COWBOYS REPORT

Cowboys lose a close one; Packers up next

Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images

The Dallas Cowboys lost their first game of the season in a close defensive battle on Sunday night. Neither team could get much going offensively, but the Cowboys scored the only touchdown of the game in the 12-10 loss.

Recap

Turnovers are one of the most key factors in all games, and this was no different. Dallas coughed up the ball three times to New Orleans' one. The Dallas Defense was stout and did everything they needed to do to be in position to win; especially only allowing four field goals.They held the Saints best player Alvin Kamara to under 70 yards rushing and only 20 yards receiving.Linebackers Leighton Vander Esch and Jaylon Smith were all over the field.Smith had 9 total tackles (7 solo, 2 for loss) and 1 sack.Vander Esch led the team with 11 tackles (10 solo).

With both defenses playing well, quarterback Dak Prescott was 22/33 for 223 passing yards, ZERO touchdowns, and 1 interception. He also had only one carry for 7 yards. Prescott was able to spread the ball around to six different receivers but was still unable to get in a rhythm.The loss of No. 2 receiver Michael Gallup might have a bigger impact than expected.

The passing game wasn't the only thing out of synch. Pro Bowl/Super Star Ezekiel Elliott had one of his worst games in his career. He had 18 carries for 35 yards but was able to score a 1-yard touchdown. He also led the team in catches with 6 for 30 yards on 7 targets.It's no coincidence when Zeke struggles, the offense struggles because he is the driving force.

The loss drops Dallas to (3-1) and still all alone atop the NFC East but both Philadelphia and New York won and are one game back at (2-2).

3 Things to Watch For

3 things to watch for

1.Ezekiel Elliott (Running Back): Zeke should be in line for other 20+ touch game as he will try to get the offense back on track this Sunday against the Green Bay Packers 7th worst rush defense.

2.Leighton Vander Esch and Jaylon Smith (Linebackers): As amazing as they were this past week, they are going to play great again as they go up against NFL great Aaron Rodgers.They are going to have to keep him contained and not allow him the get the ball deep down field.

3.Randall Cobb (Wide Receiver): As the defacto No. 2 receiver due to injury, I want to see him step up and have a big game as he goes up against his old team.I expect for him to get a few more looks than normal to give him a bit of revenge since the Packers let him go last year.

Coming Up

Sunday October 6th, the Cowboys (3-1) will be taking on the Green Bay Packers (3-1) at home in AT&T Stadium (AKA:Jerry's World). Kickoff is set for 3:25 pm Central time. With both teams coming off their first losses of the year, I expect them both to come out firing.The Packers will be looking to take advantage of the Cowboys through the air and the Cowboys will be looking to run on them.

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

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

Packers: Aaron Rodgers (QB), Aaron Jones (RB), Davante Adams (WR)

For you gamblers out there, the Cowboys are currently -3.5 and the over/under is 47.I don't have a good feeling about Dallas at more than 3 but I think the over is the best way to go.

Most Popular

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome

Listen Live

The media has mixed feelings about the James Harden trade. Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

James Harden was 100-percent exactly right earlier this week when he said the Houston Rockets were "just not good enough."

How could they be? Not when their moody superstar scorer, who makes about half a million dollars per game, shows up chubby, looking like a kielbasa about to explode in the microwave. Hey, some people eat when they're unhappy, it's a defense mechanism. In Harden's case, the only defense he's exhibited this season. At least he had a good excuse for missing pre-season training camp and alienating his teammates - he was busy partying with Cinnamon and Cherish in Atlanta and Vegas without a mask. Worst of all, he went into the tank his last four games in a Rockets uniform, standing around, arms folded, scoring fewer than 20 points each time, all Rockets losses. Fans in the front row were asking him to move, he was blocking their view of players who cared about winning. James Harden sabotaged his own team, a team that offered him $50 million a year to stay. Something that crazy could only happen in professional sports these days.

There's a saying that drives the American labor movement: "a fair day's wage for a fair day's work." It's the motto of the American Federation of Labor. The National Basketball Players Association is not a member. Harden's sulking on the court, cheating the Rockets and their fans, was unforgivable.

Harden, sitting out games while somehow being on the court, forced the Rockets to trade him - and quick - to Brooklyn. The trade, when you ignore the fine print and unindicted co-conspirators Cleveland and Indiana, sent Harden to Brooklyn in exchange for Caris LeVert (immediately flipped for Victor Oladipo), Jarrett Allen, three first-round draft picks and four swapped first-rounders. It's true, when you trade a superstar, you never get back equal value. The other team wins.

If it makes Rockets fans feel any better, the media in New York already has problems with their new problem child. I should say newest problem child. Kyrie Irving plays for the Nets.

"They (the Nets) gave up everybody! There's nothing left now. I just want to cry, It's awful," weeped WFAN Radio talk host Evan Roberts. For those who don't subscribe to weekly Arbitron ratings reports, WFAN is the most powerful, top-rated sports talk station in the Apple.

"You're leading down the road of doom. Harden and Durant could be gone in a year and a half. I'm not convinced this gives them a better chance to win a title. I'm living a nightmare again. They better freaking win."

Circle March 3 on your Rockets schedule. That's when the Brooklyn Nets, with their Big 3 of Kevin Durant, James Harden and possibly Kyrie Irving visit Toyota Center. I hear talk radio salivating over the record jeers that will cascade over Harden's name, although I'm not buying it. Fans don't think like the media does. I'm thinking that Rockets fans will welcome Harden back - one night only - with cheers.

Toyota Center public address announcer Matt Thomas: "Usually when former Rockets come to town for the first time since leaving, I give them a positive introduction. It's up to the fans how to react."

James Harden spent eight seasons with the Rockets. He is a spectacular player who watched other NBA players engineer trades so they could compete for a title. Harden didn't think the Rockets were good enough, and he's right. So he wanted out. We've all been there, a job we didn't like for a company we didn't like, for a boss we didn't respect. Harden wanting to be traded is understandable. How he went about it was deplorable. He hurt his co-workers.

Houston will make Harden pay for his disrespectful departure. He has an upscale restaurant set to open here. The name of the steakhouse will be "13." Harden's business partners may want to change that number ... before the restaurant's telephone number is disconnected. There are plenty of other restaurants in Houston. Rich people who can afford steakhouse prices hold grudges.

Rockets fans searching for a silver lining say, "We got two decent players and a whole bunch of precious first-round picks" for a malcontent who would rather be anywhere (except maybe Sacramento) than Houston." Yes, a bunch of first-round picks does bode well for the future. Anywhere, except maybe Houston.

Houston's draft war room isn't the most successful operation in the NBA. Over the past decade prior to 2000, under the direction of general manager Daryl Morey, the Rockets made 16 draft picks. Not one of them is still in a Rockets uniform, many of them have sought employment outside of America, some outside of basketball. Among their first-round whiffs: Nikola Mirotic, Terrence Jones, Sam Dekker - all out of the league. Best of all, Royce White, who played three whole games in his NBA career and finished with a scoring average of 0.00 points per game.

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome