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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Rockets get another much-needed win. Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images.

The Houston Rockets went on a redemption tour by beating the Detroit Pistons and Dallas Mavericks. But the most pivotal win was against the Mavericks as the Rockets finally showed their true potential. John Wall finally made his return from his injury hiatus and played with a lot of energy. DeMarcus Cousins and Eric Gordon combined for 61 points. It was great to see Stephan Silas crack a smile as he was able to beat his former team.

The Rockets clearly missed Wall during his eight-game absense. This season, the Rockets are a .500 team with Wall on the court. Wall is the Rockets' floor general that leads, constructs, and also pushes his teammates to become better.

Wall only played 21 minutes in the 133-108 win over the Mavericks but still had eight assists. Even though Wall only had 7 points, his presence was still felt by finding his teammates for open looks beyond the perimeter. Wall made sure Cousins and Gordon got a plethora of touches. He called multiple actions, so they got open looks from three, which was mainly Gordon. Gordon and Cousins' struggles have been similar but with Wall on the court, they were successful against the Mavericks. According to NBA Stats, Wall posted a 111 offensive rating with the starters versus the Mavericks, which included Gordon and Cousins.

"He's the engine to this team. He gets everybody going. He makes the game easy," Cousins told a reporter after the game. "The pressure that he constantly puts on the defense is a tough thing to deal with."

Gordon has struggled all season long with three-point shooting and relied on his slashing abilities. Saturday night, Gordon made six three pointers against the Mavericks, which was 66 percent from beyond the perimeter. Gordon increased his three-point percentage from 31 percent to 34.5 percent after Saturday night's game. Gordon's 33 points came from being able to attack the entire Mavericks' defense. Willy Cauley-Stein didn't stand a chance against Gordon as he was burned multiple times. Gordon's been a lifesaver for the Rockets in the last two games, and hopefully he maintains his play.

Cousins played fantastic against the Mavericks scoring 28 points and grabbing 17 rebounds. This is Cousins' first double-double with the Rockets this season. Cousins became the vintage player from the New Orleans Pelicans and Sacramento Kings. It was extremely fun watching Cousins push the ball up the court and aggressively snatch rebounds. Boogie shot 50 percent from behind the arc by making four three-pointers. He was dominant inside the paint as Cousins went 7/8 from the restricted area versus the Mavericks. This was the game Cousins needed after having a poor performance against the Pistons Friday night.

"It was really, really good. He did it all. He's a physical presence on both ends of the floor," as Silas said on Cousins' performance.

David Nwaba and Mason Jones were big factors off the Rockets' bench by having a combined total of 34 points together. Nwaba has been great in transition for the Rockets the entire season. Keep in mind that Nwaba is returning from an Achilles injury he suffered with his former team, the Brooklyn Nets. Nwaba has became a great defender, slasher, and is averaging a career-high nine points per game with the Rockets. He finished with 18 points on Saturday night versus the Mavericks.

Mason Jones has become a fan favorite of the Rockets because of his confidence. Silas is loving the usage of Jones off the bench but wants to find more minutes for him. Jones had a breakout performance versus the San Antonio Spurs with 24 points off 66 percent shooting from the field. He continues to get better with his reads from the point guard position. Jones' knowledge of running the offense has helped his efficiency on the court. He is never afraid to take clutch shots in pivotal moments of the game.

"To have a young kid who can come in and not be afraid of the moment, that's big. That's a tough position to be in as an undrafted rookie. I trust him. It's a good problem to have," Silas mentioned after the game. "He's showing me he's ready. He's a confident kid, and he should be. That's why he's good. He's not afraid of the moment, at all. He can get us organized, run plays, and score the basketball."

Hopefully, the Rockets can sustain their level of play when Victor Oladipo returns against the Washington Wizards, Tuesday. It will be interesting to watch Oladipo and Wall play in the same backcourt.

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