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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Composite photo by Jack Brame

As things continue to relax as far as the COVID-19 pandemic is concerned, a return to a semblance of normalcy seems imminent. The NBA has some parameters in place for a potential return. Training camps are set to open late this month and the season is supposed to open July 31. Whether that's the rumored Disney-centered one-stop shop or another form, they have a plan in place to return. There's also no argument between the league and players going back and forth about money either (MLB could learn a lesson here).

So when it comes to the potential return, how does that fare for the local team? The Rockets were 40-24 and tied for the fifth seed in the West when the season was shut down. Since they're getting ready to return potentially, we need to be looking at what chances they may have in making a run in the playoffs towards an NBA title.



Harden's new physique

According to his new trainer, James Harden has done more cardio workouts and lost some weight. Specifically, he's done more football player workouts as opposed to basketball player workouts. There was a pic of Harden floating around showing an obvious loss of weight. His new-found cardio and weight loss could mean more late-game and late-season success for Harden and the Rockets.

Westbrook's edge

Russell Westbrook has a competitive fire that can't be put out. It's like one of those never-ending burning torches you see at monuments. He wants nothing more than to prove he's a winner on a high level. Given that he's reunited with a long time friend in Harden, his competitive nature could help fill the gap where Harden may lack. These two have proven they can coexist very well this season. Now could be their time to take surge.

Small-ball

When the Rockets traded Clint Capela, they fully committed to small-ball. There were times they didn't have a guy in the lineup over 6'5. The tallest guy that gets regular time is roughly 6'8. The smaller, quicker lineup is an advantage on the offensive end, but can be a huge liability on the defensive end. Given the stoppage and restart of the season, it could help them. Suppose other teams are sluggish and can't get their chemistry straight. Houston's advantage is that they go through one or two guys and eat off their shooting. Shooting can be worked on during times like these, whereas other aspects of your game can't.


I'm not saying the Rockets have a built-in advantage, but they have as good a shot as they've ever had in the past. The field is wide open to any team that's in the playoff hunt. No team will have a built-in advantage over others. With the Rockets' unique brand of ball, they may be able to make a run at a title this season. Couple that with Harden's weight loss and Westbrook's competitive nature, it could be very interesting. Whenever the NBA comes back this season, which I believe they will, I think this team has a legit shot at winning it all.

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