The Cowboys Report

Cowboys collapse; Redskins up next

Dallascowboys.com

The Dallas Cowboys (7-8) came out with a disappointing performance on Sunday when they were defeated 17-9 by the Philadelphia Eagles (8-7). Dallas was lucky to only lose by one score as their offense was terrible, their defense wasn't able to stop anyone, and the coaching was even worse.

Recap

The Cowboys went three and out on their first two possessions while the Eagles quickly gained a 10-0 lead on their first two possessions.

Quarterback Dak Prescott was 25/44 for 265 and NO touchdowns. He also carried the ball one time for 7 yards and had zero turnovers. Not all of the offensive struggles can be put on Dak, as star receiver Amari Cooper didn't help much. He failed to do anything by catching four balls for 24 yards and killing fantasy players for the second week in row. Michael Gallup led the team with five catches for 98 yards and was the target on their last play of the game.

Pro Bowl running back Ezekiel Elliott was held in check. The Eagles defense only allowed him to rush for 47 yards on 13 carries, but he did have 7 catches for 37 yards. With both Dak and Zeke not being able to move the ball much, the Eagles were able to hold the ball for over 36 minutes and wear down the Dallas defense.

Dallas falls to (7-8) and now only have a 26.2% chance of winning the NFC East (according to ESPN's Football Power Index). In order for that to happen, the Cowboys have to beat the Washington Redskins (3-12) and the Philadelphia Eagles (8-7) have to lose to the New York Giants (4-11). If that happens, Dallas will win the NFC East via a tiebreaker over Philadelphia and will host a playoff game next week.

3 Things to Watch For

1.Ezekiel Elliott (Running Back): Zeke needs to come up big this week.He will be going up against the 4th worst rushing defense and I expect him to get 20+ touches for 100 yards and maybe a touchdown or 2.

2.Randall Cobb (Wide Receiver): With free agent to be Amari Cooper pulling a disappearing act over the last few weeks, it seems Cobb has become a great option for Dak over the middle of the field. He made some clutch catches in the 4th quarter last week. Let's see if he can keep up the momentum.

3.Kai Forbath (Kicker): Has now played 2 games as a Cowboy this year, and still has not missed a kick. He is now 6/6 on field goal attempts and is 5/5 on extra points. With the Dallas offense struggling, hopefully he will help keep them in the game with a few kicks.

Coming Up

Sunday afternoon, the Cowboys (7-8) will be at home taking on the Washington Redskins (3-12) at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX. Kickoff is set for 3:25pm.The Cowboys need to come up with a win in order to keep their hopes of a postseason berth alive. I expect the Cowboys to ride Zeke to a victory as they keep their eye on the scoreboard of the Eagles game which also starts at 3:25pm.

If you have any fantasy leagues still going, the only must start players are:

Cowboys: Ezekiel Elliott (RB), Dak Prescott (QB), Michael Gallup (WR)

Redskins: Adrian Peterson (RB), Terry McLaurin (WR)

For you gamblers out there, the Cowboys are -11 and the over/under is 44.5.There is no way I could lay more than 10 points on Dallas with the way they just played. Washington +11 is the play here and I also lean on the over, the Redskins have been playing hard and I think they will push the Cowboys to score.

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Game One Is Pivotal For Both Teams

ALWC Game 1 Preview: Astros vs. Twins

Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

It might not have been pretty, and may not have met pre-season expectations, especially with all the injuries and headwinds along the way. Yet, the Astros' regular-season was enough to get them into the playoffs, and as we are likely to find out with this aptly-named Wild Card Round, all it takes is a ticket to the dance.

A losing record at the end of the first 60 is now a thing of the past. Everyone starts 0-0, needing to take two of three against their opponent to move forward into the Divisional Series. Here's a quick breakdown and some facts about Houston's first game against the Minnesota Twins:

Game Facts

When: Tuesday, 1:00 PM Central

Where: Target Field - Minneapolis, Minnesota

TV: ABC

Streaming: ESPN App

Pitching Matchup: Zack Greinke vs. Kenta Maeda

Series: Tied 0-0.

Series Schedule

Date & Time (Central) Location Pitching Matchup
Game 1 Tue 9/29, 1:00 PM Target Field, Minneapolis Greinke vs. Maeda
Game 2 Wed 9/30, 12:00 PM Target Field, Minneapolis TBD vs. Berrios+
Game 3* Thu 10/1, TBD Target Field, Minneapolis TBD vs. Pineda+

* If necessary.
+ Projected starters.

Game Storylines

Did Houston pack their postseason bats?

Over the last three years, the Astros have started the playoffs with wins in their first game, and it may be in part due to one key component: scoring first via home runs. In 2017, it was an Alex Bregman solo homer off of Chris Sale in the first inning to start the scoring against the Red Sox. In 2018, it was Bregman again, this time a solo shot in the fourth off of Corey Kluber of the Indians. In 2019, it was Jose Altuve with a two-run bomb against Tyler Glasnow as they'd go on to take game one against the Rays.

Can they make it four straight years? If so, they'll have to do it against another formidable pitcher in Kenta Maeda, who allowed just nine home runs in his eleven regular-season starts, only two of which were at Target Field. Also, those three games mentioned earlier were at Minute Maid Park, where the Astros had the support of their home crowd, along with the comfort of their own stadium. This year, they'll start on the road, and in the now-normal audience of cardboard cutouts. Having said that, if they can get their signature score-starting home run in the top of the first by one of their key bats, that could very well set the momentum in their favor to upset the Twins.

Which Greinke will we see?

On September 3rd, Zack Greinke went six innings while allowing three runs to the Rangers, still coming away with a win to improve him to 3-0 with a 2.91 ERA. That was his eighth start of the season, two of which he went six or more innings without allowing a single run, including an eight-inning gem at home against the Rockies.

In his final four starts after that, Greinke went 0-3 with a 6.53 ERA over that span, allowing four, five, three, and three earned runs, respectively, and unable to go more than six innings in any of them. That finished his year at 3-3 with a 4.03 ERA, not exactly riding a high into the postseason. So, can he hit the reset button and deal as he did in the early parts of the season? Or, will the Twins, who own the sixth-most homers as a team in 2020, find a wrinkle against him early that they can exploit? The answer to that, along with what run support his offense provides him, will be one of the game's deciding factors.

I don't need to tell anyone the obvious here; in a best-of-three series, taking the first game will be pivotal for both sides. Winning the first game and only needing one more is a tremendously more advantageous position to be in, instead of needing to win two straight to advance. It sets up for an entertaining series and set of matchups across the league. Get your popcorn ready.

Be sure to check SportsMap after the final out for an in-depth recap of the game, and follow me on Twitter for updates and reactions throughout each playoff game: @ChrisCampise

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