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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Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images

With the disappointing loss in extra innings late the night before, the Astros returned to RingCentral Coliseum on Saturday afternoon to try and even the series against the A's, who now owned a 3.5 game lead in the AL West over Houston. Here is a quick rundown of the middle game of the series:

Final Score: A's 3, Astros 1.

Record: 6-8, second in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Frankie Montas (2-1, 1.57 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Framber Valdez (0-2, 2.04 ERA).

Valdez does his job

Framber Valdez ran into stress early on Saturday, facing trouble in the bottom of the first inning. It started with a leadoff solo home run, putting Oakland up 1-0 before they would record an out. He later allowed back-to-back one-out singles to rack up his pitch count in the frame but would limit the damage to the single run.

He was able to re-focus and settle in during the following innings, getting quick, scoreless innings in the next four. In the bottom of the sixth, a leadoff groundball that likely should have been the first out was instead a single that would come back to bite Houston. That runner stole second and advanced to third on a bad throw, then scored on an RBI-groundout, doubling Oakland's lead to 2-0. Valdez would go one more inning, giving Houston precisely what they needed by helping give their exhausted bullpen a break. His final line: 7.0 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 9 K, 1 HR.

Houston's offense unable to get anything going

Unfortunately for Houston, Frankie Montas was even more efficient on the other side. Houston was only able to notch two hits against him over seven innings while Montas only had to throw 86 pitches over that span. Oakland would go to their bullpen in the top of the eighth, with the Astros getting just a single in the inning.

Nivaldo Rodriguez would take over for Valdez in the bottom of the eighth and allowed a solo home run to make it 3-0 before completing the inning. Houston would get a leadoff double by Kyle Tucker to start the top of the ninth, and he would come around to score on an RBI-single by Alex Bregman. That's as close as Houston would get, though, as Oakland would finish off the win to secure the series and extend Houston's losing streak to four games.

Up Next: The final game of this series and Houston's nine-game road trip will be on Sunday at 3:10 PM Central. Jesus Luzardo (0-0, 2.31 ERA) will make a start for the A's while Cristian Javier (1-0, 1.42 ERA) will look to continue his success in 2020 for the Astros.

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