely hate singling out a single person for just about any reason. But, having said that, to me Left Tackle Tyron Smith was the ugly Sunday night for the Dallas Cowboys. He just didn't look like himself. I'm sure he's not 100% and is playing through at least a couple lingering injuries, but he allowed too many pressures that he typically doesn't.
Luckily, the Cowboys are fixing to enter their bye week and that should give No. 77 a little extra time to recuperate. He is absolutely detrimental to the team's success moving forward. Dallas' OL is an entirely different unit with him on the field and the entire offense benefits when they have starting five available. He's still one of the best blindside protectors in the league, but injuries are becoming a concern.
What is your good, bad, and ugly from Week 7 for the Dallas Cowboys?
DAL 37, PHI 10: Cowboys Correct Course by Crushing Eagles
The Dallas Cowboys will need plenty more games like this one to undo some of the damage from their recent three-game losing streak. But with a 37-10 rout of the division rival Philadelphia Eagles tonight, Dallas took a big step toward redemption and restoring order in their season.
The game got ugly in a hurry for the Eagles, who fumbled on their first two possessions and set the Cowboys up for touchdowns on each. Philadelphia would answer with a score on their next drive to make it 14-7, but it was all Dallas from there.
It was a joint effort from all parts of the Cowboys roster tonight. Ezekiel Elliott had 111 yards rushing and another 36 receiving, plus one touchdown on the ground. Dak Prescott threw for 239 yards and one score and ran for another touchdown.
Dallas' defense limited Philadelphia to just 283 total yards. DeMarcus Lawrence, Robert Quinn, and Jourdan Lewis each recorded sacks while Xavier Woods had a rare interception for the Cowboys secondary.
Even special teams contributed; Brett Maher nailed a 63-yard field goal to end the first half and made his two other FG attempts as well.
The Eagles were missing several key players on both sides of the ball, giving them a bit of an excuse for how lopsided this game got. But with Dallas now getting bye week rest while Philadelphia has to stay on the road in Buffalo, is this the beginning of the end for the Eagles' season?
- Amari Cooper led the receivers tonight with 106 yards on five catches. He did not appear to be hampered by any injury despite our worries earlier in the week.
- Maher's 63-yard field goal put him in the NFL record books as the only kicker to ever hit three career FGs from 60 or more.
- Prescott's 21st career rushing touchdown broke Roger Staubach's record for most all-time rushing TDs by a Cowboys quarterback.
- Some negative injury news coming out of the game; Leighton Vander Esch (neck) and Robert Quinn (ribs) both had to leave and didn't return. No word yet on severity for either, but hopefully the bye week is all they need to recover.
- Jeff Heath was also shaken up toward the end of the game but appeared to be okay on the sideline.
- No injury setbacks for any of the Cowboys' previously concerning players. Amari Cooper, Randall Cobb, Tyron Smith, and La'el Collins all made it through without incident.
- Dallas now gets a long rest with the bye week and their next game not coming until Monday, Nov. 4th, against the New York Giants. While the Cowboys are healing up, the Giants will be traveling to Detroit next Sunday.
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