THE COWBOYS REPORT

Enough with the prep; Cowboys ready for Giants in Week 1

Zeke Elliot. Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images

The Dallas Cowboys lost their preseason finale to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers by the score of 17-15.

Ending preseason

With almost all of their starters and 2nd string players enjoying the game from the sidelines, there wasn't much of any importance going on. Both teams allowed their key players to take one final week off before the start of the regular season on Sept. 8.

Rookie Quarterback Taryn Christion from South Dakota State played the majority of the second half and led the Cowboys to their only offensive touchdown of the game late in the fourth quarter. He finished the game 11/17 for 142 yards passing with one touchdown and one interception. Christion also ran 5 times for 22 yards.

Most importantly is that the 2018 NFL leading rusher and superstar Ezekiel Elliott has finally agreed to a new deal with the Cowboys that will make him the highest paid running back ever. The 6 year $90 million contract extension comes with a $50 million guarantee. Not only are Cowboy fans rejoicing, but fantasy owners everywhere are taking a huge sigh of relief.

With the preseason in the books, Dallas looks primed for a deep playoff run this year.

3 things to watch for 

1.Running backs (Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard): It will be interesting to see what kind of shape and condition Zeke is in as he had spent his entire time away from the team in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. No. 2 RB Tony Pollard could have a bigger role to play this Sunday as Zeke tries to get into game shape.

2.Linebackers (Leighton Vander Esch and Jaylon Smith): These 2 upcoming superstars are going to have their hands full as they try to contain one of the NFL's best running backs Saquon Barkley.

3.Tight End Jason Witten: With the future Hall of Famer leaving the announcing booth and rejoining the team, there is much intrigue to see how much he can contribute to an already potent offense.

Coming Up

The Cowboys (0-0) are starting off the 2019 regular season by taking on the New York Giants (0-0) at home in AT&T Stadium on Sunday September 8th at 3:25 pm Central time. The Giants don't look to be a good team this year as they are in a rebuilding mode. They traded away their best receiver this past offseason and now are only left with one offensive weapon in Saquon Barkely. The Cowboys defense should be able to stop him 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)

Giants: Saquon Barkley (RB)

For you gamblers out there, the Cowboys are -7 and the over/under is 45. Seven points are a lot to give for any team so the only way I would play it is the number drops below seven. As for the total, I don't have a good read because I don't think New York can score much.

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The Texans didn't have an answer for Derrick Henry. Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

Romeo Crennel made a valorous call that might have costed the Houston Texans from winning their second consecutive game on Sunday. Up by seven with 1:50 left in the fourth quarter, Crennel decided to call a two-point conversion following Deshaun Watson's one-yard touchdown pass to Brandin Cooks.

During the two-point conversion, Watson had a look at an open Randall Cobb, but Titans' defensive tackle Jeffery Simmons got a hand on the ball to deflect the pass. The failed conversion allowed the Titans to take a 42-36 victory over the Texans inside Nissan Stadium. Tennessee scored 13 unanswered points, which included a seven-yard touchdown pass from Ryan Tannehill to A.J. Brown to send the game into overtime.

"I think I would do it again," Crennel said during his media availability on Monday. "You are on the road against a divisional opponent who is undefeated, and if you could get that two-point conversion — you shut the door on them. We had a guy open, but unfortunately, the ball got tipped and we did not make it. I would do it again because it was a good choice."

The decision to not kick the field goal caused somewhat of an uproar, but it is understandable why Crennel made the call. Crennel had faith in Watson to put the Texans in a position to close the game, similar to his 4th-and-4 call during last week's victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars.

In the end, Crennel's risky decisions could stem from the lack of faith he has in the Texans' depleted defense.

Houston's defense hit an all-time low against the Titans. They gave up a franchise-worst 601 total yards — with Derrick Henry accounting for 212 yards on 22 carries. But despite their struggles against the run, the Texans' secondary were just as faulty. They gave up a total of 338 yards through the air and allowed Tannehill to go 8-for-9 down the field during the Titans' final drive of regulation.

Had Houston's defense made a stop during the closing seconds of the fourth quarter, the Texans could have ended the game 2-0 under their interim head coach.

"I wanted to go ahead and get the two points — I felt like that would have put the game out of reach for them," Crennel said. "If we had gotten it, we would have been in much better shape. But we did not get it. We did not perform well in overtime, and they [Titans] won the game."

Following Sunday's heartbreaking loss, Texans safety Justin Reid said it best, "Had we converted on the two-point conversion, this would be a totally different conversation. So it is what it is."

Up next, the 1-5 Texans will look to bounce back from defeat against the 4-1 Green Bay Packers, inside NRG Stadium on Sunday. Kick-off is at 12:00 PM CT.

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