The Cowboys Report

Cowboys beat the Seahawks; Rams up next

Zeke Elliot keeps rolling. Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images

The Dallas Cowboys (11-6) won their first playoff game since 2014 when they defeated the Seattle Seahawks (10-7) by the score of 24-22 on Saturday night. Don't let the score fool you; the game wasn't as close as the score indicates. Dallas played their best game since late November when they beat the No. 1 seed New Orleans Saints.

The Cowboys were prepared and played great on both sides of the ball. The Dallas offense got the ball first and drove down the field to take a three point lead on their opening possession. The coaching staff called great plays and they got the ball to their best players early and often. The defense was swarming around the ball all game and caused Seattle to go three and out on their first three possessions. They didn't allow Seattle to score until midway through the second quarter and only allowed 11 first downs the entire game.

Quarterback Dak Prescott was 22 of 33 for 226 yards, one touchdown, and one interception. He was able to utilize his running skills and scored the game sealing touchdown on a 1 yard run with a little over two minutes left in the game that put the Cowboys up 24-14. He ended up with six carries for 29 yards and was only sacked once. He completed passes to eight different players and got the ball to super star receiver Amari Cooper 7 times for 106 yards.

Pro Bowl running Ezekiel Elliott touched the ball 30 times and surprise surprise, it led to a Cowboys' victory. He carried the ball 26 times for 137 yards and one touchdown; he also caught four passes for 32 yards. It's no secret that he is the main factor on whether Dallas wins or loses and he needs to get the ball as much as possible.

On the defensive side, stud linebackers Leighton Vander Esch and Jaylon Smith combined for 17 total tackles, nine were solo (Esch 6, Smith 3). They clamped down on the Seattle running game and held them to 73 yards total. Their leading rusher was held to 29 yards and it wasn't their starting RB. They forced the Seahawks to beat them through the air and they couldn't get it done.

The Cowboys will now be heading to Los Angeles to play the No. 2 seed Rams this weekend. If they win, they could possibly host the next game if the Philadelphia Eagles are able to pull off another upset against the New Orleans Saints.

3 Players to Watch

1.Ezekiel Elliott (running back): Will be going against the 23rd ranked rushing defense in the league and should be able to take full advantage of this matchup. Zeke should get another 30 touches and I can see him going for over 150 yards against the Rams.

2.Leighton Vander Esch (linebacker): Is going to need to have another big game as he will be going against super star running back Todd Gurley and the No. 3 rushing offense in the league. The Rams also have the No. 5 passing offense in the league and he will probably have to cover Gurley when he comes out of the backfield.

3.Dak Prescott (quarterback): Will be going against the NFL's leader in sacks (Aaron Donald with 20.5) and is going to have to make good decisions while not turning the ball over. If he can do that, he might be able to get the ball down field to playmakers Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup as the Rams are the No. 14 passing defense and are No. 25 in passing touchdowns allowed. Hopefully he can take advantage on some play action plays while the defense keys on Zeke.

The Dallas Cowboys (11-6) will be playing the Los Angeles Rams (13-3) on Saturday at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles, California. Kickoff is set for 7:15 Central time. Dallas will be looking to advance to their first conference championship game since 1996. If they continue to get the ball to their athletes on good play calls, they should have a real good chance at beating the Rams.

For you gamblers out there, the Cowboys are +7 and the over/under is 49.5.The Cowboys are not as good on the road as they are at home but I think the play is Dallas at any number 7 or higher and I think the under is a good play as well.

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Houston has lost seven of eight

Mariners ride big fifth inning to series win over Astros

Jake Odorizzi earned his second loss as an Astro Sunday. Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images.

With the losing streak behind them by taking the middle game on Saturday night, the Astros returned to T-Mobile Park on Sunday afternoon to try and make it back-to-back victories to take the series. Instead, they'd suffer their seventh loss in the last eight games.

Final Score: Mariners 7, Astros 2

Astros' Record: 7-8, fourth in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Ljay Newsome (1-0)

Losing Pitcher: Jake Odorizzi (0-2)

Odorizzi locks in through four while Houston grabs a lead

Jake Odorizzi did not start his afternoon the way he needed to in order to have a good rebound outing compared to his first start. In the 37-pitch first inning, he issued two walks and an RBI-single, putting the Mariners at a significant advantage early. Odorizzi flipped the switch, though, finding a rhythm to retire the next ten batters after that RBI-single to get through four innings with just one run allowed.

Offensively for Houston, they quickly responded to Seattle's run in the first with one of their own in the top of the second, capitalizing on some shoddy defense by Seattle to get Carlos Correa to second to set up an RBI ground-rule double by Aledmys Diaz, tying things up 1-1. It stayed that way until the top of the fifth when a leadoff walk by Chas McCormick would turn into a run after a stolen base and two sacrifice flys to give Houston a 2-1 lead.

Mariners explode for four in the fifth

The lead was short-lived, as Seattle would explode in the bottom of the fifth, getting a leadoff single and one-out walk to set up a two-RBI triple by Mitch Haniger to go ahead 3-2. That would prompt Dusty Baker out of the dugout to end Odorizzi's day and move on to Brooks Raley. Raley would not fare any better, giving up a two-run homer to Ty France to extend Seattle's new lead to 5-2. He would finish the inning, putting Odorizzi's line final: 4.1 IP, 3 H, 4 ER, 3 BB, 7 K, 89 P.

Seattle takes the series

Seattle would strike again in the bottom of the seventh against Joe Smith. After a leadoff walk, the Mariners would get back-to-back one-out RBI-doubles to extend their lead to 7-2. After Smith in the seventh, Peter Solomon would make his major-league debut in the bottom of the eighth and work around a one-out walk for a scoreless inning. Houston would then come up empty in the top of the ninth, dropping the finale and the series to Seattle.

Up Next: The Astros will travel to Denver tonight and get an off day tomorrow. Tuesday night, they'll start a quick two-game set with the Rockies at 7:40 PM Central. Houston currently has Lance McCullers Jr. (1-1, 5.27 ERA) penciled in as their starter, but with ongoing illness, he has not yet been fully confirmed. For the Rockies, Jon Gray (1-1, 2.87 ERA) is expected to start.

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