COWBOYS REPORT

Cowboys come up short; Lions up next

Dallascowboys.com

The Dallas Cowboys lost another close game on Sunday.They were defeated at home by the score of 28-24 to the Minnesota Vikings.

Recap

The Cowboys were forced to being a one dimensional team as the Vikings shut down Pro Bowl running back Ezekiel Elliott but they were able to move the ball easily with their passing game. What got them in the end was the defense's inability to stop the 2019 NFL leading rusher Dalvin Cook and bad play calling late in the game. They stopped themselves from scoring the winning touchdown with two horrible running plays on 2nd and 3rd down at the Vikings 11 yard line instead of keeping the ball in the air where they had been successful all game long.

Quarterback Dak Prescott was 28/46 for 397 yards, 3 touchdowns, and one interception. He connected with six different receivers, which included big days for both Amari Cooper and Randall Cobb. Cooper had 11 catches for 147 yards and 1 touchdown. Cobb had his best day as a Cowboy with 6 catches for 106 yards and a touchdown. 2nd year receiver Michael Gallup only also had a solid receiving day with 4 catches for 76 yards and a touchdown as well.

Superstar Ezekiel Elliott had one of his worst games of the year. The Vikings defense locked in on him and did not allow him to get free. He carried the ball 20 times for 47 yards and only caught 2 balls for 16 yards. The Cowboys only had 50 rushing yards total for the game that does not correlate to wins.

Dallas falls to (5-4) and is now tied with the Philadelphia Eagles (5-4) atop the NFC East but edge them in a tiebreaker due to their (4-0) divisional record.

3 Things to Watch For

1.Ezekiel Elliott (Running Back): Needs to have a better game.He averaged 2.4 yards a carry last week. Luckily, he will be going against the Detroit Lions and the 6th worst defense in the league this week. Zeke should have himself a big day this Sunday.

2.Amari Cooper (Wide Receiver): Was questionable with a knee injury most of the week but came up big last week.He made two amazing catches on the sideline and was able to keep his toes inbounds on both of them.Let's see if he can follow up on one of his best games of the year.

3.Dallas Defense (All): The Cowboy defense should be primed for a big game.The Lions will most likely be starting a 2nd string quarterback and a 3rd string running back.I can see big plays being made by the front 7.

Coming Up

The Cowboys (5-4) will be on the road taking on the Detroit Lions (3-5) in the Motor City at Ford Field. Kickoff is set for 12:00 pm Central Time. The Cowboys are in dire need of a win to try and stay ahead of their division rivals. They should be able to control the game with Zeke and come away with an easy victory.

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

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

Lions: Kenny Golladay (WR), Marvin Jones, Jr. (WR)

For you gamblers out there, the Cowboys are currently -3 and the over/under is 51. I think the Cowboys are the right side in the game at 3 or less. If you want to bet the total, I would lean under because I don't think Detroit can score enough to help hit the over even though the over hit again last week.

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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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